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Okinawan cuisine challenges and compels stomach and spirit

Diverse food and culture of Japan’s southern ‘healing islands’ makes unique mark

Vegetables and herbs dominate this dish at Garamanjaku, a restaurant whose owner is on a personal mission to combat the prevalence of fast and processed food in the Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa. (Photo by Stephen Mansfield)

OKINAWA, Japan -- English food has come a long way since the times it was dismissed as one of the blandest cuisines in Europe. But having lived and dined in the country more than 20 years ago, I have never known the yearnings for local cuisine experienced by Japanese people abroad, cut off from their own food culture.

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