Sexy Oki Pig

People the world over are constantly going on about “The Okinawan Diet.” The magical reason that the folks here live into the 100’s and are strong and healthy. They say it is all the fish and tofu and seaweed and other such “healthy” sounding buzzwords. I can tell you, this is a gross misrepresentation. The people here do eat those things but the major, beautiful, secret, I am convinced, is not something any health conscious American would like to hear.

It’s the pork.

That’s right folks. Big, sexy, Okinawan pigs. EVERYONE eats them. Pork is on every menu from a little Izakaya (a tapas style bar) to your five star restaurants. Okinawan pig is EPIC. I find it almost addictive. I will wake up thinking about slow cooked steamed pork in coconut leaves, I will pass by the pork aisle at the San-A market and fantasize about all the magical things I could do with it. It is truly strange. I had gone through my teen years and early twenties never eating pig. I moved to London and had some now and then, but never realized the amazing profundity of what Tony Bourdain calls “the noblest of beasts,”until I moved to Okinawa.

The pork, itself, is much healthier than your usual slab of American bacon. To begin with, much like Kobe cows, the farming methods here are a bit more traditional (as in thousands of years of doing it) and Japan has a ban on most of the bio-engineered farming and harmful  steroids, etc. They are generally relaxed and groovy pigs til they get the axe.

With now almost of year of the Oki oinker under my belt it was no surprise that when I passed by the Pig Lady, I had to purchase her wares. The Pig Lady is a sweet little middle-aged (well as she is Okinawan she could be 70 and look 40) gal who has a little stall set up outside of the farmers market. She, presumably, is the wife of a pig farmer who is off working the ranch while she sells the pig bits. Rarely can we walk by without sampling some of her goods, especially since she near accosts you with toothpicks loaded with yummy goodness. Occasionally we buy some of her hot bacon to munch on, but this time we couldn’t get away that easily. Somehow, after ingesting a few of her hypnotically wonderful goodies, we bought a miso marinated pork loin and some sesame miso pig fat sauce.

Pig Lady's Yummy Miso Marinated Tenderloin

What came of this was sheer heaven.

I ended up cooking up some brown rice with a little shoyu (soy sauce) sauteing garlic and broccoli and later added the cooked and cubed pork, mixed it all together in a pot with the sesame miso pig fat sauce and voila! Pork Champuru! Champuru is a traditional dish in Oki, that pretty much means “All in one pot.” Champuru has endless possibilities, depending upon what you would like to mix together!

I know that most people do not have access to Okinawan pork, but I figure you can still make this somewhat as easily. Just get a nice lean pork loin from your Whole Foods or New Fronteirs and slather it with some dark miso, sesame oil and garlic, with maybe some agave syrup for sweetness. Cook it up and let it cool and cube it! Save the drippings and add them to your rice!

It may not look like much, but it is gorgeous to me!


About tashierags

I love food. I love eating it, I love playing with it, I love growing it, I love having it served to me, I love traveling to discover it and I love all the things that go with it, like wine and conversation, ambiance and entertainment, relaxation, divine inspiration and laughter. I will never be a professional chef. I like to like the act of cooking too much to be angry about having to make it for people I don't know, on a schedule, with the pressure to succeed. I am much happier learning, taking risks, exploring and taking my time in the process. So instead I make it for the people I love. I share it with the people of my choosing and give it as a gift. Lately, it seemed that I was having so many requests and conversations about the food I make and the restaurants I visit that I thought that a blog might be a cool way to discuss the art, luxury, necessity, irreverence, beauty, rebelliousness and spirituality of the thing that keeps us alive and
This entry was posted in Okinawa Diet, Pork, Recipe. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Sexy Oki Pig

  1. I like the pork and the writing ain’t half bad either. Check first sentence in 4th paragraph; needs editing. Keep it love you. Dad

  2. stefanie says:

    Great blog! Thanks for the recipe for the non Oki folks. Like the cultural tidbits. Now excuse me, I’m off to find some Whole Foods pork.

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