Rice paddies growing on the southeastern cliff of a Chinen Mountain!
There is something sexy to me about sustainability.
It’s kinda like, oh, I dunno, the difference between dating a trust-fund millionaire who is trying to be an actor or a hard working man who creates the best life he possibly can. Any person, and very importantly to me, any restaurant that can boast complete sustainability on their local environment and community just gets me all hot and bothered. I HAVE to experience it!
Such is the eco-erotic Cafe Kurukuma, otherwise known as “Thai In The Sky.”
The back balcony of Cafe Kurakuma that looks out over the ocean. Note all the folks with their iPhones, taking pics!
“T.I.T.S” as I loving and laughingly now shall always call them…yeah, it TOTALLY just dawned on me….is located in Chinen, in the southeast, on the top of a mountain cliff overlooking the Philippine Sea.
A cliff you say?
When I say mountain, some of you in, say, Arizona or Wyoming, might laugh, but the ridiculously steep, “Okinawa-tiny,” winding road leading up the mountain makes you feel as if you are journeying to the top of the world! Let me tell you, the trip is a tad bit complicated, if not harrowing at times, but so is anything that is worth doing…except maybe watching the Travel Channel while drinking champagne.
So TITS…oh come on, you love it!….prides themselves on using only locally grown produce and specializes in growing their own herbs such as turmeric, lemongrass, mint, basil, cilantro….You name it, they are probably growing it in their extensive and beautiful garden, of which you are perfectly at your leisure to stroll the grounds. The menu reads as something of a “who’s who” of great curries of Asia. All are featured, from traditional Indian served with naan to the super creative Japanese, their specialty being luscious Thai. All of these can be ordered on a spice sliding scale of how much you want your bum to hurt later on. You can get mild, for you pussies out there…ahem…I mean delicate palates, or you can go all the way, “balls to the wall” and get “Thai Spicy,” which is NO JOKE. There are also a variety of other Thai favorites like Satay, loads of soups, and fish cakes with chili sauce. They offer an extensive array of salads that are artistic, verdant, and slightly changeable, depending upon what has been harvested. Desserts look amazing but if you want one, plan ahead and not order a lot because you will be unbuttoning your trousers! Drinks range from hibiscus, guava and lemongrass tea to of course Orion beer, and awamori, the most local of batches, naturally.
There is a strange calm that comes over you, after you have ordered and you stare out the incredible windows onto the azure sea, sipping guava tea and awaiting the inevitable.
So heda-foodies, here’s what I was so bloody lucky to enjoy in my experiences with TITS:
Sexy “THAI HOT” Green Curry. Ladies and Gentlemen, rev up your antacids!
We ordered the Red Chicken Curry and Green Chicken Curry, respectively, the Red ordered a level lower than “Thai Spicy” for posterity, and, of course, I ordered the Green as spicy as they would make it. These were so astounding! Thick with coconut milk and LOADED with chilies, mushrooms, onions,…all sorts of veggies! And the chicken..oh the CHICKEN! It was so amazingly moist and succulent, the kind that is just REAL chicken, not some pathetic, drugged up, mass produced, American assembly line tasteless, stringing wreck. Real chicken!
Robust Red Curry!
The Red has a slightly more robust depth whereas, as is typical with Green, there was a lightness, a white-green, basil-ish deception that hid the fact that it was going to destroy my intestines later on in the day…in a good way. Friends, this ain’t no joke, yo! Those of you who know me, know I like my food spicy. Tabasco’s mother’s milk. Salsa was my first food eating-out when I was 2 weeks old. Last summer I grew and consumed the fruit of half a dozen habanero plants that I seeded myself. I like it HOT. But they were not fooling around here. My mom always says that “It’s not hot enough unless you look like you are crying.” I was essentially doing a Chekhov play in the middle of the restaurant.
Luckily Jason ordered the Kao-Ka-Muu, which is a slow roasted, whole piece of pork, skin and fat and all!
Kao-Ka-Muu, a very succulent piece of meat, I dare say!
It was served with a hard boiled egg in an amazing savory sauce, with chili sauce for drizzling and topped with veggies and herbs. It managed to cool our mouths down as did my random salad, that at this point I had forgotten that I had ordered. It was herbaceous, surprisingly creative and cooling.
At last came the Tom-Yam-Koong, a soup that would make any great chef achieve la petite mort! It’s served on a little alter (in my mind) where flames are lit from below and lap up onto the covered clay pot. Once there was a good steam going we opened the lid as if it were the doorway to Elysium. And it was!
Tom-Yam-Koong. Orgasm in a clay pot…with fire under it’s bum, no less!
Fresh prawn from the prawn farm down the road, the most amazing collection of vegetables and herbs, smaller shrimp, and an orgasmic thick, vermillion colored broth that would blast the chastity ring off the most virgin of appetites!
As our meal wound down, Jason and I felt several emotions, and…err…feelings. There is the exhausted ecstasy of the post-coital, intense dining experience. There’s the sweating…those chilies, man! There is a complete self-satisfaction that you were there, in the moment, on a cliff, experiencing this lusciousness and yet whilst the food itself was sexy, our plans to go to the beach had to be postponed for an hour or two as we could not IMAGINE getting into our swimsuits, let alone actually swimming. Sexy TITS tummy! Ooooh yeahhh baby!
“Lord what fools these mortals be!” Shakespeare must’ve had some TITS in his time!
But fear not, gentle culinary traveler. There is plenty to do at Kurakuma whilst you wait to digest! There is a dinosaur and fossil museum. Oh yeah, I said that. It’s strangely and haphazardly shuffled into what can be only called a curio/antique shop. It’s weird, it really is. Next to ancient fossils are old Japanese Elvis records for 1000 yen. There’s a pterodactyl skeleton hung from the ceiling across from where local photographers and potters are pimping their art across from a WWII typewriter. Trust me. It is worth a good gander. If you’re lucky you might even find a naughty magazine from the 40’s!
After getting a TITS tummy, it is time for “Miracle Noni” and the lovely ladies at the health food store!
There is also a lovely health food store that sells Noni and other supplements, Okinawan handmade jewelry, and local produce from the community. It’s run by two lovely, true salt-of-the-Earth, Oki ladies who are more than happy give you samples of the healthy goodies that have let them live, no doubt libidinous, lives for, like, 120 years!
If you can pry yourself free of their bright eyes and well-meaning salesmanship, I suggest, before you head out, to take a little hike along the cliffside of the area. There is a path down from the “view” balcony of the restaurant, just down the old stones and to the right through the trees. It is incredibly romantic, just watch out for the snakes! Eventually it will loop round to the front of TITS and you will, no doubt, be ready to throw yourself into the next adventure of your day, whether it’s the beach, the Chinen Castle ruins just down the road (a nice little hike) or exploring the villages on the way back to your home.
Chinen Castle…under a little construction but still awesome!
If you enjoyed this amazing restaurant, I prevail upon you to, perhaps, stop along your journey when you see a farmer on the road selling veg (you will see many!) and get yourself some eggs that were just laid that day (YUM!) or get some fish from a fisherman and fry it up for dinner. And if you are not blessed to be living in Okinawa and cannot experience our TITS, I urge you to seek out your own….self-sustaining, organic restaurant I mean,…. ’cause if you have tits I hope you know where they are!
Walking through one of the local farms.
Look for those farmers markets, they usually have NUMMY food stands, and try to eat locally. It REALLY makes a difference in the quality of the food and you’ll be able to feel all warm and fuzzy knowing you’re supporting the guy who’s working hard to create the best life he can for him and the best food for YOU!
PS. Make sure you thank the chickens on the way out! You did just eat one of them!
Chickens from the farm, just down the road. “Sorry dude’s but your buddy was DELICIOUS! Thanksbye!”
Directions: Seriously, it’s fucking complicated! Just got to your iPhone Map app and enter the phone number 090-949-1189 in the destination (end) area. That’s what I do. It’s pretty damn good. If you don’t have a magic gadget here’s the address:
1190 Chinen Aza
Chinen, Nanjo, 901-1513
Other than that, I got nothin’!