Hamanoya (浜の家) is situated in Onna, Central Okinawa. While I was doing the research, a lot of bloggers recommend this place for fresh seafood. As an avid lover of seafood, how could I miss this place if it was that good? It was our first dinner in Okinawa, and honestly, I had different thoughts.
Most of the restaurants in Japan aren’t flashy (unless in big cities). Hamanoya wasn’t an exception. The exterior is very low key, and can be easily missed. It looked just like most of the houses on the island, except with a pretty spacious parking lot that can accommodate approximately 6 to 7 cars.
The interior reminded me very much like my grandma’s house, even though it looked nothing like it. I had a sense of familiarity, and felt home. The center of the room is where you can serve yourself some hot/iced tea and water, as well as some condiments.
Sea grapes, aka umi budo in Japanese, is the must in Okinawa. It’s a kind of seaweed with caviar-liked bubbles attached to the stems. They look simple, yet best eaten when they’re chilled and dipped in ponzu soy sauce. It has a slightly refreshing salty taste, but quite addictive for the burst of freshness and tinge of sweetness! It’s also rich in minerals, so can treat it as a healthy appetizer.
When I saw “uni” on the menu, my brother and I just had to get it! Due to the shortage of uni in Japan, it was hard to find it in Taiwan. I was first “wow”ed by the quantity of the uni, then “aw”ed cause of the presentation. It was a huge chunk of uni in a bowl, which was totally different than I expected. Uni wasn’t as delicate as I thought it was. The taste of alum was very strong too. If you’ve never had uni, this would scared you off and never wanted to try it again.
I don’t think anyone would skip sashimi when they’re traveling in Japan, not to mention that we’re on an island surrounded by the ocean. We had a sashimi platter, which was served on a boat with around 5 types of fishes. The fish was tender, but a bit mushy too. I had more cucumbers than the sashimi.
I’ve also seen a lot of people recommending this dish! Lobster baked with uni! How good does it sound? It looked very mouthwatering upon serving too! The excitement only lasted till I took the first bite. It was a lot of mayonnaise, and probably very little uni in there just for coloring. The meat was very puffy. If you want to try this dish, go to Payao fish market!
Not everything was bad. The ballon fish soup was my favorite of the night. Ballon fish is similar to puffer, which the former is found near coral area while the latter is more up north. It was finished with a handful of crown daisy, which has a bit of bitter taste, but quite refreshing.
Overall, it was quite a disappointment (or I had high expectation?). The staffs were nice and the services were impeccable, as usual in Japan. However, the quality of food was not quite what I was expecting.
2097 Nakadomari, Onna, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa