Goya Day is observed on May 8th : “GOYA” called “bitter gourd” is a Japanese vegetable

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A vegetable called bitter gourd, or bitter gourd, is commonly grown in southern Japan, including Okinawa Prefecture, and is especially in season during the summer.

Its characteristics include large bumpy protrusions on its green skin and a unique bitter taste.

Goya Day is observed on May 8th, and this day is an opportunity to rediscover the charm of bitter gourd and to tell many people about its deliciousness and health benefits.

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“GOYA” called “Bitter Gourd”

Bitter gourd is rich in vitamin C, which is said to have antioxidant effects, and can be expected to prevent summer fatigue and beautify your skin. It also contains a lot of dietary fiber and is effective for dieting and relieving constipation. Its bitter taste is due to momordecin, a unique ingredient in bitter gourd, which is said to be good for health.

Bitter gourd’s origins are broader. It is a vegetable that originally originated in South Asia and has a long history in other parts of Asia, such as India and China. In these regions, bitter gourd is also used medicinally and is said to have many health benefits.

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famous dish using bitter gourd

Goya Chanpuru using bitter gourd

The most famous dish using bitter gourd is “Goya Chanpuru”, which is a typical Okinawan home-cooked dish. It is a simple but nutritious dish made with stir-fried bitter melon, tofu, eggs, and pork.

The bitterness of bitter melon goes perfectly with the taste of the other ingredients. Bitter gourd can also be enjoyed in a variety of dishes such as salads, stir-fries, and tempura. As we approach summer, why not start a healthy diet that incorporates bitter gourd?

The ways to use bitter melon are not limited to that. Here, we will explain various dishes using bitter gourd other than bitter gourd.

Tempra using bitter gourd

First of all, the bitter gourd tempura is a dish where you can enjoy the combination of the bitterness of bitter gourd and the crispy tempura batter.

Thinly sliced bitter gourd is wrapped in tempura batter and fried in hot oil until crispy. When tasted with salt or tempura sauce, the bitterness of bitter gourd is brought out, making it a perfect snack for beer.

Salad using bitter gourd

Next, bitter gourd salad is a refreshing dish perfect for a hot summer day.

Thinly slice bitter gourd and sprinkle with salt, then rinse with water to soften the bitter taste. Combine it with other vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers, and toss with dressing to complete the dish.

The crunchy texture and bitterness of bitter gourd complement the sweetness of other vegetables.

pickled bitter gourd

Additionally, pickled bitter gourd is also recommended.

Cut the bitter gourd into rounds and soak in a liquid seasoned with salt, vinegar, and sugar. By letting it sit in the refrigerator for a few days, the unique bitterness of bitter gourd becomes milder, allowing you to enjoy a refreshing pickle.

It’s great as an accompaniment to rice, or as an appetizer for alcohol.

Bitter gourd is a wonderful ingredient whose unique bitterness adds depth to dishes. It shows off its charm in a variety of dishes other than bitter gourd champuru, so please try out various recipes.

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How to Enjoy bitter gourd in Tokyo

It is best to enjoy Okinawan cuisine while sightseeing locally in Okinawa.

If you want to enjoy bitter gourd cuisine in Tokyo, we recommend visiting an Okinawan restaurant. In particular, there are many restaurants serving authentic Okinawan cuisine in downtown areas such as Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Ebisu. You can taste a variety of cuisines.

Okinawan cuisine has very unique characteristics, rooted in its unique climate, history, and culture. Blessed with a warm climate, Okinawa has created many dishes that make use of local ingredients such as sugar cane, pork, and seaweed. In addition, many dishes are influenced by America, China, and Southeast Asia, and the fusion of these diverse cultures has created a unique flavor of Okinawa.

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Okinawa cuisine

One of the representative Okinawan dishes is “Goya Champuru.” This dish, which uses bitter gourd as the main ingredient and is stir-fried with tofu, eggs, and pork, can be said to be synonymous with Okinawan home cooking. “Okinawa soba” is also very popular. This is a dish that is a symbol of Okinawa’s food culture, consisting of noodles made primarily of wheat flour and topped with a soup made from pork or seafood. Furthermore, “taco rice” is a unique dish influenced by American culture, consisting of Mexican taco ingredients placed on top of rice.

The reason why Okinawan cuisine has developed a taste that is different from that of its home country of Japan is deeply related to historical circumstances. Trade with China and Southeast Asia since the Ryukyu Kingdom period brought a variety of ingredients and seasonings to Okinawa. Also, during the period of American rule after World War II, American culture and ingredients had a great influence on Okinawa, and this encouraged the unique development of Okinawan cuisine. In this way, Okinawan cuisine has been nurtured through multicultural interactions created by its geographical location and history, and continues to be loved by many people to this day.

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Bitter melon is starting to be loved around the world

In many parts of America, Europe, and Asia, bitter gourd (bitter melon), especially famous in Okinawa Prefecture, is gradually gaining popularity. Its characteristic bitterness is said to be good for health, and it is incorporated into various cooking methods.

In the United States, bitter gourd is becoming increasingly popular among health-conscious people. More and more people are enjoying its unique flavor by adding it to smoothies and salads. In addition, fresh bitter gourd is easily available at Asian markets, making it a relatively familiar ingredient to people who are familiar with Asian cuisine. Goya Chanpuru, a traditional Okinawan dish, is also made in some restaurants and homes in the United States.

In Europe, bitter gourd is attracting attention, especially among health-conscious people and those interested in Asian food. Countries with rich food cultures, such as France and Italy, are experimenting with new recipes that incorporate bitter gourd as an exotic ingredient. Attempts are being made to utilize the bitterness of bitter gourd in a variety of dishes, including salads, stir-fries, and pickles.

Bitter melon has long been a traditional ingredient in Asia, especially in Southeast Asia, China, and some parts of Japan. In China, nourishing and tonic dishes and soups using bitter melon are popular, and it is used to cool and balance the body during hot weather. In Japan, Okinawa is particularly famous, but in recent years the health benefits of bitter gourd have been recognized throughout the country, and they are being incorporated into a variety of dishes.

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Despite having different cultural backgrounds in different parts of the world, bitter gourd is accepted by many people for its unique taste and health benefits. Each region has its own unique approach, and the variety of dishes using bitter gourd is very rich.

Bitter gourd is loved all over the world, and you can enjoy it at Okinawan restaurants in Tokyo as well.

If you get tired of the usual Tokyo meals, please enjoy Okinawan cuisine and goya dishes such as goya champuru.


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