Elliot Faber is the Beverage Director at Yardbird, Ronin, and Sunday’s Grocery in Hong Kong. He's a Certified Sommelier and an Advanced Sake Professional. He's also the co-author of SAKE: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan’s Artisanal Breweries.
Okinawa is unique to Japan’s other 46 prefectures. Its main island lies closer to Taipei than it does to Tokyo; the people there make their soba noodles from wheat (as opposed to buckwheat); and they produce their local spirit, Awamori, from Thai rice rather than Japanese rice. Okinawa embraces cultural inflections from China, Thailand, and the United States, but even so, when you're traveling across this prefecture it’s clear that you’re very much in Japan. It just isn’t a Japan you completely recognize. The islands have no trouble displaying their beauty, even on rainy days, and the Okinawan sense of hospitality rivals that of any great tropical paradise. With that in mind, it was the Okinawan food and drink that got me most excited about this place. While the Okinawan food and beverage culture has a lot that sets it apart, it maintains the familiar Japanese display of harmony in nature, ingredients, and craftsmanship—with purveyors who have passion to match.
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