Every now and then, business takes my husband to lovely Okinawa. My kids and I always ask him to bring two things back: Orion Beer Nuts and Yukishio (snow salt) Chinsuko. These are two of the most seriously addicting Okinawan snacks we could not get enough of and here's why:
1. Orion Beer Nuts share the same brand as Okinawa's most popular beer. Orion prides itself in using mountain spring water to brew their beer. Sixty percent of Okinawans prefer the distinctive navy blue logo of Orion to other beer brands. Since nuts and beer is such a classic pairing, someone came up with the brilliant idea of peanuts covered in a crunchy batter made from beer yeast and blended with tasty sounding flavors that remind you of the tropical islands like almond cheese, tacos island chili pepper, and turmeric curry. You can find all these yummy flavors in one mixed bag and eat your way through while guessing which is which. My husband always gets a big bag of 20 small snack-sized packets. It takes a lot self-restraint to stop at one packet. There's no alcohol in it so kids and non-drinkers can enjoy it with their beverage of choice.
2. Chinsuko are exquisite melt-in-your-mouth biscuits very similar to buttery shortbread. You may find different brands and flavors of chinsuko in Okinawan souvenir shops but there's really just one you need to look for: Nanpudo's Miyakojima Yukishio Chinsuko with its signature beach photo on the box. Yukishio is powder soft salt harvested from Miyako Island. Its super fine texture is a result of salt water being filtered through limestones. Trust me, other flavors and brands are not as refined. Chinsuko probably originated from the royal kitchens of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Though now widely availble, chinsuko still has an aristocratic quality to it.
Orion Beer Nuts and Nanpudo Miyakojima Yukishio Chinsuko can easily be found in most souvenir shops. Pop some into your bag. Once you get home, you will quickly realize that whatever amount you bought is not enough because these are seriously good. Thankfully, they're available on Amazon Japan and Rakuten.
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.