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Seasonings that add color to the taste of Okinawa

Seasonings are an indispensable part of Okinawan "food. The unique flavors that can not be found in other parts of Japan are very appealing.

Island Chili Pepper

Island chili peppers are a typical spice of Okinawa. Because it is more pungent than regular chili peppers, it is often used as a seasoning instead of being added directly to food.

It is used as a liquid seasoning (Ko-re-gu-su), as a powder, or added to soy sauce and dressings.


Ko-re-gu-su is a spicy seasoning made by marinating island chili peppers in Awamori, Okinawa's local liquor. It adds a strong spicy flavor to dishes.

It has no extra saltiness, sweetness, or even color, so it does not detract from the finished dish. It is a popular seasoning found in both restaurants and homes in Okinawa.

*Alcohol is burn off before adding the island peppers.

Chili Pepper Powder

Chopped and dried island chili peppers are used to accent dishes. 

It is used when a more direct pungency is desired than liquid kohlrabi goose.

Oil & Dressing

Capsaicin, the pungent component of chili peppers, is dissolved by oil and vinegar, making it suitable for raayu and dressings. 

In addition, the vitamin E and β-carotene in island chilies are fat-soluble vitamins, making them highly nutritious.

Seasoning with Shikwasa (citrus vinegar, dressing)

Ponzu" is a mixture of soy sauce, soup stock and citrus fruits. This soy sauce, with its acidity and umami flavor, is often used to pour over grilled fish or as a dipping sauce for nabe (hot pot). It also enhances the flavor of vegetables like a dressing.

When Okinawan citrus "shikwasa" and Okinawan pepper "shimatogarashi" are arranged in ponzu, it becomes a very unique and addictive seasoning.

Sea Salt

With its clear seawater and various blues created by the strong tropical sunlight, Okinawa's ocean is known as a famous sea salt producer.

Comparing in general, sea salt contains more minerals than rock salt. On the other hand, consumption of salt (as sodium chloride) per meal in Okinawa is one of the lowest region in Japan. It is considered as one of the reason that Okinawa people take enough minerals from sea salt.  

Island Pepper (Long Pepper)

Island pepper has many name in Okinawa like pipatsu, hiba-chi, biya-ji. It generally called long pepper, sometimes called Indian long pepper or Balinese long pepper. Long pepper is made by drying and Roasting half-ripen fruit. Then gliding to the powder to be used.

Okinawa people uses as a spice or seasoning to sprinkle over Okinawa soba or mix with Chanpuru. Mild spiciness attracts people with a mixture sweet aroma of cinnamon and star anise.
It especially popular in southern part of islands of Okinawa (Iriomote, Isigaki, Yonaguni and others).

Some of the seasonings mentioned in this article are available on our website "Yappun.com".