Taro: this goes by many names here depending on the exact dialect in Okinawan language.

田芋 taimo is Japanese (田 ta means “field”, 芋 or いも imo means “potato”).

ターンム taanmu, or ターム taamu, are the most common Okinawan variations you will see/hear on the main island (however, there are others).

Coming from Hawai’i, I know a few things to do with taro (re: poi!). That being said, I like to try local recipes, too. One popular way to eat taro here is to boil and mash it with some sugar (this is called “dengaku” デンガク, 田楽). Many Okinawans say it reminds them of grandma’s cooking to eat it this way. Just as an FYI, many farmer’s markets will sell taro already cooked.

Interestingly enough, you may also see some labeled チンヌク chinnuku here in Okinawa, another type of taro. From my understanding, there are 2 types of taro in Okinawa, taanmu is cultivated in a shallow water field, and chinnuku is in a regular field. Taanmu is supposed to be better for sweet things, and chinnuku used for things like ジューシー juushii (cooked rice meals). But honestly, you can probably use them fairly interchangeably…

If you like taro, try some of the delicious Okinawa treats made with it:

Taimo (taro) Pie: 田いもパイ

Muuchii: ムーチー

Let us know what you think!