ちいるんこう（鶏卵糕) chiirunkou is another type of traditional Ryukyuan sweet. It is like a steamed sponge cake, similar to castella カステラ. It is moist, fluffy, and delicious with that perfect hint of candied orange flavor and nuttiness from island peanuts called jimami ジーマーミ (the reddish dots are island peanuts dyed red with an orange peel sugar syrup). Like most Ryukyu sweets, this sponge cake was only consumed by nobility and royals; since eggs are a main ingredient and were scarce during the Ryukyu Kingdom era this cake was especially valued as a luxurious high-class sweet.
My husband and I both preferred the “regular” flavor to the brown sugar flavor. The brown sugar flavor was a bit heavier with a strong molasses taste, which for me did not quite fit with the sponginess of the cake. We served it with some Chinese green tea, perfect for the rainy season in Okinawa. It would also go well with bukubuku-cha, or even just plain sanpin-cha!
This particular chiirunkou came from Arakaki Kashiten 新垣菓子店 in Shuri, where I have purchased some Ryukyu sweets previously. It was sold as a half-and-half set with both cakes inside. Of course, as always, I was given ample free chinsukou cookies with my purchase. This makes a nice omiyage, as well.