Miso 味噌 in Okinawa, part II

Previously I made a post about a special type of miso found in Okinawa, called andansu. But this is not the only miso you will find, as you can find all the regular Japanese varieties of miso as well. Sometimes you can find locally produced miso, and other brands will be big nation-wide corporate brands (not necessarily a bad thing). So let’s take a look at some of the things you should know about finding the right miso for you in Okinawa.

To start, things to look for on the label:

White miso 白みそ: this is a “light” or mild miso.

Blended Miso (Awase miso) 合わせみそ: this is usually pretty versatile and the one I typically keep in my fridge.

Red Miso 赤みそ: this is usually dark and salty, but so good. My husband prefers this darker, saltier miso but it can be pungent if you are not used to it.

dashi (fish broth) added だし入り: you probably don’t want this. It is so much easier to add your own dashi (and you can make it vegan by using konbu/seaweed dashi) and adjust it to your tastes.

organic 有機

additive-free 無添加

reduced salt 減塩

Special Notes:

*for non-GMO, if you look at the ingredient list, and the soybeans 大豆 are from Japan 国産 then you know it is non-GMO. Otherwise, it probably will not say.

*for gluten-free, check to see if 麦 (barley) or 小麦 (wheat) are listed in the ingredients.

*for soy-free (I know… sounds crazy right?), read this previous post I made about finding soy-free foods in the grocery store.

Now, where do I get miso? Well, any grocery store has an entire aisle dedicated to it. The choices are, frankly, overwhelming. It might take a few tries until you find one perfect to your tastes and uses. Look for ones that say 沖縄県産 for brands local to Okinawa; some examples you can find easily in stores are Kumejima miso 久米島みそ, Shuri miso 首里みそ, and Shimagome miso 島米みそ. Other big brands like Marusan, Marukome, TopValu, Maruman, etc. are also commonly found in stores here. I usually don’t go for these, but out of all the big brands, I think Hikari 光 is probably one of the best in my opinion (I don’t have a picture, but it comes in many varieties depending on your preference and says HIKARI on the tubs).

There is a lovely place I went to in the southern part of the island, you can read about it here: Miso chiffon cake, Yume Koubou: 菊みそ加工所夢工房. I bought some of their miso and it was really good, and while not the cheapest, reasonably priced I thought.

There is also a specialty store in the Aeon Rycom Mall, called Kuze Fuku, and they often have many varieties of higher-end miso and specialty miso from different areas of Japan. I recommend checking here if you are looking for something “special.”

Sometimes farmers markets will have bags of homemade miso, usually pretty cheap.

Below are some examples of miso you can find in Okinawa stores:

This is just some info focusing on Okinawa. For a much more comprehensive and explanatory look at miso, as well as some ways to cook with it, I highly recommend reading JustHungry website’s Miso Primer. It is such an excellent resource, I always recommend it to anyone who is first starting out with miso.

Miso chiffon cake, Yume Koubou: 菊みそ加工所夢工房

Today was full of adventure. One reason was Kiku Miso Dream Factory 菊みそ夢工房 in Yaese. This place makes homemade miso… and chiffon cakes!

I read about this place on a Japanese-Okinawa news site. It talked about tasty fluffy chiffon cakes, and the number one seller was made with miso. Well, who can pass that up?! Not me! So I made plan to explore some places nearby and drag my husband there (and it worked!). After a nice veggie lunch, we made it to Kiku Miso Yume Koubou. It was in a pretty quiet area, nice rural surroundings. Inside was clean and cute. There were many types of chiffon cakes (whole and sliced), but my objective was miso flavor. My husband chose coffee flavor. They also sold homemade miso (among some other products) for a very reasonable price, and since we were almost out at home, we decided to pick some up as well.

Anyway, we went to a nearby park and devoured our cakes with some tea. So fluffy and delicious! Seriously, so fluffy! Success.

address: 菊みそ加工所夢工房

254 Tōme, Yaese-chō, Shimajiri-gun, Okinawa-ken 901-0414


Miso in Okinawa: 味噌

味噌: miso, also seen on packages as みそ in hiragana.

A popular ingredient throughout Japan. Here in Okinawa, there is a local specialty miso called andansu アンダンスー, but it can also labeled 油みそ (abura miso) or even 肉みそ (niku miso) for the pork based or かつお (katsuo) for the katsuo based. It is miso with bits of pork in it, or sometimes katsuo かつお (鰹, tuna type of fish) depending on the recipe. You can find it in local grocery stores and farmers markets, although it is not always near the other miso pastes… sometimes I find it by meats or prepared foods, or even in the “local specialities” section. At farmers markets it is often sold in simple containers or even just plastic bags (usually from local obaasan that make it at home to sell), but most grocery stores sell the commercial versions. You can even make your own andansu of you live outside of Okinawa (recipe here).

commercial types, usually near the omiyage/souvenir section

Obviously this is not one I go for since I do not eat pork, but my husband likes it.

Andansu is used in several dishes or even just as a condiment on rice. A popular treat called ぽーぽー popo, sort of a rolled crepe made from eggs, flour and brown sugar, puts a bit of andansu in the middle.

So as a reminder, not all miso is vegetarian in Okinawa! However if you don’t mind a bit of pork, you should try some andansu while in Okinawa.

andansu from the farmers market; sometimes they are packaged even in just plain white containers with almost no labelling except for 「アンダンスー」