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Kinjo: Bangkok’s Only Okinawan Restaurant

“I gotta gets me some Okinawan food” is not normally a phrase you hear that much in any part of the world, but KohSpotters are an adventurous bunch, so we think you’ll like this place. Claiming to have the only authentically made soba noodles in Bangkok is a bold statement, when one considers the sheer amount and variety of Japanese restaurants, as well as the vast number of expats here. But Otaka Shohei, manager of Kinjo, keeps packing them in with his dishes from the southern Japanese island. Kinjo opens doors.

KohSpot has been led to believe that Okinawan cuisine finds Spam indispensable because of America’s continuing military presence on the island since WWII, but mercifully Kinjo’s menu spares us that retelling. The food at Kinjo is far from American military slop.

Both the simmered fatty pork (rafutee) (130 baht) and tofu dishes (ours came with a ginger sauce and a dollop of wasabi for 130 baht) were reminiscent of Taiwanese food, and both were delicious. Tofu is another specialty of Kinjo, with maybe a score of different varieties of both wet and dry. Another interesting take on Okinawan cuisine are the Japanese tacos (150 baht), which features minced spiced pork with lettuce and tomatoes over sushi rice.

Unfortunately, Kinjo was out of its signature soba noodles, so it’s worth calling ahead on that dish. Kinjo’s claim seems to be the only restaurant in Bangkok that makes the soba by hand from Okinawan buckwheat. We assume that is a good thing. We diverted our attention with the squid-ink chow mein (150 baht), making our teeth look like a those belonging to a methhead which is appropriate because the dish is as addictive as crack.

KohSpot is also a fan of Kinjo’s lunchtime Asahi special where a mug costs 50 baht and a pitcher 165. Fans of sake are spoiled for choice.

The atmosphere is just as pleasant as the food. The music is a mix of Japanese pop and more plaintive melodies, while it screens Okinawan TV shows (some sort of  soap opera was on during our sojourn). The décor is a welcoming kitsch, from tourism photos of Okinawa to Asahi posters to the bamboo sake bar in the back.

Kinjo seems to have a number of loyal fans, and we recommend it.

Kinjo
Location: 24/1 Sukhumvit Soi 69, about 50 meters down the soi on the right-hand side.
Mass transit: BTS Phra Khanong
Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 5 pm-11 pm daily
Phone: 02-711-0536
Website: www.facebook.com/kinjo.okinawa

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