The Secret To Longevity: Get A Taste Of The Healthy Okinawan Diet At Yakiniku Heijoen And Gyu Jin

Japanese people are the most likely in the world to live over 100 years old, and the Okinawans in particular have the honor of having the most number of centenarians. The secret partly lies in their diet –  which includes a variety of fresh vegetables brimming with vitamins and antioxidants that are native to Okinawa.
When you mention Okinawa vegetables, the first thing that comes to mind is goya, a bitter gourd fruit that is a staple in the Okinawa diet and used in medicine for its detoxifying properties. Some even consider goya a superfood thanks to all its health and medicinal properties.
And now you can enjoy goya and more fresh veggies flown directly from Okinawa at Yakiniku Heijoen and Gyu Jin. The two Japanese restaurants in 100AM Mall will be adding Okinawa vegetables to their usual vegetables menu for the rest of March when you order hot pot or yakiniku. Both restaurants has also added three exclusive sides, all made from local Okinawa vegetables too.

heijoen hot pot
Gyu Jin hot pot and sukiyaki

Gyu Jin is famous for their hot pot soups, where you can feast on shabu shabu cooked in delicious soups and tasty vegetables.
And now you can add in fresh local vegetables flown in straight from Okinawa like Okinawa spinach and goya. Goya means bitter gourd in English, and you can guess by the name that the bitter vegetable is loved or loathed due to its distinct taste. Pop a few pieces into your soup to let it boil for a while to reduce the bitterness.
fresh okinawa veg goya
Other than goya, you can also add other vegetables like winter melon, pumpkin and Okinawa spinach. If you like your soup sweet, add in some sweet corn to boil. The sweet corn is crunchy and is so good you can even eat it raw.
Another staple in Japanese cuisine is seaweed, and the mozuku seaweed from Okinawa is thicker and chewier than those found in other parts of Japan. The mozuku seaweed is rich in fucoidan, which strengthens your immune system and balances your intestinal health. Dunk your seaweed in the soup a couple of times and it’s ready to be eaten.
heijoen vegetables
Gyu Jin also has sukiyaki soups, but you don’t usually boil vegetables like goya in the soup. Instead, you can order  the vegetables as a cold side off the ala carte menu to still get your daily dose of greens. There are three new sides you can choose from, all featuring Okinawa vegetables.
okinawa vegetables appetisers
Left to right: Okinawa Shallot ($8.50), Mozuku with Sanbaizu Sauce ($6.00), Nigana with Mashed Tofu Dressing ($6.50)

Have your mozuku seaweed soaked in sanbaizu sauce, a sweet vinegar concoction that brings out the taste of the seaweed. Another bitter vegetable, nigana, is a leafy vegetable that is chopped finely and mixes with mashed tofu to mask the bitter taste. Nigana is commonly used to help build up your immune system and prevent colds since ancient times. The last side is a helping of Okinawa shallots, a crunchy root that can be eaten straight or together with meat.
The vegetables can also be grilled over charcoal. Over at Yakiniku Heijoen, you can order as much meat and vegetables as you want in their all-you-can-eat dinner buffets, which offers a variety of cuts, marinades, and sides.
Roast your veggies over the charcoal to give them a slightly charred flavor. Vegetables good to char include peppers, sweet corn, and pumpkin. Goya can also be grilled, and it’ll have a more pronounced taste. If it’s your first time trying it, be warned that the crunchy gourd can be quite bitter! Order some dipping sauce like roasted sesame sauce to add more flavor to the vegetables.
You don’t have to pay an extra premium for the Okinawa vegetables – they’ll be available on the regular menu as part of the buffet. That’s just the cherry on the top as the dinner buffet at Yakiniku Heijoen also includes free flow A5 grade wagyu beef. Melt-in-your-mouth beef and crunchy vegetables that tastes like they came straight from the farm? We’re sold!
The Okinawa vegetables including goya and sweet corn will be available on the menu at Yakiniku Heijeon and Gyu Jin at 100am Mall, 100 Tras Street, until the end of March 2019. The Nigana with Mashed Tofu Dressing, Okinawa Shallot, and Mozuku with Sanbaizu Sauce are available as ala carte items at both restaurants. 

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