Saturday•Izakaya: Goya Champuru

Saturday•Izakaya, izakaya, goya, goya champuru, champuru, NYC, Okinawa, food, Okinawan cuisine, Spam

Saturday•Izakaya returns to Okinawa for a serving of goya champuru, one of the prefecture’s most famous dishes.

Saturday•Izakaya, izakaya, goya, goya champuru, champuru, NYC, Okinawa, food, Okinawan cuisine, Spam

Goya Champuru ingredients

Goya is a vegetable common Okinawa that is also known as “bitter melon.” As its name implies, it is quite bitter, but despite this description, it makes a surprisingly tasty staple of Okinawan cuisine. Okinawan goya is dark green with a very bumpy texture.

From what we understand, the goya sold in this are is likely to come from China or India. A lighter green and less bumpy, the goya from those areas may look slightly different, but the taste is quite close. Here in New York we’re able to purchase goya in Chinatown or at Mistuwa.

Saturday•Izakaya, izakaya, goya, goya champuru, champuru, NYC, Okinawa, food, Okinawan cuisine, Spam

Goya purchased in Chinatown

Saturday•Izakaya, izakaya, goya, goya champuru, champuru, NYC, Okinawa, food, Okinawan cuisine, Spam

Goya innards

“Champuru” is a term that means “mix.” As you’ll see in this video, mixing is something we do several times, as we add each ingredient.

Now, the soul of “champuru” is that anything goes. The recipe we’ve given you is not a hard-and-fast rule; you can adapt this dish to your personal tastes. Can’t bring yourself to cook a dish that requires Spam? Replace the canned meat with pork or bacon. Vegetarian? Omit the meat and eggs. Find bitter melon a bit too bitter? Substitute your favorite vegetables.

The point is to create something delicious.

Regardless of how you make your champuru, it always goes great with Okinawa’s own Orion Beer! Enjoy!

ゴーヤチャンプルー (Goya Champuru)

You’ll need:

  • 1 Can Spam
  • 1 Goya (Bitter Melon)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Block Firm Tofu
  • 2 tsp. Cooking Oil
  • Salt (to taste)
Cut goya in half lengthwise, remove seeds, sprinkle with salt, and let stand for 20 minutes.
Drain excess water from tofu
Dice Spam into bite-sized chunks
Rinse salt from goya halves and slice.
Heat oil in a pan and add Spam.
Crumble tofu into pan.
Add goya to pan.
Beat the eggs and add to pan, cooking until goya becomes tender.
Saturday•Izakaya, izakaya, goya, goya champuru, champuru, NYC, Okinawa, food, Okinawan cuisine, Spam

Mixing

Saturday•Izakaya, izakaya, goya, goya champuru, champuru, NYC, Okinawa, food, Okinawan cuisine, Spam

Plate and enjoy!