Experiences - Asia

Must-eat in Japan – Chanpuru

You know what is the secret of longevity and a healthy life of Japanese? It’s their balanced and nutrition packed diet that keeps them energised and full of vigor and Chanpuru is one of them.

Chanpuru is an Okinawan dish, which usually consists of tofu combined with other vegetables, fish or meat. It is delicious and power packed with nutrition in abundance. The dish is indigenous to Okinawa, a small island in Japan and has now spread to many restaurants across mainland Japan.


Image Courtesy:  Hajime NAKANO used under the Creative Commons Licence

In fact, the Okinawa diet has been considered to be one of the feasible diet plans for weight loss by dieticians around the world. The principal focus of the diet consists of knowing the food energy density of each food item.

The term ‘Chanpuru’ is derived from the Indonesian word ‘Campur’, meaning ‘mix’ and it is also used to describe the culture of Okinawa since it’s a mixture of Ryukyu, Japanese, Chinese and Southeast Asian culture.

During the fifteenth century when the rulers of the Ryukyu kingdom traversed the China sea, their trade with Korea and Southeast Asia flourished and hence the influence of Chinese and Southeast Asian culinary practices are still prevalent in Okinawa dishes today.

A typical Okinawa dish starts and ends with pork, which helps in balanced absorption of animal protein and fat. A spurt of minerals is provided by the many kinds of seaweed that are harvested from the seas around Okinawa.

The Okinawa food culture has a history of using the seaweed Konbu(kelp) extensively, which is rich in proteins and minerals.

There are different kinds of Chanpuru like Tofu Chanpuru, Mamina Chanpuru, made with mung bean sprouts. Fu Chanpuru, made with Fu flatbread and other vegetables. Somen Chanpuru, with glass noodles along with onion and other greens.

Japan - Chanpuru

Image Courtesy: Hajime NAKANO used under the Creative Commons Licence

The most common Chanpuru is the Goya Chanpuru, made with bitter gourd/ bitter melon stir-fried with tofu, eggs and pork spiced with pepper and soy sauce.

Bitter gourd is low in calories, and rich in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants. In addition to preventing diabetes and thyroid related abnormalities, it is also effective in preventing cancer.

This along with pork and tofu is rich in protein, giving you the perfect balance of all nutrients.

Okinawa diet offers protection against heart diseases and increases life expectancy. So now you know the secret of a healthy life.

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