Summer is soon arriving! In Okinawa, this will mean the onset of Beach BBQ parties. But it is a bit different than the US and Hawai’i.
All summer long, many of the beaches have pavilions or tents set up for rental. Work groups, social clubs, sports teams, family gatherings, class reunions and any other type of group you can think of will be renting one of these. You can also rent a grill (with propane container and cooking utensils) and buy pre-made BBQ set of meats/fish/veggies to grill, as well as kegs of beer.
Now, when you go to one of these, it is unlikely to be hamburgers and hotdogs, or steaks or sausages; there is no mustard, ketchup, relish or hamburger rolls. Probably no sides of macaroni salad or desserts jello ambrosia salad. But there is almost always beer, either in kegs or coolers, so there is that. Sometimes whiskey and awamori are brought out, but I usually avoid those.
My experience is that 2 or 3 people will man the grill and start cooking yakitori or other skewers, strips of beef or pork, octopus… whatever. Maybe some eel if you are lucky. Once all the meat and fish is cooked, usually someone will get out the flat sheet for the grill and it is time for yakisoba. Yup. Fried noodles are a classic BBQ item. Coming from Hawai’i this is not terribly unusual, so the first time I experienced this, I just rolled with it. But on further reflection, it was not so common at most of the beach BBQs I had been to before.
If you are really lucky, someone might bring a watermelon for suikawari (read more in a previous post).
Anyway, that is a small bit on Okinawa beach BBQs. I will probably update this a bit more with some pictures during the summer when the season is in full swing.