As most things Okinawan, taco rice also has an interesting history. It’s a popular Okinawan cuisine that contains ground beef, lettuce and tomatoes appropriately served on a bed of white rice. Apparently, it has even been a staple on the local Okinawan school lunch menu since the early 90’s.

Like Spam, you may wonder what the deal is with Taco Rice. A local chef from the restaurant “Parlor Senri” created taco rice ( the restaurant was located near the Camp Hansen gate back in the 80’s). The yen was very strong at that time, so many Americans curbed dining out to save money. The restaurant decided to create a menu that used ground beef- thinking that it would attract Americans as well as be an inexpensive meal for families dining out. The other story is that the dish was created as a cheap meal for employees. Either way, I find it tastier than those over fried taco salad shells that you get with your taco salad at Taco Bell. So if you want to pretend that you can actually cook Japanese food- now is a good opportunity to get it right.

Here’s a tried and true recipe for four, from one of my lovely students:

* Ground beef/or pork (300 grams)
* Two cloves of garlic
* Soy-Sauce (3 tablespoons)
* Olive Oil (1 tablespoon)
* Lettuce (5 leaves)
* Shredded cheddar cheese (15 grams)
* Salsa
* Rice ( two bowls)

1. Put olive oil in a frying pan, the sauteed minced garlic over a small flame until it turns golden brown.
2. Add ground beef in the pan until tender
3. Add sake and soy-sauce and heat until the juice is dry
4. Cut lettuce and cheese into strips
5. Put rice on the plate first, then put lettuce, taco meat, cheese and salsa.

So readers, are you up to the six ingredient challenge?

Sidenote: author was not injured in the “reprimanding” at Jusco for bringing you this photo.


  1. Apparently, you are not suppose to photograph anything inside Jusco….They politely showed me the “no camera” sticker on the slidng entrance. Anyone ever noticed this? hmmmm…and now off to speculate- why….