CONTRIBUTED BY LAKESHA COLE
New to the island, learning how to make sushi rolls from a connoisseur of all things sushi was definitely at the top of my list. Last weekend, a couple of friends joined us for a rolled sushi class and lunch at Waryu Sushi Shuna at the Tokyo Dai-ichi Hotel Okinawa Grand Mer Resort. It was the most relaxing fun I’ve had on the island to date.
This 90-minute experience took place in the upstairs restaurant where other diners caught a glimpse of us learning to make this cultural tradition. Our work station was fully prepped with all the materials and ingredients we needed to include fresh salmon, crab meat, avocado, seaweed, lettuce, a variety of sauces and a bamboo sushi mat. Once we dressed the part in our complimentary apron, chef hat and gloves, we were ready for class to commence.
The lesson started with how to make vinegar sushi rice. We each took turns mixing the rice and vinegar in a wooden bowl by using a top to bottom cutting movement that was actually harder than it looked. We then proceeded to place all the ingredients in the recommended order and rolled with a bamboo sushi mat.
Once we finished, our instructor had lunch set-up for us at a nearby table with a picturesque hilltop view of the surrounding area and the sparkling blue water of the Pacific Ocean. Along with our sushi rolls, lunch included shrimp tempura, vegetable tempura, fresh fruit, Okinawa soba and tea.
Overall, the experience was great and so was the food. The grounds of the resort were beautiful with a modern feel. The staff was very pleasant and spoke pretty good English. The next time we return, we will return as guests of the resort. I hear every room has an ocean view.
Phone: +81 98-931-1500 (Classes are by reservation only.) The classes are taught in English, Japanese and Chinese. You will need to specify when you make reservations.
Payment: The cost of the class and lunch is 2,000 yen per person for a group of 6 or more; or 2,500 yen per person for a group less than 6.
Directions: The resort is located off of 329. Coming from the Camp Foster Legion Gate, keep straight up 81 and turn left only 329. Turn left at the Tokyo Dai-ichi Hotel Okinawa Grand Mer Resort sign onto a narrow road and follow the signs all the way up. If you enter 2-8-1 Yogi, Okinawa-shi, Okinawa, Japan 904-2174 into Google Map it will give you turn-by-turn instructions. It will seem like you’re going the wrong way as you drive up hill on a really narrow road but keep going. The resort sits at the top of the hill.
Parking: Parking around the resort was confusing. The resort attendants will direct you to drop off your passengers at the front entrance of the resort while the driver parks in a remote location. I’m not sure where it was located but my husband caught the hotel shuttle back to the resort. There was no cost for parking.