Mixing it up with Champru
Ryoji Ramen & Izakaya offers two versions of this characteristic Okinawan dish.
Champru, meaning “mixed up” or “stirred together,” is the name of an iconic Okinawan dish made with tofu, bean sprouts and pork. And with its vibrant mix of influences, it’s also seen as a description of Okinawan culture. Lying below the southernmost tip of Japan in the middle of the East China Sea, Okinawa has long drawn inspiration from its position as a crossroads. There, you can find influences from the local traditional Ryūkyū culture, as well as the many different cultures that have visited Okinawa’s shores, from Chinese, Japanese and Southeast Asian to North American. If North America is a cultural melting pot, then Okinawa must be a champru: a toasty-hot stir-fry.
This warm and savoury stir-fry is Okina
In the tradition of mixing it up, Ryoji has two different takes on this dish: savoury Okinawa Tofu Champru and, for the more adventurous, the quintessential Okinawan dish: Goya Champru with bitter goya melon.
Goya melon is crisp, fresh and bitter, bringing depth to this dish.
At Ryoji, the Okinawa Tofu Champru is made with hearty stir-fried Okinawan tofu, crisp bean sprouts, garlicky nira leeks and rich, savoury slices of pork belly all topped with smoky bonito flakes. Unlike other tofu varieties, Okinawa tofu is firm and can stand up to stir-frying without crumbling. The Okinawa tofu arrives in the form of piping hot steaks, and cooking at high heat gives the tofu and vegetables a delicious grilled flavour. Tasty and satisfying, it’s a warm, fresh and healthy take on comfort food.
Ryoji’s Goya Champru is a remix of the Okinawa Tofu Champru that adds egg and fine slices of crisp goya melon—a bitter melon with unusual spiky skin that is a hallmark of Okinawan cooking. The bitter goya melon balances the charbroiled flavor of the tofu with a nice crunch and mild bite.
Whether you go with the “original” or the “remix,” you’re sure to love this traditional dish that embodies Okinawa’s exciting blend of cultural influences.
Ryoji Ramen & Izakaya
690 College St., Toronto | TEL. 416-533-8083
Mon-Thurs 11:30am-12am | Fri-Sat 11:30am -2am | Sun 11:30am-10:30pm