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Okinawan food is — for me at least — the food of summer. When the days are short and chill, I have little interest in the flavors of Japan’s southwestern isles. But when the heat and humidity build like a thunderhead, that is the time the cravings arise.

Knobbly jade-green gourds of piercing bitterness; juicy, rich cubes of fatty pork belly; fermented tofu, tangily redolent of blue cheese; crunchy seaweed clusters shaped like miniature bunches of grapes. These are tastes and textures that beckon me like an exotic overseas holiday.

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