But the trade-off is that it’s rather hard to get in!
Our Japanese-language reporter Kouhey loves visiting the remote island of Ishigaki, which is part of Okinawa prefecture. In fact, he goes there at least once per year. But even after numerous trips there, he’s never once eaten breakfast at a hotel. He’s not much of a breakfast eater anyway, but even if he was he’d much prefer to eat locally.
However, lately, he’s been hearing about a hotel on the island that has a luxury breakfast buffet, and has been wanting to try it out. The hotel itself is called “The Breakfast Hotel Porto Ishigaki Island“, so obviously they feel pretty confident about their breakfast game. That’s why during his latest visit to the island, Kouhey finally decided to go there and see what kind of stuff they had to offer.
The Breakfast Hotel Porto Ishigaki Island is located about five minutes on foot from a central shopping area known as Euglena Mall. The hotel’s concept is “specializing entirely in breakfast”, so there was no doubt about whether it takes pride in its breakfast offerings. When Kouhey checked popular review sites, he saw that the breakfast buffet had very high reviews, so he allowed himself to have high expectations.
The buffet is open to everyone, not just those staying in the hotel, but since it’s so popular, it’s hard to get in if you’re not a guest. Kouhey was staying at a guest house during his time in Ishigaki, so he wasn’t guaranteed to get in easily. But when he arrived at 9 a.m., just before the restaurant stopped putting out new food, he managed to just get in.
We bet you’re wondering about how much such a popular, well-regarded, high-quality buffet costs. Well, you’d be surprised to know it’s just 2,000 yen (US$14)! In Kouhey’s opinion, that’s ridiculously cheap.
So what does a 2,000-yen, “breakfast-specialty hotel” buffet breakfast include? The first thing that caught Kouhey’s eye was the kaisendon, a raw seafood and rice bowl, with the option of adding fresh fish local to Ishigaki waters.
▼ “How to enjoy kaisendon 1. Scoop in Ishigaki-local rice. 2. Pile on as much fresh fish as you like. 3. Add on your desired toppings.”
While you could have standard fare like tuna, salmon, and squid, they also had specialty fish like deepwater longtailed red snapper and leopard coral grouper, similar to what Kouhey ate at Japan’s southernmost rotating sushi restaurant.
The rice was cooked in big iron kettles, and in addition to regular white rice, they also had Okinawan fried rice. Naturally, it was a buffet, so you can have both if you want.
Okinawa’s famous taco rice, a Tex-Mex style dish of taco meat over rice, was also on offer, and it was fully customizable with all the rice, meat, lettuce, and cheese you desire.
They also had mapo tofu, champloo (Okinawan stir-fry)….
And two kinds of Yaeyama soba, Ishigaki’s soul food of flour-based noodles in a ramen-like broth.
They even had a sign up explaining exactly how to make it.
▼ “1. Choose your noodles. 2 Pile on toppings. 3. Pour over your preferred broth.”
They even had roast beef made from Ishigaki cows!
As part of the drink bar they had a lineup of different flavors of an Ishigaki drink called Genki Cool.
On the side, there were various kinds of bread, fruit, yogurt, and even warabi-mochi (mochi dusted with roasted soybean flour).
And, also for dessert, they had Okinawa’s famous Blue Seal Ice Cream (in this case, mango flavored).
Kouhey had never encountered a buffet with so many Ishigaki- and Okinawa-local foods, so he was beyond excited to pile up his plates.
He started with Yaeyama soba. Kouhey snagged both kinds of noodles, but started with the regular noodles.
He’d never been able to customize his own Yaeyama soba before, so it felt like something new.
Next he tried the green noodles.
These were an entirely new flavor too! The broth was the same, but the noodles had a very different feel and flavor.
It was time for some meaty goodness, so Kouhey tried his customized taco rice next.
He’d never had it at a buffet before, and he really enjoyed putting on as much or as little of each ingredient as he liked. It resulted in a unique type of deliciousness he couldn’t get over.
Then he sampled his personal kaisendon, which he made with Ishigaki-local fish.
It was really good! Naturally, Kouhey has eaten kaisendon many times in his life, but it was very different eating one that he put together himself with delicious local ingredients you can’t get anywhere else.
Finally, he finished off his breakfast with a hefty serving of Ishigaki Roast Beef.
It was insanely good!
There was no denying that the Breakfast Hotel Porto Ishigaki Island’s breakfast buffet was an excellent value. Even if roast beef was all that was on offer, that 2,000-yen price tag would be well worth it. But being able to eat that plus local food and all the other things he loves, and as much as he liked, all for such a low price, was awesome.
If you happen to visit Ishigaki Island, in between making friends with the locals while sampling jelly made from Okinawan liquor be sure to visit this buffet at least once, if you can! If you book a night’s stay at the hotel that includes breakfast, you’ll be guaranteed to get in. Otherwise, Kouhey recommends calling the hotel ahead of time to see if you have a chance before you go in.
Related: The Breakfast Hotel Porto Ishigakijima
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