Thanks to the Columbian exchange the entire planet benefited from South American culinary exotica and the pineapple was a score indeed. History of this foreign fruit hitting Japan dates back to 1866 when budding plants from a Dutch shipwreck of Ishigaki island floated ashore into Kabira bay. 1927 marked the introduction of cayenne pineapples to Izumi in Motobu town, Okinawa and 1935 saw the production mobilized by Taiwanese immigrants.
With a sub-tropical climate, Okinawa has great conditions for a bevvy of sexy fruit like dragon, mango, passion and mini bananas. All of the above you can buy pretty much anywhere in the world but one thing you won’t find elsewhere is the Okinawa pineapple. These are the wackiest, most delicious pineapples you will find and although they don’t differ too much in taste from what you have known as pineapple until this point, the experience is certainly unexpected. So pineapples are a composite fruit made of 100 or more fruitlets fused together giving it that tessellated look and what makes the Okinawa version so engaging is that you don’t need to cut the skin off but instead tug off these individual fruitlets and eat it that way!
If cooking up an Okinawan dish, and we know these guys love their hog, some smashed up pineapple or a little juice from it will beautifully tenderize the meat as it contains a strong enzyme called bromelin which breaks down protein.
If you can’t find a pineapple at the store then there is only one sane alternative and that is to get a flight to Okinawa and try it at the source, just makes sense!