In earlier installments of Let’s Eat Junk Food, we sampled Doritos, Oreos, and McDonalds. Today we venture into new waters: the Okinawan version of American (ish) food.
When we visited Okinawa last October I noticed taco rice on many restaurant menus. About 0.3 seconds of pondering led to correct assumptions about the dishes origins: lots of American military personnel on Okinawa, lots of taco rice near military bases, no tortillas available but lots of rice, etc. A quick Interwebs search confirmed these hunches–and also led to a brief existential crisis that taco rice of all things has its own Wikipedia page but I don’t?!? But I digress.
So taco rice is A Thing in Okinawa. Imagine a taco salad served on a bed of rice instead of a tortilla bowl and you have the idea: rice, taco-seasoned ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and “hot” sauce.
Several weeks ago I noticed taco rice in the grocery store here in Yokohama and decided to pick up a box. Tonight we cracked it open. Spoiler alert: it sucked. Like, bad.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Here’s the box. Cute, right? Love those girls in sassy (where are those dresses from?) dresses! I assumed that the package contained seasoning packets to add to cooked ground beef, so I turned to the back of the box looking for how many grams of meat and how many milliliters of water to add. That’s weird, I thought–no mention of how much meat to brown. No problem, I’m sure that my pound of ground turkey is fine. OK! So what does Google Translate give me as cooking directions? “Put packet of taco stool in boiled boiling water for five minutes.” Ha ha, Google Translate! Taco stool–good one!!!
I think you know where this is going.
So after five minutes in a boiled boiling water bath I opened the packet to find this.
It’s actually taco stool.
Mark suggested that I just dump it into the browned turkey meat. No way, I declared. Thankfully I had plenty of taco seasoning on hand (emergency taco seasoning, as it were) so I just mixed up the meat, finished the rest of the toppings, and tried to make the kids taste the taco stool.
Cy considered it, while Ruby’s all “Heeey, watcha got there?!?”.
I bravely tasted it, but only with an emergency beer in hand. It didn’t help, because taco stool sucks even with emergency beer.
Cy tasted it after all. You see the result.
Mark tasted it before i had my phone out, which totally didn’t count.
Me: But you need to try it again because I didn’t have my phone ready!
Me: But if it wasn’t documented by an iPhone then it didn’t really happen.
So there you have it. Good riddance, taco rice from a box.
2 thoughts on “Let’s Eat Junk Food: Taco Rice”
I ordered taco rice at the Club at Negishi a few times – it was okay but Negishi Base closed prior to your arrival in Yokohama…I am sure it is on some Club menu in Yokosuka – maybe Chiefs? You can send Mark on a reconnaissance mission for the sake of food research and all that.
YCAC serves taco rice and I’ve never felt compelled to try it. Don’t feel the need now, either!