This is based on a recipe from “Otsumami Yokocho” Volume 1, page 71. “Chanpuru” has many recipe variations. “Chanpuru” in Okinawan means “to mix or mixed” as I understand it. The one with bitter melon (or goya ゴーヤ), “Goya Chanpuru”, appears to be the most popular type of Chanpuru. This dish was not at all known outside Okinawa 沖縄 when I lived in Japan (especially in Hokkaido which is the other end country) but now it has become a very popular dish all over Japan. It even made an appearance in “Otsumami Yokocho”. I made a few changes in the recipe; for one thing, I refuse to use Spam in my dish, as instructed by the original recipe.
Bitter melon or “goya” (in Okinawan language, “nigauri” 苦瓜 in Japanese but “goya” ゴーヤ is how this vegetable is called all over Japan now) has been available in Chinese markets here in the U.S. I found this one of the regular supermarket and decided to make this dish.
For two small servings to accompany sake, I used bitter melon (1/2), firm tofu (1/3), and egg (1, beaten). I did not use Spam as called for in the recipe (my wife absolutely prohibits me from even mentioning the name because of her childhood experience while at summer camp where they served spam literally for breakfast, lunch and dinner–too much of a good thing). Instead I used another pork product; thinly sliced leftover roasted pork tenderloin (5-6 slices). I suppose, in an authentic Okinawan recipe, some kind of salt preserved pork is used but Spam has been also popular there (due to American military influences).