Say 'Banzai!' to wholesome buffet with halal offerings

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Okinawa

If you want to sample a variety of healthy local foods until your heart is content Banzai is one restaurant you absolutely must check out. This is especially true if you’re looking to eat halal.

Banzai is a buffet-style restaurant that offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for 1,480 yen ($12) and dinner buffet for 1,980 yen. (There are discounts for elementary school age children and younger, seniors and pregnant women.)

Since all the dishes are made with fresh local ingredients, it is a great way to enjoy the best seasonal products Okinawa has to offer.

“Our dishes are handmade using additive-free ingredients, and we serve them cooked in a variety of ways including Japanese, Western and Chinese styles of cuisine,” says owner Tomoya Ogimi. “There are currently over 60 dishes available in our buffet.”

Banzai boasts a number of buffet items made from fresh organic vegetables as well as five handmade specialty dressings to compliment them. In particular, Ogimi recommends the eatery’s baked spring potatoes, stir-fried pork and green peppers, and seafood-fried rice, which he says are some of the most popular items.

The desserts are also tasty and low in fat and calories, according to Ogimi. Some of the most popular, he adds, include a tart made with local organic pumpkin, tofu-based puddings and cakes made from bracken fern starch in flavors such as hibiscus, Okinawan flat lemon and brown sugar.

“Various healthy fruit-vinegar drinks are also available,” Ogimi says.

Despite its popular pork stir fry, Banzai also boasts halal dishes that meet Islamic dietary restrictions. In fact, it is said to be Okinawa’s first “Muslim-friendly restaurant” to be certified by the Japan Halal Association.

Buffet items that meet halal standards are clearly labeled for concerned patrons.

“Since more and more Muslims have been frequenting our area, we decided to start making dishes they could eat,” Ogimi says. “We ensure these dishes have no “mirin” (sweet sake), other alcohol, pork or any other ingredient that the religion does not permit. Now we can confidently encourage Muslims to enjoy some our buffet dishes.”

Banzai, however, is not only Muslim Friendly. English-speaking staff ensure each buffet item is labeled in that language as well as Japanese. So Americans and other native English-speakers can take full advantage of what the buffet has to offer as well.

With a seating capacity of 110, Bonzai is only six-minute walk from Omoromachi Station on the Yui Rail line. You can drop by and enjoy this unique wholesome buffet while strolling the busy streets of central Naha City.

So, what are you waiting for?

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Korea
Stripes Guam


Recommended Content