Converted military house becomes vegan cafe in Okinawa
It's kind of hard to find and she does very little advertising, but if you love vegan food and beautiful, healthful local vegetables, than Café Sprout is worth the effort.
Situated next to Futenma marine base and Okinawan International University, the café is located in converted former military housing. Those familiar with base living will recognize the concrete block styling and heavy metal front door that is so common to post residences. Inside, the decoration is simple and clean, with a few tables and a case with cookies and treats. A chalkboard menu hangs on the wall and a Japanese curtain separates the kitchen from the dining area.
A handful of menu choices include a curry, a veggie burger, onigiri (rice balls), and the veggie plate. We went for the plate and were not disappointed. First came a smooth cauliflower soup, very simple and flavorful and unmistakably cauliflower. Next came the plate: a gorgeous array of local vegetables done in a myriad of cooking styles. Brown rice was accented with a breaded tofu cutlet, a tempura of island carrot and crown daisy greens, simmered eggplant and spinach, a few green beans, some zucchini in tomato sauce, Chinese cabbage with shredded tofu, wheat gluten with mushrooms, and island tofu with fennel. Every mouthful was different and each one delectable. The meal was followed by coffee, with tea as the other set plate option.
If you have a sweet tooth, a variety of cookies and baked goods are available, along with cake, Japanese sweet bean dessert, and soy ice cream. Some recently whipped up treats include a banana cake and a fig compote, both sure to please.
The proprietress goes to great pains to do simple, wholesome cooking, with great care taken about oils and sugars. No eggs, milk, or white sugar is ever used and she pays attention to balance, using lots of lovely local island vegetables.
If you're lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of the resident cat, Moana, a beautiful white Siamese mix rescued by the owner a few years ago, now living the high life as Sprout's mascot.
Living well in vegan Okinawa!