Flip over Okinawa's Kupu Kupu Pancake Factory
I’m not really a big fan of breakfast. I know that I should be, since it’s “the most important meal of the day” and all that jazz, but I hate mornings. Breakfast generally happens in the morning and, for me, it means that breakfast generally gets skipped so that I can spend a few more blissful minutes basking in the snuggly warmth of my bed. (Yay sleep!) But the dilemma is that some of my favorite dishes are traditionally served at breakfast, (French Toast and pancakes, holla if ya hear me!) which means that I often have to miss out on them. This is why I get pretty excited when I find eateries on Okinawa that serve breakfast dishes throughout the day.
While my husband and I were strolling along the seawall one afternoon, I noticed the sign for a new (to me) restaurant. It was nothing flashy, and I almost walked right past it without noticing what it was advertising. Luckily, my eyes lingered long enough to read it.
Sweet mother of type II diabetes, you had me at, “Pancake Factory,” Kupu Kupu.
“It’s three in the afternoon. You want breakfast? Now?”
My husband clearly didn’t understand that all I could hear was the angelic sound of fluffy, golden hotcakes slathered in syrup and whipped cream calling my name.
We had to try this place out, three in the afternoon or not.
Kupu Kupu’s interior was adorably shabby-chic and comfy-casual; a perfect place for a couple or a family to spend a rainy (or sunny!) Okinawa morning/afternoon/evening. Equal parts nautical and 50s retro, swing music trickled down a small spiral staircase that lead to an upper dining room, splashed with royal blue and sea foam green. Being that it was the middle of the day, the crowd was small and we had our choice of seating. I have heard that they get pretty busy on Sunday mornings, so keep that in mind when planning your visit. Booth, table, and bar seating arrangements were available on both floors. (Outdoor seating was available on the entrance floor.)
The staff was, of course, beyond friendly and spoke very clear English.
One thing on the menu that caught my eye was their use of all organic ingredients. It wasn’t very large, which can be nice when you’re in the mood for simplicity. (Or just in the mood for some pancakes.) Kupu Kupu offered a variety of fillings for the imagawayaki-style cakes, including mashed potatoes, cheese, and apples.
I went with the Apple Pancakes (¥780) and added a side of whipped cream for an extra ¥180 (totally worth it). I absolutely loved every bite. The pancakes were prepared with baked apples sandwiched in the middle and a small cup of apple syrup on the side. (And isn’t that logo just the cutest thing?) I highly recommend trying these. The pancakes might appear to be on the smaller side, but they’re denser than they look and are surprisingly filling.
My husband ordered the “Pancake Tower” (¥1,280), which was pretty much a stack of pancakes with little meat patties and sauce between them. (These are tofu beef patties and thusly taste like tofu beef patties, so do not order this expecting a USDA Angus burger with pancakes for buns! You’re in Asia, not Texas.)
It came with a small salad, a cup of vegetable soup, and a side of fries. He enjoyed it, but it simply couldn’t hold a candle to the wonder of my Apple Pancakes. We ended up scraping my plate clean and leaving most of his uneaten. Moral of the story? Order the Apple Pancakes. (They also come à la mode, if you’re feeling sassy!)
Hours: Daily 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Closed on Tuesdays
Payment: Yen and U.S. dollars are accepted.
Website: Kupu Kupu Facebook Page
Directions: From Kadena- Make a left out of Gate 1. Continue for a short time on 58, and turn right when you see a Chinese restaurant called ToyoHanten. Keep going straight until you reach the second to last intersection. Make a left there and continue until you reach the end of the road. Turn right and you will be on a one-way street. Continue on the one-way and you’ll find the Pancake Factory in the cluster of eateries (including Sushi Zen and Sea Garden, if you’re familiar with either) right next to the seawall. There is a small parking lot for customers behind Kupu Kupu. To get to it, you must pass up the restaurants, round the corner, and make a right on the first street. Then make another right and you’ll be on the road next to the building. There will be a “Kupu Kupu Parking” sign. Kupu Kupu is located on the second floor, up the white stairs near the sign bearing the name.