At this Okinawa restaurant, Mmm stands for meatless, macrobiotic miracles
Traditional Okinawan food is already considered healthy, but it can be hard to find a 100 percent vegan restaurant on island.
Thanks to Tamie’s Kitchen, however, vegans in search of carefully prepared foods entirely free of animal by-products can find it in a friendly and cozy atmosphere.
Tamie’s Kitchen is located right across from the Starbucks on the second-floor deck in Chatan’s popular American Village near Kadena Air Base. Here, you can count on all the dishes you order coming without meat, seafood or dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese.
Some of the most popular dishes here are Tamie’s Original Veggie Burger for 1,000 yen ($8.40), with soy-based meatless patty and whole wheat buns made with natural yeast. The Mexican Veggie Fish Tacos (1,300 yen), is a popular takeout item that is also soy based. And there are teriyaki and vegie fish versions of the burger, too.
Other popular menu items include the Today’s Lunch Plate for 1,300 yen and the Today’s Dinner Plate for 1,500 yen. These combo plates are a varied sampler of seasonal delicacies that are as much a feast to the eyes as the palate.
“The Today’s Plate changes every couple days because we prepare it with the freshest seasonal vegetables available,” says owner and macrobiotic chef, Tami Hirokawa. She adds that all the dishes are made from select vegetables mostly grown on an organic farm in Okinawa.
Tamie’s also boasts a “Buddhist monk-style” meal free of shallot, leek, chives and garlic that can be ordered a couple of days in advance.
For desert, there are a variety of vegan cakes, other sweets and smoothies. Hirokawa highly recommends the Vegan Soft Cream (500 yen), insisting that the soy-based soft serve ice cream is ideal for Okinawa’s the hot summer weather.
Since opening in September, Tamie’s has become so popular with meat-free fans that plans for a second location are already in the works. Hirokawa’s second restaurant, Tamie’s Village, is slated to open in Yomitan by the end of April.
“More than half of our customers are foreigners, including people from U.S. bases and tourists,” Hirokawa says. “Some of them are very health conscious about what they eat; some are strict vegans because of their religion. And they all appreciate what we serve here. We’re glad we have so many repeat customers.”
Those with food allergies will find Tamie’s staff more than willing to tailor dishes to their dietary needs. And each dish is creatively designed, playing on the color of the vegetables to look both artistic and yummy.
“I want people to know that we can create tasty and fun dishes by using only fresh vegetables,” Hirokawa says. “And those dishes are really good for digestion and good for your whole body. At our Yomitan location, I am planning to add some special vegan dishes that can help simulate brain activity.”
Tamie’s also offers Yoga classes on the terrace of the restaurant on occasion. Ask the staff for more information or check out events posted on their “Tamie’s Kitchen” Facebook page.
So if you’re looking to satisfy your mind, spirit and body along with your appetite, Tamie’s just might be the place for you.
Address: Carnival Park Mihama 214, 15-69 Mihama, Chatan, Okinawa
Hours: Lunch, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Café, 3-6 p.m.; Dinner, 6-9 p.m. (Sun.-Mon., Wed.-Thu.), 6 p.m. (Fri.-Sat.)