Ryu-Pin in Chatan: Shaved ice never tasted so good
On a hot day on Okinawa, there is nothing more refreshing than shaved ice. And nobody does shaved ice like Ryu-Pin.
This well-known sweets parlor in a thatch-roofed shack at Mihama American Village that is famous for its large and tasty “ice mount tropical fruits” – shaved ice creations that sell for 1,000 yen ($10).
“It is literally a mountain of shaved ice with assorted ice creams and various local seasonal fruits like pineapple and passion fruit,” says Ryu-Pin’s Orie Zaizen. “We always heap tropical fruits and ice cream on the shaved ice in large container right in front of the customer because seeing your dessert created adds to the anticipation.”
Since Ryu’s uses fresh fruits that are in season menu options vary depending on the time of the year. And if you happen to stop by the shack during the summertime you’re in for a real treat, according to Zaizen.
“In summer, our contracted local farmers bring us extremely sweet mangos every year,” she says. “The shaved ice mountain with seasonal mango is like the queen of desserts and cannot be compared with any other cold sweets.”
Beware, these ice treats are really large. So large, in fact, that may need someone to share it with.
“Our shaved ice mountains are served large so that you can enjoy them with your family members or other loved ones,” Zaizen says.
What if you’re hankering for something cool and sweet that’s a little less daunting?
“We have other popular items that may be easier for one person to finish,” Zaizen said. “For instance, Passion fruit smoothies (for 350 yen) and ‘kokuto kori zenzai’ (shaved ice with brown sugar, sweet beans and syrup for 300 yen. We also have ‘suppuru,’ (tropical fruit juice with agar gelatin balls for 350 yen) which are very popular, too.”
Since Ryu-Pin is located near Camp Foster, Camp Lester and Kadena Air Base, U.S. service members are no stranger there, according to Zaizen. And its riverside location means you can enjoy your dessert on one of the many chairs around the shop in the open air with refreshing cool breeze from the river.
“During holiday season, buildings and gardens around the parlor are beautifully decorated with illuminations,” Zaizen said. “That adds another special flavor to our cold sweets.”
Photos courtesy of Ryu-Pin