Tamie's Kitchen: An excellent vegan cafe in Okinawa's American Village
Okinawans love their native pork (aguu) but for those who abstain from meat and other animal products, a new restaurant has arrived to break up the monotony of curry and noodle places in central Okinawa. Tamie’s Kitchen brings delicious vegan fare to the masses with its central location in the highly trafficked area of Mihama’s American Village.
Tamie Hirokawa is an artist and macrobiotic chef and her creative sense is evident in the light and airy lines of her eatery. The cafe offers a bright open space, with views of the American Village complex and the not-to-distant sea. There are numerous tables inside, most of them accommodating parties of two or four, though the staff is happy to move things around for larger groups. In fair weather, you can even eat outside on the terrace, though due to its seaside location, the American Village area can be quite windy.
The restaurant offers both English and Japanese menus, with a slightly different selection at lunch and dinner. I went with the daily lunch plate, which came with rice and soup. The main course itself was a beautiful arrangement of vegetable based dishes - sauteed spinach with a nutty cream sauce, a vinegared carrot salad, several other vegetables and an amazing pan-fried tofu with a “cheese” and salsa topping. I would gladly have scarfed down seconds of the tofu, if I hadn’t wanted to save room for dessert. Other main choices on the menu include Mexican veggie fish tacos, a daily curry and a trio of burger options. I had a chance to taste the veggie burger, which appeared to be made from a base of brown rice. The bun was particularly good and is apparently made from a special yeast.
We settled on a take-away dessert, a coconut and chocolate cake. The cake was dense, but not too sweet, and ended up being quite filling. I wish, however, I had the opportunity to try the cafe’s much-touted soy-based ice cream.
When I asked the server where the food came from, she told me that the majority of what appeared on our plates was grown locally. Only a few products were brought in from the Shikoku and Kyushu regions.
Tamie recently opened a second eatery in the Yomitan area, a 20-30 minute drive north of the American Village neighborhood. The menu at the new location offers a significant number of raw food options.