- Enjoy Kameichi Ojii’s original saataa andagi at KAME ANDAGI, Senagajima Umikaji Terrace
- Nichinichisou in Naha – heartwarming handmade sweets
How about some sweets on the way to the northern areas of Okinawa on a sunny day? Check out Oyatsu-ya Pouta in Ogimi Village
post : 2017.01.10 08:00
There is an old traditional Okinawan house in Ogimi Village where baked sweets are sold. A lemon cake called “weekend (200 yen)” is sold only during the local lemon season. It contains both the juice and the peel of the lemon and the icing is incredible.
The picture shows a vanilla pound cake (140 yen), which is made with flour, butter, cane sugar, cream, almond flour, eggs and vanilla bean. On the day of my visit, classic chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies and also cinnamon crumble cake were available. The shop also features seasonal treats, such as pumpkin and chocolate muffins and pumpkin, rum, raisin muffins at Halloween. Other special seasonal offerings become available during the Christmas holidays.
I noticed a tiny sign saying “Today’s Dessert.” In addition to baked sweets that day, they had other desserts such as milk pudding, coffee gelatan, chocolate & cheese mousse and cream puffs.
“I have always loved baked sweets,” said Wako Gaja, a 22-year-old pastry chef. “I am not good at rich pastries – or ones that are too creamy.” I can’t tell whether she is just shy but she is very quiet. Her confectionary shop is in a small district called Miyagi in Ogimi Village.
“My first experience of making sweets was about 15 years ago,” Wako said with her gentle smile. “I received lots of positive comments from friends about my chocolate snacks back then. I used to just melt chocolate in a pan and form them into shapes.”
After graduating high school in Ogimi and studying at a culinary school in Naha City, she gained some experience working at a bakery in the city. At that time, she did not think seriously about owning own shop, although she did hold onto a small dream inside. She finally decided to open own shop because she wanted to make what she likes, handling the whole process from scratch.
Having a shop of her own in her hometown was very important to Wako. Luckily, her grandmother offered her the use the old house from which to run her baking business. Before opening, she studied hard and experimented with many samples.
She admits that perfecting the recipes for muffins and pound cakes was the hardest job. She wanted to find her own special taste. The recipes took about six months and much trial and error to complete. On October 5, 2016 she finally received her permits from the Public Health Department. Now, she enjoys and appreciates the support of family and friends.
Many family members and acquaintances have visited her place to celebrate the opening. The prices have been kept reasonable because she wants to have a place that people from her hometown can stop by easily and often. Wako chooses ingredients carefully and bakes with love each day. The honest way she has of thinking about her baked sweets attracts more and more customers each day.
I asked her about her dreams. Her answer was in line with her straight forward personality. “I hope to keep my business as long as I can,” she said. “I don’t have any big dreams about expanding my business -- I just want to keep peacefully doing my favorite thing.”
I got the impression that she did not have any wider ambitions like contributing to the local area, but she clearly wants to integrate into the small society, live quietly and welcome old folks to her shop. “I’m sure seniors here have not even tried these kinds of sweets before,” Wako said. “I want to hear, ‘oh, this is so good!’ from them.”
Pouta means “sunny day” in Finnish. Wako likes Finnish words, which sound very cute to her. After reviewing many words, she decided that the name Pouta would be a perfect fit. Now, you can enjoy baked sweets from Pouta, close to nature on a sunny day.
24 Miyagi, Ogimi Village, Okinawa
Hours: 11:00–until sold out
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Noriya Fukuda