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Savor meals made with fresh herbs at Ishigaki Island’s GARDEN PANA
post : 2017.10.25 07:00
Located up on the hill in the Sakieda area on Ishigaki Island, GARDEN PANA is a worthwhile stop in any drive along with the coast. “Pana” means flower in the Okinawan dialect, and as its name implies, this is a café and a store featuring many flowers and herbs grown in their own garden.
You can enjoy herbal dishes for lunch, as well as herbal teas and desserts at the café, then browse their original spices and crafts at the store. You are welcome to shop even if you don‘t eat or drink at café.
More than 50 varieties of herbs are produced by their gardners. Basil, mint, gettou (shell ginger), pipaachi peppers, lemon, rare goji berries and more are available. You can browse freely and get a good look at these plants. When available, the staff may even show you around.
The view and the fragrance of flowers, accompanied by a great view of Nagura Bay is very relaxing.
These vivid orange flowers are nasturtiums. Both the flowers and the mildly spicy leaves are edible.
Owner Mr. Toyama opened GARDEN PANA about 26 years ago because he wanted his creations to incorporate herbs that have been utilized locally since time immemorial. At that time, there were also no signature Ishigaki Island souvenirs available and herbs were not particularly sought after items by tourists.
About 6 years ago, Toyama decided to open a café at his own tile-roofed house so people can enjoy his plentiful herbs in comfort.
The Basil Bowl with lots of herbs is a popular item. Basil, mint, chojusou (“longevity”), local spinach and fennel are all fragrantly presented in the bowl. All are just-picked fresh from the garden. By adding each herb little by little to the ground meat, the unique flavors come through. The meat is seasoned with their original basil sauce.
Little veggie dishes of course contain plenty of herbs. Lunch comes with a drink so you can choose your favorite herbal tea from seven different kinds.
Fifteen items are available for lunch, such as pita bread with herbs, island veggie soup and Pana original cold noodles. Herbs are used in all items and flavors are unique. All look beautiful, are healthy and great for beautiful skin.
Fresh herbal tea is a good item for tea break. Fresh picked herbs are infused in a pot before serving.
Once you take a sip, you can tell the fresh and aromatic difference from store-bought dried teas. This tea very enjoyable when taken with freshly baked rosemary biscotti. The flower pedals are from edible koushin roses, which blooms in the winter.
At a store located next to the café, original items, such as soaps from La Cucina and other selected items are available. Sometimes, La Cucina, the sister shop on the Okinawa’s main island uses PANA’s herbal oils to make soaps.
Lemon, herbs and dried peppers from the garden are available by the gram. You may want to buy small amount to take home for your own tea or cooking.
Here are some of their original flavored oils, mixed herbs and blended herbal tea. Only freshly picked herbs are used for the herb oil.
PANA de Marche, a tiny market event, held once a month, features soap-making workshops, yoga lessons and more. Please check the schedule on Facebook.
Kabira Bay, one of the most beautiful spots on Ishigaki Island is just five minutes away. Please stop by this unique store and cafe as you are driving around the island.
Cold herbal tea and Mojitos (non alcoholic) with mint can be taken out. These are great items for the road.
Address: 239-14 Sakieda, Ishigaki City, Okinawa
Hours: 9:00-17:00; lunch 11:30-sold out
Closed: Wednesday (no closed days in July, August and September)
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