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Enjoy a Pasta Lunch at Camecame Kitchen; Casual Dining with Okinawa’s Local Vegetables.
post : 2019.09.14 06:00
There are many occasions and times when I think to myself, “I’m so glad to be living in Okinawa!” I happiness particularly when I come across delicious and energy-packed “shima” vegetables. “Shima” literally translates as “island” and Shima-vegetables are just that, veggies grown on the island under the bright tropical sun.
When I first moved to Okinawa, every time I found vegetables that I’d never seen in mainland Japan, I was super excited. I would buy these “rare” vegetables and take them home and enjoyed cooking with my newly found ingredients. For example, with the goya, or bitter melons, I started with the more familiar Goya Champuru, a stir-fry dish. Every day, I was trying out new things, making my own arrangements and created new recipes.
If you enjoy cooking, or if you’re interested in tasting creative, delicous dishes made with fresh ingredients you’re not familiar with, then I would recommend you pay a visit to Camecame Kitchen (pronounced ka-meh ka-meh) on the second floor of the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum in Naha.
They offer five varieties of daily pastas and risottos that change seasonally, and are very popular lunch choices. The daily pasta or risotto comes with salad, baguette, soup and beverage, all of which are all-you-can-eat and drink, for 1,280 yen (1,000 yen for elementary school children). Their “pasta lunch with seasonal shima vegetables” are a great deal and very satisfying.
At Camecame Kitchen, they place importance on fresh, seasonal vegetables. In the summer, they offer pastas and risottos using Goya and Moui (Okinawan yellow cucumber) and others, and in the autumn and winter seasons, they’re prepared with seasonal veggies like eggplants, Madeira vine (locally known as Unnan Hyakuyaku), Beni-imo purple potatoes and more.
This dish shown above and below is their “tomato pasta with various seasonal vegetables and parmigiano cheese” which is made with lots of summer vegetables. It’s a filling pasta dish with large cuts of goya, hechima sponge gourd, okura, edamame, and Okinawan kintoki-so spinach, known as handama. The lightness of the tomato-based sauce combined with the generous sprinkles of parmesan cheese is a perfect match, and is very delicious.
Many are very familiar with goya in their goya champuru, and hechima in their miso-simmered dishes, which are favorites in Okinawan home-cooking, but at Camecame Kitchen, they offer dishes using shima vegetables that even the locals are delightfully surprised with. They have a wide array of unique menu items, and many of their local customers say, “I never thought about preparing these vegetables this way! I’m going to try this at home!”
The “pork-tamago onigiri” or rice balls with thick cuts of pork luncheon meat and egg are what many Okinawans consider to be a local “soul food.” At Camacame Kitchen, they offer it with a new and interesting twist; the Pork-Tamago Dogs, which are like the rice balls but in a hot dog bun instead.
Available for purchase at the café are tote bags and T-shirts with original designs by Ikeshiro-san, as well as spoons and forks with the yellow and red colorings that you often see on chopsticks (known as Umeshi) in Okinawa.
Surprisingly little known is that parking at Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum (often referred to as Okimu) is offered for free! You can relax and thoroughly enjoy yourself without a worry about parking. So for your next day off, how about immersing yourself in the wonderful world of history and art at the museum and art museum, then treating yourself to a delicious and healthy lunch at the museum cafe?
Camecame Kitchen (Museum Café)
Address: 3-1-1 Omoromachi, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 (To 20:00 on Fridays & Saturdays)
*Lunch from 11:00 to 15:00
(If Monday falls on a holiday or in lieu of a holiday, the following weekday will be closed.)
*Closed according to the closing days of the Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum.
*Prices in the article are current as of June 2019.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi