Okinawa Tourism Information:NaturalArtDish@KitchenJACARANDA(MiyakoIsland)

Natural Art Dish @ Kitchen JACARANDA (Miyako Island)

post : 2018.06.22 21:00

Chikako Kohara moved to Miyako Island nearly 20 years ago. She transforms vital seasonal vegetables on the island into vegan, vegee, or allergy-free dishes. She learned knowledge on vegetables by living on the island. A café where customers can enjoy the power of vegetables and herbs on Miyako Island, that’s “Kitchen JACARANDA.”

Orange, so-called vivid vitamin color is painted on the entrance. Also, you can see the sugarcane fields across from the café through the windows. It looks peaceful, doesn’t it? lol Orange is the color of sun, and also it reminds of red soil which is the color of land on Miyako Island!  

Front side of the café is filled with seats for customers, and open-style of kitchen is in the back. Many items selected by Chikako are lined up as well. Wait, did this man in the above photo stop by during his work break? (It is my guess) Such scene can be seen at Okinawa soba restaurants or Okinawan style of restaurants, so I took this photo automatically. It is obvious that Chikako’s homemade dishes fit into this island, don’t you think? 

By the way, this café opens only 3 times a week, and these are the recommended dishes at the café! Dishes include gluten-free pancakes made with buckwheat flour produced on Miyako Island, Okinawan vegetable dishes, and vegan sweets are also served here. 

Ingredients change depending on season and purchase of stock, and dishes on the menu also change by an inspiration of Chikako. For example, even the same ingredients of a dish transforms into a different type of dish the next week, or used as secret ingredients, so they can be changed as a kaleidoscope. And, these prepared vegetables on a tray are waiting for the moment to be served.

Let’s take a look at Chikako behind the counter of kitchen! She cooks efficiently, and it seems like vegetables await her to cook them.

“Hey, why don’t you sniff this? It smells like honey, doesn’t it?” Flowers in a small vase are called “Chinese knotweed,” and they grow naturally somewhere around this area. I sniffed the flowers, and I thought… it does! It smells like honey!

Fields, beaches, and farms. Many attractive ingredients are everywhere throughout the island. Colorful purple flower of vines at Higashi-hennazaki, organic vegetables that local farmers grow, valuable buckwheat flour produced on Miyako Island, exotic tropical fruits at the market, and wild grass along roadsides. Her job is to transform these ingredients into dishes at the kitchen. 

Chinese knotweed that was blooming until the same morning of the day was decorated on top of this galette, and its flower has a strong presence between bright fertilized boiled eggs and vivid dragon fruits. 

Take a look at this dish which seems like an artwork on a circular canvas. It does make you want to gaze from the above, doesn’t it? (People who cooked many times know how hard to decorated food in one plate, right?) What an eye-opening, energetic, and juicy dish it is! And now it’s time to try it. You might enjoy the nutritious and dynamic flavor of dish created by the power of nature and human being.

Whenever she has a free time she goes to her favorite beaches. Creatures that are inhabited on earth, inside the ocean, vegetables, plants, fish, coral. And of course, human beings. She always shows respect and appreciation to everything that has precious lives.

Probably that is why I find “modesty” through her dishes because they do not emphasize veganism or vegetarian much. 

By the way! Recently, Chikako has been focusing on making gluten-free pancakes with buckwheat flour which was grown on Miyako Island. Pancake of the day this time was pancake with honey and syrup with seasonal fresh roselle. Cheese cream made from Okinawan tofu was on top of it, and cacao nib and macadamia nuts are next to it.

She gets more ideas every time she makes pancakes, so a variety of pancakes from sweet type to light meal type are served weekly and monthly.

Chikako’s original processed products are perfect for souvenirs too! Products include “Pani Pani Pancake Mix” with organic buckwheat flour, “Granola with Buckwheat Seed and Brown Sugar,” and original spice mix called “Ryukyu Dukkah.” Assorted gift boxes with each product can be shipped to Mainland Japan.

Its name, “Pani Pani” means “energetic” in Miyako Island. When you eat food with energetic ingredients of Miyako Island, you might get energy from it. Also, you might get warm and energy when you drink Chai with herbs, shell ginger, and turmeric of Miyako Island.

Address: 1517-2 Hirara Shimozato, Miyakojima City
Tel: 090-1943-7941
Business Hours: 11:30-15:30
Business Days: Thu, Fri, and Sat
*Chikako accepts offers such as catering, sunset dinner cruise, and Okinawan vegetables cooking class. 

Okinawa CLIP photo writer Naoko Tsuruta