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Fluffy and Sweet♪ Bite-Sized Castella from Shuri’s [Eichin]
post : 2020.02.20 07:00
These charming, round Castellas may be the next Okinawan hit following the Chinsuko and Sata Andagi. Castellas are Japanese sponge cakes, and these bite-sized Castellas by Eichin, situated in a residential area in the Shuri neighborhood, have been steadily getting more and more attention among the locals.
They’re popular with people of all ages because of the light texture and simple but delightful taste. Kinjo-san and his wife run the shop, and they explained, “Because they’re simple, we’re very particular about the ingredients to make them.
The Castella balls are baked fresh every day, before they open the shop for business. The ingredients include flour from Hokkaido, odorless and light Mokusu eggs from Amuro poultry farm which has a deeply enjoyable taste, cane sugar which has a delightful scent and flavor and is rich in minerals, and also Taihaku sesame oil which suppresses oxidative degradation.
They offer various kinds of Castellas, like Plain, Chocolate Chip, Brown Sugar Powder made with brown sugar from Hateruma Island, Beni Imo purple potatoes, Kinako with Toganzuke with Kinako soy bean powder and the marinated winter melons or Toganzuke by Jahana Kippan, Toganzuke Lemon which has lemon-chocolate coatings, and Cinnamon Apple which is a limited seasonal selection.
These bite-sized, fluffy Castellas has a gentle taste from the eggs, and is a heartwarming enjoyment that seems to spread throughout your body and mind.
Enshrined at the four temples in Shuri are the twelve Chinese zodiacs, and in Okinawa where its people have nurtured their own distinctive religion and beliefs, some locals go on Shuri Jyunishi Meguri, or pilgrim of the zodiacs in Shuri. The Kinjos created these bite-sized Castellas with their hopes that they will be “a good accompaniment for the people on their pilgrims to the temples.”
The crispy-textured Kokuto Karinto is also very popular at the shop. Because they can be enjoyed with coffee, tea, green tea, milk…and all sorts of other beverages, they’re popular with a wide range of people.
The Castellas at Eichin are reasonably priced, at ¥160 to ¥310 for a bag of six, and Kinjo-san says with a smile, “Even elementary school kids drop by on their way home from school to pick up a snack.”
The shop is in an old residence which was built around 65 years ago, that Kinjo-san’s uncle and aunt used to live in.
The name of the shop, Eichin, is taken from Kinjo-san’s uncle and aunt. They took one Japanese character from each of their names, Ei (prosperity) from the uncle and Chin (read as Tsubaki, meaning camellia) from the aunt. Kinjo-san adds, “And also because I love camellia flowers. I’m trying to grow them so that our customers can enjoy their beauty when they visit.” Next winter, maybe we’ll see their garden full of brilliant camellia flowers.
Address: 1-36 Shuri Gibo-cho, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 11:00 to 18:00
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Sachiko Tachi