The Sakura have begin to bloom as the pitter patter of springs foot steps draw closer in Okinawa.
Recently in Uruma City, I found a restaurant pink as Sakura in Ishikawa Akebono.
The store is a refurbished house from the foreign residential district,
and even the restaurant’s name “Ohana Diner” was inspired by it’s foreign roots.
The exterior wall, door, sign and pink coloured building give the appearance
of a sakura bud blooming in the residential district.
The inside is decorated with a light pink theme,
reminiscent of cherry blossoms and Cosmos. It’s as if spring has come early,
filling customers with joy and excitement.
The pink themed interior and feminine decorations will make any young girls heart flutter.
“Everyone thinks I love pink…”
says the owner and food stylist Kumiko Yoshioka bashfully.
For years she worked in Tokyo as a food stylist, with the dream of opening a cafe someday in Okinawa.
When searching for a suitable building, she finally found this entirely pink building.
It was love at first sight for Miss Kumiko, who had always been interested in bright,
colourful work spaces, and decided to rent the building immediately.
Somewhere along the way while buying decorations
and plates for the restaurant she decided to match them with the restaurant theme,
and eventually became the beloved “pink restaurant” Ohana Diner it’s known as today.
“If I hadn’t found this building, I would never have come to Okinawa” says Kumiko. It seems like fate!
While studying abroad in university,
Kumiko was introduced to foods from all over Europe and America.
From her dorm mates colourful cooking, Kumiko began to experiment with colour and design in her cooking,
which lead to her future carrer in food design.
Dragon fruit, okinawan spinnach, red potatoe…
“Okinawa is filled with so many delicious, natural ingredients,
I’m just so happy to have access to such fresh items.”
It seems that Okinawa’s ingredients inspire much of Ms.Yoshioka’s work.
When she first opened there were several ingredients she had never worked with before,
and attended several Ryukyuu cooking classes to learn how to prepare them.
While she struggled day by day to design a menu using foreign ingredients,
she focused on Okinawa’s colourful fruits and vegetables to create her bright,
balanced menu “Karabara Food”.
The word “Karabara” stands for “colour balance”.
It’s the perfect menu for people who don’t have time to eat healthy in their daily lives.
This Colour Balance menu, filled with the natural flavour and colours of Okinawa,
are filled with Uruma City carrots, golden potato, passion fruits, and other local ingredients.
There are over 10 delicious side dishes such as pork cartilage sooki boiled in red wine,
cumin seasoned island carrot shirishiri,
and a variety of other colourful food that will set your moth watering.
For dessert, you can choose from their Tsuken carrot cake and pink dragon squash.
The deep, fruity sweet Tsuken carrot cake is dairy and white sugar free.
The slightly sweet taste is addicting, and it’s nearly impossible to only eat one!
The enzyme syrup made from fermented dragon fruits slathered on home
made carbonic-acide cut squash’s bright pink colour is refreshing to the eye and pallete.
That such a bright colour could be achieved with all natural ingredients is simply amazing.
Ohana Diner also sells a wonderful selection of colourful fresh baked cakes made from specialty carrots,
brown sugar, and red potatoes. These items are also made without any egg, dairy products,
or white sugar. Some say that the mineral rich Okinawan soil, salty sea breezes,
and warm sunny climate produce vegetables and fruits with an especially deep,
savory umami flavour. Ms. Yoshioka works tirelessly to show customers these true,
one of a kind Okinawa flavours.
We hope you’ll come and enjoy a luxurious lunch at Ohana Diner- don’t let the pink interior dissuade you,
men are welcome too! No matter when you visit, this restaurant will always be blooming in Ishikawa Akebono.
Location/ Ishikawa Akebono 1-2-17 Uruma City
Telephone / 098-989-5197
Buisness Hours/ Lunch 11:30 AM (last order 3:30 PM) Dinner only on Friday Nights from 5:30 (last order at 8:00 PM) ※Saturdays from 11:30 AM ~ (last order at 8:00 PM) open all day Closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays (rest days may be scheduled at last minute, please call to confirm)http://carabara.com