Until I moved to Okinawa, I had never tried quite a few things. One of them was burritos. At the age of five I swore off Mexican food after a bad experience at Carmelitas. By bad experience, I mean I found it icky and assumed all Mexican food was the same. I was misinformed.
Being vegan in Okinawa means you have to ask a lot of questions, and usually people don’t know what you’re saying. “Does this have milk?”
“Is this cooked in chicken stock?”
“Is that baked with egg wash?”
You pick up a few phrases and key words here and there, and I even have a translation card that describes veganism in Japanese. Sometimes though, things are lost in translation and you end up eating something entirely un-veg. So it is always a blessing to find a really wonderful, understanding local who speaks and reads English.
Before going to the Guacamole Burrito Truck, I messaged the Facebook page to ask about the ingredients and if they’d ever made a vegan burrito before. I asked about everything. Rice, tortillas and all. I got a message back saying they’d make sure the burrito wrappers were safe per the manufacturer. After I heard back, I was there the next day! The joy of finding a vegan friendly place, am I right? My husband and I picked up the burritos and met the owner/burrito guy Kentaro. What a nice guy! He had a vegetarian option already, which included sour cream. He was nice enough to ask me about veganism and I told him I’d send a lot of business his way from my fellow Okinawan vegans. I thanked him profusely and we left to go eat our burritos nearby at the organic store, where we picked up smoothies.
I was not expecting to have the best guacamole in my entire life from a food truck outside a convenience store. It was magical. The rice, the Pico de Gallo, even the burrito wrapping was flavorful and delicious. But that guacamole was something special. That guacamole put any other guacamole to shame, except maybe my own. 🙂
You know those frozen burritos that are popular among teenagers (and some adults, like my husband you see pictured here)? I have never been a fan of those. Because it’s the freshness that makes these burritos outstanding for me. Kentaro uses all fresh ingredients in his burritos. He makes his guacamole everyday. There are a few other places to get burritos on the island but I don’t bother with them. Ken makes them perfectly, so why would I go anywhere else?
Ken used to live in California, and the burritos he had there inspired the recipes he uses today. For all of you non-veg folks out there, he makes a few types of omnivorous burritos as well as quesadillas. He also has a few different drinks for sale. I recommend the mango juice, but he also has Orion beer which is made in northern Okinawa.
Since I was the first to ask him about the vegan burrito, he’s named me the “Pioneer of the vegan burrito”. Its a title I wear proudly. He revamped his menu recently, and the term “vegan” has finally made an appearance.
This is one of the places we will miss the most when we leave. We love Ken’s food and we appreciate how happy he is to see us every time we visit. I highly recommend you visit the Guacamole Burrito Truck when you’re in Okinawa. It’s worth the trip just to meet Ken. Make sure you get there early though, he always sells out fast because everyone loves his food! While you’re there, ask for a market to sign the truck! You can also pick up one of his signature “GUACAMOLE” t-shirts!
Location: 3-9, Chatan 1-Chōme
Chatan, Nakagami-Gun, Okinawa
Hours: (closed Monday/Tuesday)
Wednesday – Friday 4 PM to 9 PM
Weekends – 11:30 AM to 4 PM
Payment: USD and yen, no credit cards.
Language: Ken speaks English, Japanese, and Spanish very well. If you live in Okinawa he’s a great person to practice Spanish with!