Vegan Monster Cookies

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My mom makes the BEST monster cookies. I decided to do my best to recreate her cookies vegan style, and I think I did a pretty bang-up job of it. Sadly vegan M&M’s don’t exist yet but when they do, I’ll be adding them to the recipe!

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1/4 cup organic white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 flax egg (1TBS flax meal mixed with 3 TBS water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees and grease a baking sheet.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars. Add in the peanut butter, flax egg, and vanilla and mix. Scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl and add the baking soda and then add in the flour 1/4 cup at a time, mix in the baking soda and flour. Using your spatula to mix in the quick oats and chocolate chips.

Rolls balls of dough about the size of a golfball onto prepared baking sheet. Flatten each ball with a fork or spatula.

Bake them for 13 minutes, or until the edges are browned and crisp.

Enjoy!

Vegan Thai green curry

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You ever cook something and think “wow, this is terrible!” And consider never cooking again? Alternatively, have you ever made something in the kitchen and said to yourself “wow, I am awesome!” ? Well, both of those things happened to me this week.

This week I attempted to make vegan pho, the same kind Kiwa from Dechibica makes. It didn’t go well. I had to throw the whole thing away. I ended up eating one of those pre-packaged vegan soups by Dr. McDougall. Don’t get me wrong, I like those. But I prefer a home cooked meal. I’ve never had a dish that I love more than Kiwa’s pho. So when I tried to recreate it and failed miserably, I almost thought I’d quit cooking. Then I decided I needed a good dish. Just one good dish. If I could make up a dish from scratch using what I know, I could continue cooking.

So that’s when I decided to use a little jar of green curry, combine it with what I know about making curry, add some rice noodles and create something I would be proud of. And you know what? It worked! When I asked my husband to rate it out of 1-10, he gave it a 10.5.

It’s easy to make, it’s insanely delicious, and it’s perfect for a cold winters night.

Ingredients
2 Tbs green curry paste
1 can coconut milk (top cream part only, not the water)
1 & 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 sliced white or yellow onion
1 & 1/2 Tbs coconut oil 3 cups veggie broth
5 kafir lime leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce

8 oz rice noodles or rice, for serving

Instructions
In a large pot, sauté the onions in the coconut oil for about two minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms, sauté for two more minutes. Add the curry paste and sauté for a minute, then add the two cups of veggie broth and the kafir lime leaves. Bring soup to a simmer. Once it’s fragrant and the lime leaves have released their flavors, remove them and discard. Add the coconut milk and soy sauce, then bring to a simmer and let it cook for about five minutes. Remove from the heat and serve with rice noodles or rice. You can do a different kind of noodles if you want, sometimes I use somebody noodles instead of rice noodles. You could also add some carrots, spinach, or bok choy. It’s easy to make it your own.   I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! 🙂

Farewell to Okinawa

So, we left Okinawa two months ago. I’ve been wanting to write about my journey but it’s been really hectic here! We just got our household goods, and have officially moved off of the air mattress. Praise The Lord. However, our stuff being here further affirmed that we officially are no longer residents of Japan. We had to say a few very hard goodbyes. While living in Okinawa I became a babysitter and a food blogger. Both of these activities came with the joy of meeting wonderful people, who I had to say goodbye to. One of them was Ito, owner of the delicious vegan cafe I’ve written about before, Cafe Sprout. Before I left she gave me this hand painted bag and a hand written card. I had so many wonderful conversations with Ito, who is a funny, surfing, well traveled, cat loving, awesome vegan chef who I will always cherish my times with. The bag she have me will remind me of her and her adorable cucumber-eating cat, Moana.

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I want to post about our last night in Okinawa, because it was an incredibly special night full of vegan food, vegan (and non vegan) friends, and lots of tears. I partly haven’t wanted to write this because I’ve been in an eight week long daze thinking I’ll suddenly wake up and be back in my house in Japan. But alas, all good things come to an end. And Okinawa ended on a beautiful, bittersweet note at my favorite place in the world- Dechibica.

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As you know if you’ve become familiar with me, dechibica is my home away from home. I went there at least once a week, I spent my birthday there, shared tales of the incredible food and even more incredible owners with every person I know, and shared photos on Instagram of them constantly accompanied with many hashtags. So naturally, what better place to have our farewell party?

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I approached the owners, Kiwa and Taku, about the idea and they were gracious enough to accommodate us and 10 of our friends. They offered to have a buffet style dinner with all of our favorites, plus a few special extras they threw in! There was of course taco rice, Singapore fried tofu, and vegan pho. A full drink bar with so many juices, teas, and coffee with soy milk.

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Shizuka, who works at dechibica, went to our going away party and made us a raw vegan mango cheesecake for dessert. I love Shizuka’s food, her raw desserts are always delicious. She always said hello to me every time I came to Dechibica, and I was so happy she was there to say goodbye to us.

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There was also tofu cocoa cake, which Kiwa gave me the recipe for (yay!). I love her tofu cocoa cake, it was a staple for me every time I ordered an iced coffee there. I plan to make it at home soon, along with Kiwa’s vegan pho.

I was so grateful to our friends for being there. We had such a wonderful time with lots of laughs, I couldn’t have asked for a more special evening.

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One person was especially difficult to say goodbye to. My vegan partner, my favorite blogger, my yoga inspiration and the woman who’s photos will always far surpass mine, Carola. Carola and I went vegan together. She was with me through my husbands deployment. She is so dear to my heart, she inspires me, makes me laugh, encourages me, sends me grumpy cat memes through IMessage, and I miss her every day. I’m thankful to have been able to share my time with her in Okinawa.

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Finally, sadly, it was time to say goodbye to Kiwa and her husband Taku. It was very difficult. For many months I had spent hours and hours with them, talking and laughing and sharing food. I never expected to have such a close relationship with Kiwa, but she became one of my very best friends in Okinawa. I appreciate her friendship, her talent for cooking, and her generosity. I was blessed to have her in my life in Okinawa. I am forever grateful. So thank you Kiwa for your kindness, all of the mango lassis and taco rice, sharing recipes, vegan donuts, the hugs. And thank you for hosting such a beautiful goodbye party. I can’t express to you how thankful Carlos and I are to you and every one at Dechibica. We miss you every day.

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So, my time in Okinawa is over. But I have many adventures to come. I plan to get back in the swing of blogging frequently throughout the week. Getting the “Weekly wishes” going again (although don’t be surprised if my wish is to go back to Dechibica). I will always remember the experiences and people and food in Okinawa. All of which have made me who I am today.

Forever grateful.

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Vegan Oktoberfest 2014

Hi there. It’s been a while. I wrote an apology, but it’s at the bottom of the post. Let’s get down to business and talk about something incredible I just experienced – Vegan Oktoberfest in Los Angeles.

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We found out last minute about this event. We went online and bought two tickets, and suddenly we had made a plan to drive seven hours to Santa Monica to attend. Turns out my sister had to be at a conference for work in SoCal, and was able to meet us there!

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We got into Santa Monica around 12:30. We were able to park fairly close to the event. We were able to walk to the beach, check out the area for a few minutes and then line up. We stood in line for about ten minutes and the event opened promptly at 1 PM. We showed our name tags, got our wrist bands and mini beer mugs, and headed straight for the Dogtown Dog food truck (website here).

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We ordered the California dog. It was the best frickin hot dog I’ve ever had, vegan or not. My husband wanted to go back and make sure it was vegan, that’s how convinced we were.

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There were so many types of beer, but my husbands favorites were the hemp brown ale from Venica Duck Brewery and the coconut amber ale from Four Sons Brewing.

I’m not a beer person, but luckily for me there was a company handing out free energy drinks!

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Marquis Beverages makes three energy drinks that are organic, calorie free and sugar free. They’re made with organic stevia. We tried all three kinds: Citrus, mango ginger, and super berry. My favorite was the super berry, and my husband liked the mango ginger. It was awesome to find an energy drink with ingredients I actually recognized. We are considering ordering cases of the mango ginger to transition my husband away from monster. You can read more about Marquis by clicking here.

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We got a little hungry after a while so decided to snack on some ice cream by Divine Dips. They’re a dairy-free ice cream food truck with some delicious flavors.

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We ordered the mint chocolate chip, key lime pie, and the cafe no-lait. All three were magical. Great texture, phenomenal flavors. I was so impressed! I wish they sold their products at whole foods in Sacramento! You can read more about Divine Dips by clicking here.

One booth at the event was run by Sparky Firepants, they were selling tshirts that also offered printing, you could have “vegan Oktoberfest 2014” stamped on your own shirt for 5$ or buy one of the shirts available for 20$ and have that stamped. My husband picked up a “tofu strong man” shirt. You can visit their website by clicking here. I was sporting my shirt from The Tree Kisser, which you can find more info about by clicking here.

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After a while of my husband beer testing, me people watching, and us both walking around we noticed the food lines were getting crazy so we separated and got in line to pick up different kinds of food before my sister met us there. My husband went to go get more food from Dogtown Dogs, while I got in line at Sage. I ordered the “fish” and chips, a pretzel, a German chocolate cupcake, apple fritters, and a lemonade. All of which were spectacular, especially the pretzel. Later my sister ordered some of their chocolate ice cream, which was marvelous. You can check out Sage’s website by clicking here.

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I wanted to buy some cheese from Nary Dary after sampling their spreads at the event, but completely forgot to go back to their booth. I was getting exhausted and very sunburnt towards the end. Next time I come across their product, I’m buying it. Best cashew cheese on the planet. You can read more about them by clicking here.

After that huge feast, my sister picked up some Black Forest cookies from life is sweet bake shop. Normally I don’t love Black Forest cookies but these were delicious! You can check out Life Is Sweet by clicking here.

Part of the proceeds from Vegan Oktoberfest went to Expand Animal Rights Now, an organization dedicated to using the legal system to help and get justice for animals. I visited their booth and bought a tshirt. I plan on looking into how I can volunteer with them while I’m living in California. You can visit their website and learn more about them by clicking here.

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I didn’t get a chance to try all of the vendors there this year. I particularly wanted to try the grilled cheese truck, but I didn’t have time or any room left in my stomach.

All in all, an awesome event. I hope to go again next year. A big shout out to all of the vendors, volunteers and to the people who put this together. I had a fabulous time, as did my husband and sister. The beers were incredible, the food was delicious, and the experience was unforgettable. See you at Vegan Oktoberfest 2015.

Before I go I have to say, I’m sorry for not posting these past few weeks. The past six weeks have been insane. We left Okinawa, visited home in Florida, and then drove a total of 48 hours from Florida to Northern California. It’s been crazy. I’ll write all about it soon, I have lots of restaurants to tell you guys about and pictures to share. So stay tuned for a Vegan Roadtrip post, a post about our super vegan friendly going away party at dechibica, and a post about me eating vegan while I was home! Some amazing food has been eaten in the past six weeks by me, and I have had some incredible experiences I’ll never forget. I’m excited to share them with you.

Thanks for reading!

Being Vegan in Okinawa – Where to Eat

I have bad news. This is my last post on “how to be vegan in Okinawa”. We are leaving this island in two weeks. I am sad to go, because I love it here so much. But I’m excited for what adventures lie ahead. Both for my life and for my blog. I will miss running around trying to find vegan food, taking a million pictures, and telling you guys (whoever you are, I know I have readers but I only have spoken to maybe 7 of you) all about the food I’ve found and the adventures I’ve had. This blog has become so much more than I planned on, and I’m so thankful for it.

So recently I posted about where I shop as a vegan in okinawa. Today I want to talk about where to eat. Is it possible to be vegan in Okinawa, Japan? Absolutely! It’s more than possible. Check out the Facebook group for vegans and vegetarians on island. There are places to shop for your own vegan food (read about it here) or you can grab some vegan grub in many places all over the island.

In the past few years in Okinawa many vegan/vegetarian places closed. Vegan junk deli casbah, warahondo, Heart of Earth, ital corner, Noah style, Salon Cuttho, Goocuru, Herb/Gilead, vegi cafe shanti, love vegi cafe, Granma’s vegan cafe, wine and veggie macro. I had the pleasure of trying out three of them and they were awesome places. I spoke to the owner of cafe sprout and she doesn’t understand why there has been so many closings of vegan/vegetarian places. Thankfully there are places you can still get your hands on some vegan grub. In fact, there’s tons of places! Some of them even I’ve never been to!

Keep in mind – Many of these places are not strictly vegan, but have vegan options. Never be afraid to go to an omnivorous restaurant and ask about vegan options.

Places I’ve been.

1. Dechibica.

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Obviously it’s my favorite place, I talk about it all of the time. They have curry, taco rice, seasonal vegan pho, bibimbap set, and vegan desserts. Read about it here.

2. Cafe Sprout.

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Seriously delicious vegan food in Ginowan. Veggie plates, curry plates, veggie burgers, and vegan desserts including ice cream. The owner is awesome and loves to talk to customers, and has the coolest adopted cat I’ve ever met. Read about it here.

3. Bakery and cafe coo.

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I haven’t shared this one with my friends yet because I wanted to take them with me to check it out, but I’m down to my last few weeks on the island so I don’t know if I’ll have time. So I’m posting the info and hoping you all will check it out, because this place is fabulous! They have a wide variety of vegan baked goods for sale (I even saw cinnamon rolls once) and they have the best home made veggie burger I’ve ever eaten. It was weirdly similar in taste to a turkey burger. The owner that I spoke to was very nice and was vegan himself. I had a lovely time here and hope to go back once more before I leave. Find their website in English here.

4. Guacamole burrito truck.

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You may already know (because I’ve said it so many times) Kentaro the burrito guy named me pioneer of the vegan burrito at this place. Check out my post on it here. And if you’re in okinawa, be sure to pick up some of his fresh vegan burritos!

5. Bakery Suien.

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This place is as close as you’ll get to Panera Bread in Okinawa. I highly recommend it. They made the best veggie sandwich I’ve ever had, and their tofu “cheese” is delicious. I recommend trying the elderberry soda with your meal! Read more by clicking here.

6. Ploughmans lunch bakery.

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HOLY CRAP this place is fabulous. A bakery as well as cafe, everyone orders the same plate with a drink. You can order yours vegan style, they speak English and will know to make yours without animal products. The plate is either a veggie plate (topped with a small amount of meat usually, for the omnivores) or veggie sandwich and normally comes with soup, a drink, and a basket of fresh bread. You can also purchase their breads to go. I highly recommend eating here. You can find out more information by clicking here.

7. Cafe Niffera.

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This place is owned by my sweet friend Naoko. At the hotel she runs is a breakfast cafe that is sure to sweep you off of your feet. With something for vegans and vegetarians as well, it’s perfect to stop in here for a breakfast before shopping the tsuboya pottery village. Check out my post on it here.

8. Soi cafe.

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A curry place in Tsuboya pottery village. This place is so cute and the food is fresh and delicious. They only have one vegan option – vegan curry. But sometimes they have vegan desserts like cookies and once in a while they make vegan donuts. You can find their Facebook page here.

9. Sushi.

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There is tons of it on the island, even for vegans! Check out my post about the different places to grab some vegan sushi by clicking here.

10. Daikon No Hana.

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A buffet with multiple locations in Okinawa. They have fresh local produce, and lots of tofu dishes. There’s an ingredient card next to each dish explaining if it contains meat, dairy, or eggs. Read more about it here.

11. Sunabe gyros.

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My husband is obsessed with this place. They make a falafel gyro with hummus, lettuce, and tomato (make sure you order it without tzatziki sauce). They also have a pita and hummus plate, as well as vegetable soup. Read more about it here.

12. Plenty of Joy. (UPDATE- closed as of March 2015)20140809-213040-77440943.jpg

A small sandwich and smoothie shop in Naha, right off of kokusai street. They make house made soy mayo and slather it on some super fresh sandwiches. Plus, their smoothies are swoon worthy. Check out my post on POJ here.

13. Cactus eatrip.

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A cafe near foster with a menu centered on delicious home made bagels. The majority of their bagels are vegan, and their hummus is to die for. They also have a great drink menu including Oreo smoothies and they do have soymilk for your coffee. One of my favorite places. I recommend checking it out. More info can be found here.

14. Jai Thai.

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Jai thai is a thai food restaurant in American village that has an entire menu page dedicated to vegan fair. Beware of the curries though, they contain shrimp paste. They’re veggie pad thai is delicious, as is their fried tofu. More info can be found here.

15. Bollywood Dreams.

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An Indian curry restaurant in American village that has multiple types of veggie curry. Vegan naan bread is available but must be requested 24 hours in advance. Their pumpkin curry is my favorite thing on the menu. More info can be found here.

16. Vita smoothie.

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Smoothie and bagel shop in Naha near kokusai street. They have a list of options for smoothies so you can pick and choose what you’d prefer in your smoothie. They will make you a bagel with veggies and basil sauce if you ask them to. Their menu now has an English version. More info can be found here.

17. Ukishima garden.

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Vegan restaurant in Naha near kokusai street. They have a great menu! I’ve had their seafood “roe” pasta, their taco rice pizza, the caprese salad and their Salisbury steak. Everything here is delicious, and I highly recommend going. We save this place for special occasion date nights because it’s very cute and romantic at night. Read more info here.

18. Woodys international.

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A burger place near tomigusuku. The owner, Cody, is an American and happy to make you vegan fare! I’ve had the veggie wrap, salads, and pasta here- all are delicious and fresh! He does make a delicious vegan burger as well.If you would like a veggie burger, give him 24 hours advance notice. Read Carola’s post about Woodys and get more info by clicking here.

19. Pizzakaya Okinawa.

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This pizza place has some options for vegans. It’s owned by Americans and they are familiar with veganism, so much so that they’ve actually made a “vegan cheese” for their veg customers. Salads, pizza, and roasted veggies are all available for vegans. I recommend the wild mushroom pizza with vegan cheese and add guacamole. More info can be found here.

20. C&C breakfast Okinawa.

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A breakfast cafe in Naha with a few options for vegans. Read Carola’s post on it here.

21. Hearth Cafe.

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A cafe by the sea wall that is willing to work with you to make you vegan food. They’ve made us veggie sandwiches and veggie rice bowls. They’re very generous with their avocado, which is a huge deal for me! More on this place here.

22. Dosha.

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A vegan curry shop not far from kadena. She has healthy curries, vegan pudding, and I’ve heard she sells vegan muffins. Her curry is excellent, I highly recommend it. Find their Facebook page with their address listed here.

23. Istanbul Kebab House.

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A Turkish restaurant in Sunabe that has vegan curry available upon request. Also try their hummus while you’re there! More info available here.

24. L’Orange Patisserie.

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My favorite bakery. Thankfully it’s not too close to my house or I’d be there every day. It’s in Ginowan near foster, so if you’re in that area you are about to eat your weight in delicious muffins. The owner/baker Michiyo has freshly baked vegan muffins and cookies. A great option for those who are craving something sweet, but also fresh and not loaded with chemicals and preservatives. Read my post about this bakery here.

25. Starbucks Coffee.

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This may seem like a dumb thing to add to the list, but Starbucks locations are all over Okinawa and every one I’ve been to carries soymilk. Sometimes they also have fresh fruit salad if you need a snack on the go.

26. Poka Poka
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A raw food smoothie bar in Naha. Their smoothies are packed with nutrition and superfoods. Beware- these are not your typical Jamba Juice. Some of their smoothies contain Goya, which is not for the faint of heart. This place can be hard to find, and I don’t have directions. Find yourself a friend to help navigate! Their website:
here.

27. Tamie’s Kitchen

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A new vegetarian/vegan place opening 9/1/2014 in American village. They had a pre-opening gathering outside the restaurant where they sold soft serve ice cream and sandwiches. The ice cream was delicious! I am so sad I won’t be here when they officially open, but if you’re in Okinawa you should absolutely check them out. Check out their Facebook page by clicking here.

Places I have not been. (Click on the names to view more info).
These are not omnivorous restaurants with veg options, they are strictly vegetarian/vegan.

1. Cafe Ionca

2. Biosmile Cafe

3. Canaan Slow Farm

4. Kintsubo Shokudo

5. Cafe Kokuu

6. One Life Cafe

7. Munakata-do Bakery

I’ve also gotten word of vegan options being available by request at the omnivore restaurants Deans Kitchen, Borrachos, El Patio, Cinnamon Cafe, Coffee Casa, Mofgomona. I don’t have much details other than word of mouth from fellow adventurous vegans mentioning that they have been able to find vegan fare here after explaining what veganism is, showing their diet card (pictured below), and relying on the kindness of the employees to whip up something for them. Great places to check out if you’re in a pinch.

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There’s more, I’m sure. But I don’t know them all. I could drive all over this island and back and still not have found all of the vegan food. Try these places out, but don’t be afraid to explore the island and ask about vegan options. It helps to carry along the following card, either save it to your smart phone or print it out. It will help you out when you find yourself in a translation struggle and you’re really in need of some vegan food. It also helps to learn the words for meat, milk, eggs, etc.

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Thank you for reading! If you’re new to Okinawa and looking for vegan eats, welcome to the island and I hope this post helps you. I feel privileged to have started my vegan journey here, and to have had the opportunity to try so many different kinds of vegan food and meet new friends. I hope your experience is just as wonderful. Enjoy!

Rachel

Breakfast Cafe Niffera – Okinawa

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I love butterflies. I actually have a rather large one tattooed on me. Here in Okinawa I’ve been to two places where butterflies roam freely and you can interact with them. It’s really beautiful. Last year for my birthday my husband took me to the butterfly garden up north. It was gorgeous, and the butterflies fly all over you. But by far the best place to interact with butterflies in Okinawa is Cafe Niffera in the Tsuboya pottery district part of Naha. Because not only are there butterflies, there’s food. Amazing, nutritious, beautiful food.

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Breakfast Cafe Niffera is run by Naoko Takakura, a vegan who is one of the loveliest people I have ever met. She runs the hotel Tsuboya Garden House, to which the breakfast cafe is attached.

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Naoko has a great menu at the cafe with vegetarian and vegan dishes. Acai bowls, Eggs Benedict, and a vegan plate are some of your food options. She also has kombucha, smoothies, and the best cup of water you’ll ever drink in your life. It’s blue! I tried the vegan plate and the green smoothie, and was not disappointed at all. It was the best plate of breakfast I’ve had in a while!

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Avocado, potatoes, tofu, bean salad, sweet potato, greens, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast, hummus, and green beans. It was so fresh and delicious! I highly recommend her food. Cafe Niffera is the perfect place to stop for breakfast while in the Tsuboya pottery district. I’m planning on going soon while I’m in the area to pick up some pottery for my mom!

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Outside the cafe Naoko has a table set up just for the caterpillars. You can see tons of them climbing all over, and lots of cocoons. In the garden the butterflies fly all over! It’s so beautiful!

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I recommend checking out Cafe Niffera and trying her breakfast food. If it’s sunny, sit in the garden and be surrounded by butterflies! Naoko will tell you all about them, she is so nice! After we ate at her breakfast cafe she showed Carola and I many places with vegan options around Naha, cute little shops on Kokusai street, and took us to a festival where we tried lots of great vegan food. She was a wonderful tour guide!

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Breakfast Cafe Niffera in Tsuboya Garden House info
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday; open 8 AM, last order 10 AM.
Phone:098-863-8636
TGH Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/tsuboya.garden.house
Website: http://niffera.ti-da.net
Or http://tsuboya-garden.com/

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Vegan fried fish & mango avocado salsa

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Lately I’ve been using a lot of nori. I love nori. Nori is the reason for that ocean-y taste of fish. So it’s perfect in imitating that same flavor without actually eating fish. And I know some people think tofu is gross, but if you treat it correctly it’s going to be your best friend. As a vegan self-taught home cook, I’m pretty well versed in the ways of tofu. I’ve used it to make scrambled “eggs”, vegan fish, nuggets, “turkey” thanksgiving roast, cheesecake, creamy soups, and more. Tofu is your friend. Don’t be grossed out by it, embrace the versatility!

Tofu fried “fish”
Feeds 2, but can be doubled easily
Ingredients
1/2 of a 14oz block of tofu, drained
Nori sheets

2 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable or any other mild oil

1/8 cup flour

1/4 cup soy milk

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions
Drain the water from the tofu package.
Sliced tofu width wise into 1/2 inch slices. Since I make this for two people I make four or five slices and save the other half of the tofu block in the fridge for another recipe (usually tofu scramble). Press the slices of tofu between two clean towels with something very heavy on top, such as multiple cookbooks or a large glass casserole dish. Press for at least 30 minutes, or as long as four hours.

Cut the nori sheets into strips to fit one side of each tofu strip and press until the nori sticks to the strips. You don’t need to have nori on both sides of the tofu. One is enough to get the fish effect.

Mix your seasonings/soy sauce/oil in a shallow bowl. It will turn into sort of a paste. Coat each tofu strip in about 1 teaspoon of the paste, then set the strips aside. There will be excess paste when you are finished. Add the 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk to the excess and mix.

Dust each strip with flour. You probably won’t use all of the 1/8 cup, and that’s fine. Just dust them, not fully cover them.

Dip strips in the paste/milk mixture, then coat them in panko (it’s easiest to have your panko in a bowl and make a factory line, so to speak. Dust with flour, milk marinade, panko). Make sure they are evenly coated.

Once all strips are coated, fry them in a pan with about 1/2 inch of oil on the bottom. Fry about three minutes on each side, until golden brown but do your best not to burn them. I always make my husband do the frying for me. I’m terrible at it.

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Serve these puppies up with vegan spicy tartar sauce and mango avocado salsa. Recipes below!

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Spicy tartar sauce
Makes about 1/4 cup
Ingredients
1/4 cup plain vegan mayo (or cashews that have soaked overnight and then been whipped up in a blender)
Juice and zest of 1/2 a large lemon
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder or girly minced white onion

Mango and avocado salsa
Makes about 1&1/4 cups
Ingredients
1/2 of a large ripe mango, diced
1 medium avocado, diced
5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
Juice and zest of half a lime or lemon

Voila! I serve all of this up together over some brown rice in a bowl for myself, while my husband prefers his taco-style. It’s good no matter how you do it. Try it out! And thanks for reading!