Authentic taste key to Philippine restaurant

The owner and staff at Kabayan Restaurant has been working for a half-dozen years perfecting the introduction of Philippine native cuisine to Okinawa, enthusiastically cranking out a variety of meats, fishes, vegetables and noodles.

Kabayan Restaurant is a labor of love for the owner, Arlene Oshiro, who moved here 19 years ago to start the restaurant because she, like most Filipinas, loves to cook and because she wanted to introduce real, homemade Philippines food to Okinawa. And besides being delicious, it also economical; most dishes in the restaurant are priced between ¥550 and ¥750 for a set that includes rice.

She considers Pancit Bihon, with pork and a variety of vegetables and noodles as one of her most popular dishes, along with Kare-Kare, a flavorful pork leg and vegetables in peanut sauce. Lumpia Shanghai, the traditional Philippines spring roll, is also a customer favorite. As a special, Kabayan is offering Crispy Pata, a fried whole pork leg, for ¥2,500, but only upon request.

One of the most fun aspects of running the restaurant, says Oshiro, is helping new customers get over hesitation about eating the Asian cuisine, and watching them “really get into it once they try.” She invites her repeat customers to bring along guests for a first experience in the Philippines cuisine.

Kabayan is located close to Kadena Air Base, and is open 11 a.m. ~ 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with last orders at 8:30 p.m. There’s an English menu and Kabayan accepts U.S. dollars and Japanese yen, cash only. To visit, from Gate 2 at Kadena take a left at the third traffic light, and right at the next light after the turn. Kabayan will be on your right on the second floor of a red brick building on the right across the street from a parking tower. There are three free parking spaces at the restaurant.

Take out is available by calling 098-929-3245, or 090-7451-5180.