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Pote de Ouro is the place for market people

By: KC

Date Posted: 2001-10-08

The shop I was looking for was located in a densely built area filled with small shops, on a street not far away from Kokusai Street in Naha City, close to a market called “Ichiba Hondori”. It is a small shop, and approaching the shop, one can hear cheerful calls to customers outside. The atmosphere around the shop is lively as people on the street come and go.

Cecilia Ideguchi is the owner of a Brazilian fast food shop “Pote de Ouro” in Naha City. She smiles like any Okinawan “obachan” (middle aged woman), and invites people passing by to enter the shop. She and her staff usually are busy cooking Brazialian-style fried pies stuffed with chicken, beef and other ingredients. The pies sell very cheap costing ¥150 yen each. They also sell Brazilian soft drinks (very good!), sweets and newspapers. While preparing their stuffed pies they always find time to say “hello” and “how is your life?” to people walking outside. “Pote de Ouro” is Portuguese meaning “the golden bowl.” Ideguchi says that she came up with the name because whe aspires to make the best tasting Brazilian food in Okinawa.

While I was waiting for an interview, she prepared for me a “feijoada” that consists of sausage, bacon and Okinawan “tebichi” (pig feet) in black bean sauce with white rice. Typically, this dish is cooked in Brazil only once a week, as meat dishes are traditionally not eaten daily. Although this is only her 2nd year of operating the shop, she seems to have adjusted completely in the market street community.

Cecilia is the 3rd generation immigrant from Okinawa. Her family is from Sao Paulo, but she has been living in Okinawa for two years and eight months. Until she settled her life firmly in Okinawa, she admits she made plenty of trials and errors, but her cheerful face does hot show even a hint of any bitter memories. She studied Japanese hard at the Ryukyu University for a year with other foreign students. She also experienced working in Gunma and Kanagawa Prefectures as a seasonal worker before opening her shop.

For a long time, she and her mother had a dream of opening a Brazilian food shop in Okinawa, and now Cecilia feels that she has fulfilled her dream, and is sharing the satisfaction and delight with her mother.

Although Brazilian food is not familiar to Okinawan people Cecilia is working hard to change the situation. She says that little by little she is seeing a turnaround as the number of customers who come to her shop regularly increases.

Now the shop is the one of the most popular in the market area and the stream of customers is almost ceaseless. Cecilia is decidedly up beat as she says, “We are steadily increasing our number of repeat customers. Every day many locals and mainland tourists come to buy our pies. We also have many customers who are born in Brazil and now live in Okinawa who come for a little taste of home.”

While interviewing Cecilia, a couple of artists stepped in, ate one Chicken pie after another with broad smiles on their faces, seemingly having a great time enjoying the meal. And that’s exactly what Cecilia and her staff say they are aiming for.

How to get there: As there’s no parking close to the shop, park at any pay parking lot close to Okinawa Mitsukoshi Department Store. Then walk through Heiwa Dori shopping area. Pote de Oro is located on the Ichiba Chuou Hondori that runs parallel to Kokusai Street. Their phone number is 098-861-5567.

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