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Local bakery presents both familiar and original treats

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1999-08-27

The sight of mouth-watering cakes, pies and cream puffs can make many foreigners living in Japan homesick during their stay here. Although these desserts are more common in American and European bakeries than in Japan, the art of making confectioneries does have a small history here also. Through the years, Japanese bakeries have blended traditional ingredients, such as azuki beans and rice cakes, with baking styles from abroad to create original pastries and other treats that can satisfy anyone with a taste for sweets. Recently, one of Okinawa's most well-known bakery chains introduced their goodies for the first time to the American military.

On August 18, desserts made at Porsche Bakery went on sale at several on-base shopettes for the first time. The popular bakery chain has been satisfying local customers with their famous cream puffs and other confectionery delights for the past 20 years, and has also become very popular with mainland Japanese tourists. Manager Hideaki Satohira explained that he hopes Porsche's desserts will become a hit with Americans too. "There is a big difference between American and Japanese confectioneries,” said Satohira, "this is a good chance to try something that is original to Okinawa."

In appearance many Japanese cakes and other desserts may seem similar to those made in American bakeries, but a major difference between the two is in the amount of sugar used - on average Japanese cakes are much less sweeter, which also means fewer calories! Porsche concentrates on using many local products, such as the Yomitan sweet potato and pineapple to produce confectioneries that are also very unique. The bakery also prides itself on never using any artificial flavors or preservatives.

"We make everything from natural ingredients," explained president and founder of Porsche Bakery Kazuko Takushi. "We want to present the original taste as much as possible, so we do not use too much sugar or anything artificial." And that’s good news for the health conscious.

One of Porsche's most popular treats is their Beni-Imo Tart, which is made from a purple colored sweet potato. The colorful dessert tastes as delicious as it looks, and Porsche claims the tart is healthier than other confectionery delights because of its natural ingredients.

Takushi explained that the idea to open Porsche started when she realized the popularity of desserts with local customers while operating a restaurant she owned in Yomitan. "We first began with a small bakery inside the restaurant selling American doughnuts and pies," she recalled. "At that time there weren't many places in Okinawa that you could get sweets, so it was something special. They were delicious, and I remember thinking to myself that someday I wanted to open a bakery." Since then, Porsche has expanded its operation from a small bake shop in Yomitan to seven outlets located around Okinawa. It will also be opening a large bakery in Onna-son next year.

Newcomers to Porsche will find the bakery's delicious Creme Puffs and Tiramis taste more like an American or European style dessert, but there are also many other great tasting local items to choose from. "We want to introduce our original Okinawan desserts to American customers. Eventually, we hope people will try even more traditional Japanese sweets such as dango," said Satohira, the manager. (Dango is a sticky rice cake shaped into a ball and dipped into a sweet sauce.)

Give yourself a Japanese treat and look for Porsche's new display case at shopettes on Kadena, Foster, Torii Station, Schwab, Hansen, Kinser, and Futenma.

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