Last month when I visited my relatives in Itoman City. I had a dining adventure with them at Vegetarian Café Choukrane. I came across it online right before my trip, and ended up eating there two days in a row. Slightly over indulgent? Perhaps, but well worth it. So, yummylicious.
Located on a small street off the Itoman Rotary, Choukrane hardly takes up much space on the block , but it has an airy feel, and the decorative accents give it a comfy vibe. If it looks full when you go, be sure to check the makeshift patio in the back for extra seating. When I went the first time, my relatives and I took up 2/3 of the restaurant. (F.Y.I. - Reservations required for parties of 4 or more.)
Whenever I go to a vegan restaurant, there’s always one thing that’s on my mind. “Do they have chocolate cake?” I quickly flipped through the menu to the dessert page and there it was. Couldn’t wait for dessert. I made a mental note - betsubara. (It means even though you’re full you have an extra stomach for a something extra like dessert.)
But first the main meal. The restaurant had two main dishes to choose from (curry or quiche) and each came with brown rice, several side dishes, soup and a beverage. I opted for the curry which was more like Thai curry rather than Japanese curry. If it’s on the menu when you go I highly recommend it. The variety of flavors from the side dish platter were also very tasty particularly the spring roll.
Back to dessert. The chocolate cake came with a dollop of mousse on the side. Yum, yum! Choukrane offers regular vegan and raw desserts. While the main course menu only had two options, the dessert menu was quite substantial. One of my aunts ordered the chocolate banana shake and it caught my eye. Even though chocolate cake is my dessert of choice, seeing the shake put me in a bit of a quandary. Should I have chocolate cake two days in a row, or should I be slightly adventurous and try something different? I opted for variety, and I can say that both desserts would satisfy anyone’s chocolate cravings. Yummilicious!
Choukrane is owned by two women and will have been in business for two years this June. The husband of one of the owners also works there. He said he had just moved to Okinawa after living in the U.S. for a while. He was entertaining and friendly trying to communicate with my relatives with the few words of Japanese that he knew. When he mentioned that he had also lived in Spain I told him one of my aunts could speak Spanish so the two of them had a nice chat.
On both days that I went I was the only vegan in the group. I wondered if everyone would enjoy the food or not. I watched their expressions as the food was served and they started to dig in. I had to ask, “What do you think? Do you like it?” I was relieved when they said they did.
Choukrane turned out to be quite the find for me, or maybe it found me. Aside from having great food it was relatively close to one of my cousin’s homes. And it turns out that it’s located two doors down from the childhood home of one of my other cousins.
In case you were wondering, Chourkrane means “thank you” in Arabic. Thank YOU, Choukrane. I’ll definitely be back.