Not far from Tsuboya Pottery Village of Naha, Okinawa, lays an oasis of peace and relaxation where guests can enjoy creative vegan brunch while watching butterflies fly from flower to flower. Cafe Niffera offers an affordable, unique and local vegan breakfast experience.
Nestled in a small garden off the Pottery Village, Café Niffera welcomes guests with a quaint garden as well as cafe tables for al fresco dining. With a focus on natural flavours, locally-sourced ingredients, and healthy cooking methods (less deep-frying), we were eager to start our meal.
The menu consists of vegan interpretations of classic brunch items, mostly created by Australian-expat trained chef, pro-wrestler and personal trainer Ryukyu Dog Dingo! Talk about a diverse background! Dingo is also a prolific tweeter (@) and has just started a YouTube series called Supplex Kitchen, sharing his love for cooking vegan food.
His occupation as a pro-wrestler gives him a unique platform to spread the vegan word, sometimes ending his victory speeches with “Be Kind to Animals!” he is an excellent and passionate advocate for the vegan cause.
Food at Café Niffera is made fresh on the spot, so it is easy to get any customizations that you might want. While Dingo is in the kitchen preparing your order, you’ll likely have a chance to meet Naoko (@ ), the owner of the cafe, Javi (@yoga_prana3), the cafe assistant and yoga instructor, and Donnie, the mischievous cat ? , who enjoys sitting on or near people’s tables, chasing butterflies (which he isn’t supposed to do) and waiting for the leftovers from those large plates!
Since it doesn’t get more classic than eggs benedict, I was keen to try Dingos vegan version of this breakfast staple, and we also ordered the falafel pocket to see how they tackle the middle-eastern flavours of this vegan favorite. The real curiosity in our mind though was all about the vegan poached eggs; what would it look like? How would they make it?
These questions were quickly answered when our ‘eggs’ arrived. I was greeted with two firm and perfectly legit looking ‘poached eggs’, lightly resting on a handful of mushrooms, on top of a bed of perfectly wilted spinach leaves, all held together by the secure foundations of two toasted, crisp and warm homemade bread. And generously covered with homemade vegan Hollandaise sauce.
I picked up my knife and made the first incision into this delectable culinary bundle, watching the poached eggs ever-so-gently fall apart over the mushrooms and spinach.
What Dingo has created, ladies and gentleman is the perfect vegan Eggs Benedict. Dingo tells us these have been so convincing for some people they have accused him of cheating. But not to worry, these creations are simply the work of a vegan creative mastermind, who has manipulated silken tofu, and pumpkin puree in a simple yet genius way. And if you are desperate to recreate this right now; being the passionate vegan he is, Dingo is not afraid to share his secrets and shows you how on his YouTube show.
The vegan falafel was lightly pan-fried; so not too oily, and not too dry. Stuffed into a pocket filled with veggies and avocado; the pita was absolutely bursting. With such large portion sizes, nobody is going to judge you if you have a little bit left over and the brunch will see most people through to dinner time.
The quality of the food speaks for the amount of effort and dedication that was put into making it. It is the kind of food that does not only nourishes the body but also feeds the soul. Dingo, Naoko and Javi’s passion for veganism, for a better health and for a better environment manifests through the food they make and in their own unique ways. They do their best to espouse a positive vegan message whenever they can.
They aren’t afraid to share their vegan knowledge of Naha and Okinawa in general, so if you need any help finding nearby spots; ask them, they might even come for the stroll with you.
Niffera is attached to Tsuboya Garden Guesthouse (also run by Naoko) and is currently only open for breakfast from 8 am to 10 am. The long-term plan, according to Naoko, is that Café Niffera a will be open for breakfast and lunch and will offer a small range of vegan treats and the like.
We enjoyed our meal and hanging out with cool people at Niffera. With a fantastic outdoor area, the place is great to visit for an unwinding ‘out-of-town’ experience in Okinawa. It’s comfortable atmosphere, delicious healthy options, and the lovely people makes me want to frequent this place ?.