Coconuts in Osaka!?
By: Jorge H. Primavera
Osaka, Japan – The coconut tree can be found almost anywhere in the Philippines that it is often taken for granted by many. However, it would not be known as the “Tree of Life” if we couldn’t derive many benefits from it, especially its fruits. Among these are the health-giving wonder oil that is virgin coconut oil, which is highly in demand all over the world, especially the United States and Europe. If only people knew more about what coconuts and coconut products have to offer, they’d appreciate them better and use them more often.
You’ll be surprised to know that there is one company in Japan who truly understands and appreciates the health-giving goodness of coconuts, going so far as to open a café and restaurant specializing in the use of coconut products in order to promote them.
In a quiet area, a few minutes’ walk away from the hustle and bustle of Osaka’s Shinsaibashi district lies a café and restaurant serving dishes making use of coconut products. It is not something that you would expect to find when visiting Osaka, but Cocowell Café, located in Kita-horie, offers a wide variety of original dishes using coconut products in ways only Japanese could think of. It has a warm and cozy ambiance, where you could relax. You can even find a coconut seedling inside spreading its leaves.
Cocowell Café is owned and managed by Cocowell Corporation, a Japanese company engaged in wholesale and retail sales of organic Philippine coconut products. Cocowell hopes that by selling coconut products in Japan, it could help improve incomes of coconut farmers, thereby contributing to the reduction of poverty in the Philippines.
Cocowell Café was opened with the objective of showing various ways in which coconut products such as virgin coconut oil, coconut sugar, coconut milk powder, coconut flour, and desiccated coconuts could be used as ingredients in dishes, desserts, and drinks. Dishes are arranged and prepared to suit the Japanese palate, so foreigners, especially Filipinos will be in for a visual and gastronomic surprise.
If you really want to be amazed, try ordering the monthly Cocowell plate, a well-rounded meal which includes a healthy balance of proteins, oils, and vegetables, while keeping low on carbohydrates. Or you can play it safe and go for the weekly curry, which is a little lighter than the Cocowell plate and something more familiar. You can choose from either chicken, spinach, or Japanese-style keema curry. You can also try the coconut tomato risotto which also uses coconut milk. It goes without saying that the dishes are not only oishii (delicious), they are also healthy.
For dessert, don’t miss their coconut ice cream. See what happens when you pour coconut oil on top of it (the coconut oil comes with the ice cream)! You can also order our very own turon, which they call banana harumaki (spring roll), made using coconut sugar. They don’t use the saba banana variety though, but the taste is still comparable. There are also baked sweets like tarts and cakes (try the matcha cake) which also use coconut ingredients.
For drinks, Cocowell Café offers calamansi soda and homemade ginger ale, among others. Coffee is made from fair trade Arabica coffee beans grown in Cordillera. They also serve smoothies and vegetable juices.
After having your meal, you can also buy Cocowell products, including cosmetics made from coconut oil. A good souvenir for yourself and for friends back home would be coconut lip cream, made from coconut oil. You can choose from among six flavors: Sampaguita, lemongrass, coconut, pineapple, mango, and banana.
Cocowell dishes are served in plates made from expertly handcrafted mahogany wood from Leyte under the brand name “Francis+Dale,” which was coined from the first names of the craftsmen making them.
Cocowell cafe is located in Kitahorie, Nishi-ku, Osaka. It is a four-minute walk from Yotsubashi Station (Exit 6) and Nishiohashi Station (Exit 4), and around eight minutes from Shinsaibashi Station (Exit 7). It opens at 11:30 am and closes at 7:00 pm (last order is at 6:30 pm). It is closed on Wednesdays.
Whenever you are in Osaka, check out Cocowell Café and let yourselves be surprised. You will be amazed at how coconut products are used in the menu and you’ll appreciate coconuts more. It’s definitely a place to drop by while you’re in Osaka.
Address: 1-13-21 Kitahorie, Nishi-Ku, Osaka-shi
Business hours: 11:30 am to 7 pm (last order 6:30 pm)
Closed on Wednesdays
How to get there
From Yotsubashi Station: 4 mins from Exit 6
From Nishiohashi Station: 4 mins from Exit 4
From Shinsaibashi Station: 8 mins from Exit 7
Cebu Pacific offers the most affordable direct flights from Manila to Osaka (KIX). For ticket prices and schedule of flights, visit www.CebuPacificAir.com.
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