CONTRIBUTED BY LEAH MAGID
One of the frequently asked questions on “the Facebook” is, “Where can I find [insert item here]?” Well, if your “item” happens to be related to baking and making what you bake look amazing, the answer is: “The Ribbon Store,” properly titled Food & Package Ribbon. This shop is located in Naha, just south of Camp Kinser off 58. It is two floors of sugar-buzz and shiny things that are sure to make any baker (or baked goods consumer) giddy.
The first floor has things like cocoa powders, honeys, sugars, fillings, pre-made cookies and creams, frozen berries, and jams.
There are also nuts, ice creams, pastas, flours, pastes and tart shells.
Cans, bags, boxes and pouches contain products from all over the world, and are rather reasonably priced. Frozen, refrigerated or shelf-stable, there is a variety of products. I only had thirty minutes to browse and it was not nearly enough.
The second floor has silicon and metal pans, molds and forms. And we’re not just talking wee little cute things, either. We’re talking a wide variety of sizes from tiny oven to industrial. There are scrapers, spatulas, tools and decoration items. Candles, doo-dads, shredded paper, tags, and deco charms are available.
In addition to the “software and the hardware” (nod to Alton Brown), there is also the flash, the splash and the need for major cash. The packaging department is everything one would expect. If you have ever purchased or received omiyage (travel gifts), you know that a huge part of the appeal (and cost) is the packaging. This is actually a place where they sell the little pouches for food, tiny stickers indicating the flavor of what’s in those twee little buns, the in-box stands and the boxes themselves. There are themed sets of many styles and prices. There is paper, there are baskets and there are ribbons.
The Ribbon Store not a place to take a friend who is not interested in making beautiful pastry. It is not a place full of cheap stuff you can jazz up a store-bought cake with. What it is, is a fantastic shop on a street filled with incredible little specialty places. Bakeries, import shops, noodle houses, restaurants, antique stores, and service providers.
Directions: From all points north, head south on 58. When you go over the bridge that is past Kinser (where A-Price and Snow Lagoon are), get to the left lane. As soon as you can at the bottom of the bridge, get to the left. You will turn left at the Ameku intersection (there is a Lawson’s there.) It is a two-story yellow building with giant ribbons painted all over it. Parking is limited but available.
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Payment: Yen only. No credit cards, no foreign currency. No loyalty card.
English availability: Very limited when I was there. Bring a “point and speak” book, a smartphone or your best effort in Japanese if you have any questions.