CONTRIBUTED BY JENNIFER SHUE
Here on Okinawa Hai we all seem to love a good bakery. If you look through the To Eat Index by cuisine type, bakeries (especially if you include the tea time places like Miche Miche and bakery-cafes like Marco Polo) are our second most numerous category, following only to the local cuisine. The thought of crusty loaves of bread still warm from the oven, crisp pastries, buttery croissants, sweet glazes, cool pastry cream, toasted nuts, sprinkled berries, dusted spices . . . . mmm, puts a smile on all our faces!
But, I am a bakery critic. Croissants should be flaky and airy, ethreal even. Bread should be just the opposite. I had thought I would be doing without all of that, unless I was making it myself, for the duration of my stay here on Okinawa. Or so I thought for about a year and a half. I was so desperate for non-WonderBread-esque loaves, that I even learned how to bake them myself. All from scratch. Hearty, crusty, earthy, straight from my oven. Everyone knows when it is baking day because the whole tower smells like f resh-baked bread. This, incidentally, made things slightly worse.
Then there was a bunch of construction that happened in Ginowan near the Round 1 area, and up popped Sourire, to my heart’s delight. The word means “smile” or “to smile” in French, and that is exactly what you are likely to do when you find this place, grab your tray and your tongs, and load up on all the wonders set before you. Then, you’ll take two or three steps over to the register and you might groan a little as you lighten your wallet, but it is so worth it.
Don’t get me wrong, nothing in here is expensive by any stretch, but my problem is that everything looks so amazing, that I almost buy one of everything. And when you get over to the register, don’t forget to pick up a couple mini cheesecakes on a stick – yakitori style!
Payment/Hours: To my knowledge, they only take Yen. They are open seven days a week, but I am not sure of the hours. I think they open around 10 or 11, and close when they sell out of everything. Best time for selection is early to mid-afternoon.
Directions from Foster/points north of Ginowan: Take 58 south to the bypass (turn right at the first light after the Commissary Gate, heading south towards Naha) then follow the bypass all the way down towards Round 1. At the light just past Round 1 turn left. You will see a Union grocery store and pink Bunny Store beside it. Just after the Union (the road will run along side it) you will see an intersection with a Hotto Motto on the corner. Sourire is next door to the Hotto Mott o, just before you get to the intersection. There are 2 or 3 parking spaces, but you can always park in the side lot of the Union and walk over there (less than a block), or go through the intersection and parallel park along the road on the other side.