CONTRIBUTED BY DASHA GARIEPY

A lot has changed in Okinawa over the past twenty years. Kinville (the collection of streets outside Camp Hansen’s front gate) could have been the poster child for “sleazy living”. Now most of the bars are closed down, giving the area a ghost town feel. But there is one place that hasn’t changed. It’s owned and operated by the same family, the Fukuharas, and they are still serving our favorite yakisoba on the island.

Soba Chicken Yakisoba

Son

Fukuharasan’s son was just a boy when Rob first met him. Now he mans the restaurant!

My husband introduced me to this restaurant back in ’89. (Yes, we are that old.)  Before he took me here, this place qualified as “the other woman” in our relationship! That was before the days of cell phones. I didn’t need one to reach him, however, because I knew he was either at work, at the beach, at the gym, or at White Kichen.

Over the intervening years, Rob’s made dozens of trips to Oki. Before each trip he’d get so excited – if he’d been a dog his tail would have been wagging! He’d taunt me with a huge smile, saying “I get to go to White Kichen!”

6492_1214714051757_1346005703_2613056_7188129_nThe tail wagger with Fukuraha-san senior

Sadly, we’re retiring form the Marine Corps and leaving this beautiful island in a few short weeks. It seems only fitting that my last post for Okinawa Hai is the first place I ever ate on Okinawa.

Like most hole-in-the-wall places, White Kichen only has a few tables. One wall is plastered with photos taken by patrons over the years. Though they run a fan, and have a wall unit A/C it can get pretty hot inside. Their menu is very simple – basic things like yakisoba, yakitori, tacorice, etc. There’s nothing basic about the flavor of their food, though. It’s downright mouthwatering! See for yourself:

Chik

Teriyaki Chicken

Taco

Taco Rice and Cheese (we ask for “motto” (more) cheese!)

Fam

And you thought I made a typo in the title…

Visiting White Kichen and the twenty-years-worth of memory it holds for us is one of the things I’ll miss most when we leave Okinawa.


White Kichen

Payment: Yen or Dollars OK.

Hours: 4:30ish to 10:00ish. Closed Mondays.

Address: 4249-1 Kin, Kin, Kunigami District

Google Maps Coordinates: 26.4533955, 127.916515

Directions: We always park on Camp Hansen in the big empty lot next to the front gate and walk. From the entrance to Kinville take the second street on the left. White Kichen is about the 6th business on the right.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Damn this place was great! 92-93ish this was our spot! We’d go listen to music @ Rock America & hit up White kichen before we headed back to base. Any yakasoba, fried squid, taco rice cheese! So good. We went so often that mama san would feed us oops! Orders from other drunk marines, ahhhhhh just add their squid yakasoba to our shrimp yakasoba, We didn’t mind, food was so good!

  2. I was 18 years and 2 months old when I moved to Okinawa for the 1st time. I was married to a Marine stationed at Camp Hansen & we had an apartment on the corner bldg on the very last street behind all the clubs in Kinville. That was back in May of 1990. Wow. that was a long time ago. Time sure flys by fast. Anyways, back to the point, we ate at ‘the’ White Kichen almost every single day. Taco Rice & Cheese is still my most favorite-sit food in the entire world. I think about it all the time. I have never tried to duplicate it, cuz it just wouldn’t be the same. I like the memories of how yummy it was & i don’t want those replaced with a so-so imitation. I ended up living there twice & when I told Mamasan I was leaving to come home soon, we cried and she offered to teach me how to make Taco Rice & Cheese. I was 19 then & I was sort of shy so I never took her up on her offer. I will regret that till the day I see her again in Heaven.

    The day before I left to come back home (Texas) she made me at least 5 to-go containers filled with Taco Rice & Cheese so I could have some on the plane and so I could bring some home with me. I loved that woman. I didn’t notice here in any of the pictures posted here. I hope she & her family are doing well.

    It was fun reading people’s comments about their favorite things & all their fun memories. thank you for sharing.

    -sue

  3. I was stationed on Camp Hansen with 3rd CEB Heavy Equipment Platoon from 1990-1991 Absolutely Loved the Yakisoba with egg. Went To Desert Shield/Storm and couldn’t wait to get back to get some!

  4. Man I miss this place. I remember we’d all go there after the bar hoping we did…. Yeah I said that. Mamasan was the best and always new our order once we came in. Always sat at the counter to watch them cook our food!! Wish I could make a trip back out there. Maybe someday. Thanks for the great memories.

  5. I was stationed at Camp Hansen in 1984-85. The White Kitchen as it is now known was referred to as Mama’s back then. I loved to eat there. There shrimp and beef yakasoba was the best. we loved their food so much that we even went out to get food from there during a typhoon shutdown, crazy huh. Those were great times.

    • Wow what a great memory!.
      I was with 9th ESB from 82*83 and Mama’s was the best!
      “Chicken yakisoba with extra vegetable an egg mixed in”
      And yes the typhoon parties weren’t complete without a Mama’s run!!

      • I remember Mama’s! I was there 83*84. Camp property Office on Hansen. Many nights… (correction) almost EVERY night eating shrimp fried rice or yakisoba on way back in to base. I tried cooking yakisoba, but never get it like Mamasan did! I do miss the Rock!

  6. i used to eat taco rice here when i was a young Marine about 18 years ago. We all loved this place. I havent been back to oki after all these years in the Marine Corps….bummer.

  7. My ex and I lived in kinville in 1986 to 1989. .. Gret times… Loved the taco rice.. We had the cutet apartment.. Made a lot of great friends..

  8. WHITE KITCHEN ROCKS!!
    I was stationed in Camp Hansen for my 1st duty from 1990-1991, and White Kitchen was my only place to eat. I came back accompanied fron 2004-2007, and White Kitchen was the place to go back and eat and intrduce my family to the Fukuhara family. Back in the 90’s I became close to them and in fact my picture still on the wall after 13 years plus. It hadn’t change a bit, my favorite plate is Terriyaki Rice with lots of Terriyaki sauce. My daughter was born in Oki and I also introdeuced her to the White Kitchen Family. I just retired in 2010, and I will go back soon to get some Teriyaki rice from the White Kitchen. Is there an address for this place? Would love to send some pictures to mama-san and papa-san.

  9. I miss Okinawa I was there on a 3 yr accompanied tour, Hansen, Schwab, and Kinser.

    After I left the Navy I was on Oki as a dependent (my wife was still Active Duty).

    It’s been almost 20 years since I first set foot on The Rock, and I still crave White Kichen and the beaches.

  10. Great post! I was on Hansen a couple times in the mid-90’s (or was it three?) and I truly miss taco rice and cheese. Came close to making a similar dish but it just wasn’t the same.

    And I think the place I ordered from most regularly was King Taco.

    Glad you got to mix it up with the locals, it makes for good P.R., and we can always use more of that.

  11. I was at Hansen in 1992-1993. The White Kitchen was also my favorite. My favorite dish was the squid Yakisoba.

  12. I was on the marine base near kinville in the 80’s and still crave yakisoba. Does anyone have the recipe for authentic yakisoba??

  13. omfg i loved tha yaki soba here….squid and shrimp both were tha chit….teriyaki chicken sandwich will be oh so missed…..

  14. i must agree , the white kitchen is
    by far one of the best food joints i have ever eaten at(former marine lcpl j. burnham ,omc , tracks platoon 1990-1991).i use to love the fried squid,and chicken teryaki.oohrah!

  15. I wonder if they deliver to the states . I was in 3/5 and would live in the white kit loved it my Marine buddies and I get together once year to go fishing and all we talk about and dream is the kitchen lol

  16. I was there in 86 and 88 and I would love to to eat there taco fried rice just one more time !!! I made the mistake of trying to make it myself, wow what a mistake !!! My hats off to the Fukurahas Faimly .. Thanks for the great memorys

    • I was there from march of 86 to march of 87. USMC 3rd CEB. I have been looking for a friend I met there by the name of Mcconell from the Boston Mass. area. I lost contact with him. If anyone knows of him, pass on my email.
      We use to go eat at the white kitchen every time we’d go out in town after partying. Miss these great dishes posted here. My favoites… They bring back good ole memories from the Shangrila, sgt peppers, etc..

  17. I WILL HAVE TO AGREE WITH EVERYTHING DASHA POSTED FOR THIS WONDERFUL RESTAURANT. I came back to Okinawa, accompanied, to show my wife and kids the best place to eat Japanese food, “White Kitchen”. Every time I even mention it around my kids, it’s a must, they love it! I personally know the Fukurahas and they take pride in what they do. Man just typing this post makes my mouth watery. I will be there this weekend, if not tomorrow. EVERYONE PLEASE TRY IT!

  18. Alexandria – I would take the expressway to exit 8, left onto 329, up the hill and Camp Hansen will be on your left, Kinville on your right. Happy eating!

  19. Ok I would love to try this place tonight, but don’t really know where it’s at. We are new and I’m not familiar at all with Hansen. Can someone give me directions from Kadena?

  20. Great final post! I love, love, love, hole in the walls. I can’t believe I never heard/found this place especially since I worked on Hansen for almost 2 years.

  21. White Kitchen, New Philly, Gullivers, King Taco are all great up there. There is new place, oddly enough called New Kitchen that is pretty good, not to mention the “Drive In” too…all except New Kitchen have been there at least 20 years too.

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