LaLa Zorba

Plant-based cuisine in Okinawa's Capital

By Kim B    - 2 min read

Naha's Kokusai Dori is a famous shopping street which is well worth a visit — it's packed full of stores selling souvenirs and other goodies alongside bars, restaurants, and cafes. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, take a short stroll off the main drag and you'll find a great plant-based eatery by the name of LaLa Zorba.

The menu at LaLa Zorba has a strong influence from different countries across Asia. You'll find dishes including Tibetan style dumplings served with a curry sauce, Vietnamese style spring rolls, Nepalese style spicy fried noodles, and an Indian inspired tofu tikka masala — and that's just naming a few. Menu items can be ordered a la carte or as part of a set that comes served with a seasonal organic salad and your choice of brown rice or turmeric rice. The portions are hearty but won't leave you feeling heavy, since there is a real focus on not cooking with excessive oil and letting the flavors of the organic ingredients shine through. Like many other Okinawan vegetarian and vegan establishments, the vast majority of produce used at LaLa Zorba is sourced locally.

If you have a sweet tooth, there are numerous options to finish off your meal with, including homemade vegan-friendly ice cream and parfaits packed with banana, pineapple, and beniimo (Okinawan sweet potato). For visitors to the restaurant who may not speak Japanese, you'll find the menu has English descriptions as well, making ordering easy.

Getting there

LaLa Zorba is located approximately four minutes on foot from the famous Kokusai Dori Shopping Street. Via public transport, the restaurant is nine minutes on foot from the Prefectural Office Monorail Station, or ten minutes on foot from the Miebashi Monorail Station.

Alternatively if you're driving to the restaurant, there are a number of paid parking lots in the surrounding streets.

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Kim B

Kim B @kim.b

I'm an Australian who has lived abroad for almost a decade, including 7 years in Japan - specifically Tokyo and Niigata. I've  visited 44 of 47 prefectures, with only Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto left to check out. I'm particularly fond of exploring off the beaten path destinations, gardens, and tea houses, and have a real interest in Japan's growing vegan scene.

Join the discussion

Sherilyn Siy 4 months ago
Tibetan food is hard to find.
Kim B Author 4 months ago
It's nice that this place has influence from so many different cultures!
Sander van Werkhoven 4 months ago
Vegan or not, this looks pretty darn tasty!
Elizabeth S 4 months ago
And portions look pretty generous, too.
Bonson Lam 4 months ago
This is a real kaleidoscope of cuisines, colours and flavours.
Bonson Lam 4 months ago
On the weekend I tried some "Ube" ice cream. Originally from the Philippines, Ube is similar to Okinawan sweet potato or the beniimo, though the latter had origins in the Americas. The Ube ice cream was purple too, and amazingly fruity and "imo" like in taste. It really blew me away. Then I thought about the connections between the three countries. When the US bases got into swing in the 1960s and 70s, many musicians and entertainers from the Philippines went to Okinawa to perform (there was a retrospective about this at the QAGOMA gallery in Brisbane). Likewise many foods and recipes in Okinawa had origins from places like the Philippines when Okinawa was a trading nation. It is fascinating to be a food culture anthropologist.
Elena Lisina 4 months ago
My Japanese friend told me that Okinawa has different culture from Japan. We tried some Okinawa dishes in a restaurant in Tokyo - they were really different! Plus aomori! :D
Elizabeth S 4 months ago
Okinawa cuisine really hooked me. When I was there, soki soba, rafute, goya chamburu, and sata andagi were all delicious.