Where does our name derive from?
“Pikinini” has a really cute sound to it, but that is not the reason we choose it to name our business, in the island nation of Papua New Guinea the word “Pikinini” translates to “child”, but it also carries with it a much deeper meaning, the implication of “passing on the earths rich natural environment to our future generations” and it is this meaning in conjunction with the meaning of “child” that attracted us to use the word. It is our aim to create a business that is attractive to both children and adults alike.
The fundamental concepts behind “Pikinini” are environmental consideration and food security. With these values in mind we consciously source locally grown, additive-free food so that our customers can savour the taste of quality foods made by locals to be enjoyed locally.
What is “Pikinini” all about
“Pikinini” is essentially a food truck which is run by a husband and wife team. It has a permanent location on the side of Route 66 (also known as Kira Kaido). Although our shop is a food truck and can relocate, the reality is that it is quite at home in its garden setting and doesn’t move very much at all. A purpose built outdoor dining area and garden has been created allowing customers to enjoy el fresco style dining at one of our café tables or you are more than welcome to take our culinary creations away to enjoy where ever you would like.
We specialise in handmade “meat sauce pita breads” and “chiffon cakes,” which can be accompanied by our organically grown coffees which are transformed into delicious Lattes to further enhance your dining experience. At “Pikinini” we are often asked “what kind of café are you?” by passers by. This is a really difficult question and there is not a single answer. Our speciality menu item is our delicious pita bread, which is packed fill using our original recipe meat sauce, which is created using the freshest of locally sourced tomatoes & Rusutsu pork (all free from additives), locally grown vegetables and potato mochi (potato pattie). We take great pride in everything that we prepare and serve and can confidentially recommend all items on our menu. It is our aspiration as business operators to make every customers experience a happy experiences, we believe this is the best way to grow our business.
Who are we?
We are Kimitaka and Rie Ohashi and “Pikinini” is run by as a team. Kimitaka was born in Sapporo city and enjoys all sports from football to skiing. Rie is from Matsuoka city in Toyama prefecture and enjoys music and is a particularly skilled violinist.
We first moved to Niseko in April 2015 after being overwhelmed by the various attributes that make up Niseko as a destination. Abundant nature, inspiring scenery, clean air & water, a variety of fresh produce, great onsen, with a variety of ski resorts and an international atmosphere were the main factors behind our decision to move.
We both have experience working and living in developing nations as Japanese Overseas Cooperation Volunteers. The people we met through these experiences left a deep impression on us because although they were poor they were always smiling and they were always happy.
It is our belief that eating healthy and delicious food contributes to the creation of a peaceful world in which everyone “smiles”. It would be great to see more Japanese children and adults “happily” living their lives. As our contribution to creating a “happier” society we opened “Pikinini” in October 2015.
Why concentrate on meat sauce?
Most people imagine Japan’s food to consist of ramen, curry, sushi, soba, udon, katsudon along with a wide variety of other traditional dishes. Despite the fact that meat sauce is also widely recognized in Japan and very popular with children, we discovered that there are few shops that actually specialize in meat sauce.
There was also another reason for us wanting to specialize in meat sauce, our daughters really like the spaghetti and meat sauce that we make at home. Spaghetti and meat sauce that we make at home. With “Pikinini” is a food truck it was our aim to make convenient yet delicious foods using locally sourced products. The result was the creation of our pita bread filled with meat sauce, vegetables and delectable potato patty.
Local grown produce
The deliciousness of fresh, local produce is common knowledge yet this is perhaps seen as a luxury in cities nowadays. We use Niseko produce and other locally sourced produce whenever possible. For example, the tomatoes that make the base of our meat sauce are sourced from local Niseko farmers (in winter we use Japanese grown tomatoes) not cans. The main ingredient of our meat sauce, the meat, is 100% Rusutsu pork renowned for being tender. We believe that sourcing food locally production is the most environmentally friendly way to run a food related business.
Why create Additive-free foods?
“Why is it that packaged food takes a long time to go off?” “How come the colours in foods can be as bright as paint yet still be edible?” “If additives are added to food they can improve the taste profiles of the food, but what exactly is an `additive`?”
These questions and questions like that used to baffle me as a child and continued to confuse be up until a few years ago. Prior to me understanding the answers to these questions, I continued to eat food which looked and tasted like it was good for me as I did not feel that anything was strange. It was the volunteering overseas, that increased my interest in food additives grew and I started to actively research into them.
We decided to lead a diet with as much additive-free food as possible after we returned to Japan. After several months we tried eating foods with additives again, only to find that our bodies were rejecting them.
It was these personal experiences that made us decide when setting up a food business to serve our customers additive free food. (The wine we use when making our meat sauce contains sulphites. This is something that is either added or occurs naturally during the fermentation process.)
In the pursuit of deliciousness!
The entire concept of “Pikinini” has been based on “deliciousness” (our definition of “deliciousness “ is determined by our use of locally grown produce and a strict policy of not adding any additives). We are both passionate food lovers so we try our best to impress our customers with delicious food.
Our homemade meat sauce, pita bread and potato mochi (patties) are all made in a commercial kitchen. Our trading hours are limited, but customers can rest assured that a lot of effort goes into food preparation behind the scenes.
The meat sauce is prepared by peeling the skin off of fresh tomatoes by placing them in hot water, after which they are boiled slowly, reducing and making the base of the meat sauce. When the base is done we add local Rusutsu pork and herbs to flavour the sauce.
Hokkaido grown wheat and natural yeast are combined to create our pita bread. Our pita bread is baked in batch lots which only last a day, meaning we need to bake our bread freshly for each day of trading. The potatoes that we use to make our potato patties are direct from the farm and make our potato mochi (patties) taste astoundingly good.
Chiffon cake requires exacting measurements to ensure it remains light. Just like other areas of Japanese cooking for instance the most passionate of ramen chefs, we put effort and our entire energy into creating our foods from scratch, our sole aim is to hear our customers proclaim that the food they are eating is “delicious”.
We are also environmentally conscientious
“Pikinini” is essentially a food truck as such we feel it is our responsibility to be as considerate to the environment as possible, as part of our environmental efforts, customers are charged 20 yen per paper cup and 10 yen per paper bag that they require.
Reducing waste is both economical and environmentally beneficial. Disposing of waste produces harmful carbon dioxides and ultimately leads to increases in the cost of energy. Recycling is obviously very important but first and foremost we need to get individuals to reduce the amount of waste that they create. We all share the same world so it is everyone’s responsibility to protect it.
Our meat sauce pita breads taste best when they are fresh so we personally recommend that you eat it straight away right out of your hands, no paper bag required!
The Pikinini experience
If you choose to enjoy your purchase in our café terrace area, we have re-useable food and drink containers for customers to use.
Some customers may not be familiar with our service, so we have outlined the process below.
Come up to the window and check the menu to make your order and pay. (We are happy to make recommendations, if you can’t decide)
It takes approx. 5-10 minutes to prepare an individual order. During this time you are free to wait in your car, sit on the benches in our café area or even take pictures and upload them to the internet. How you choose to pass the time is entirely up to you!
We will call out to you when your food is ready so please come to collect it from the window. Please return your used food and drink containers when you are finished.
Our organically produced coffee
All of the coffee that we serve is organic. Several years ago when we lived in Sapporo we used to always purchase coffee beans from our favourite café and then make our own brews at home. We sampled a variety of different coffee beans but our favourite were some delicate yet full flavoured organic beans.
Before opening “Pikinini” we decided that we would only serve organic coffee so we went to “kowado” the first specialist organic coffee shop in Hokkaido, to ask if they could make us a special “Pikinini” blend. We were delighted when the owner of Kowado himself prepared us coffee using the same organic coffee we have always loved! Astonished by this shocking coincidence, we were convinced that our customers would be able to enjoy the organic coffee that we have enjoyed over time, our own special “Pikinini blend” was born.
Café Terrace area
Kira Kaido is the main street of Niseko Town, it forms part of Route 66 and is a stretch of road that has been beautifully landscaped with brick pavements, wide roads which have lined with ornate lampposts. The electric cables and telephone wires were also buried beneath the street giving the stretch of road a very European feel.
When constructing our café we wanted to create a area that was in keeping with the surrounding scenery and that was both inviting and comfortable. We laid the bricks in our garden terrace ourselves and employed a professional tradesman to construct some wooden decking. The patio area was created by ourselves using new and second-hand Australian bricks to create atmosphere. The sleepers are an incredibly strong Australian wood that is naturally resistant to decay. When making the wooden decking we wanted a material that was sourced from Hokkaido and choose to use a Japanese Cedar from Southern Hokkaido.
When is a great time for “Pikinini”?
If you would like a convenient and balanced meal.
If you are mid-work or drive and you want to fill up on delicious local food.
If you want to take a break mid-stroll around the town.
If you would like a delicious memory of your trip to Niseko.
If you are on a date!
If you want to enjoy an additive-free meal with your child.
If you would like to try organic coffee instead of your usual blend.
If you want to savour a hot drink outside with friends.
If you want a change of pace.
If your interest is peaked as you drive by.
Requests from Pikinini
We want Pikinini to be a space where children can have fun and everyone can enjoy Niseko’s fresh air. As such we request that you refrain from smoking in our café area. Also if you have come by car please turn your engine off whenever possible. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
As you can see from the pictures all of our pita breads come in sets of two. It is important to note that although our food may have the appearance of fast food, it is all personally prepared by us in our specialist kitchen.
Above all else we hope that all of our customers enjoy their “Pikinini” experience!