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Turning green Japanese-style

A love of football and the great outdoors propelled Noike Hiroto to open his AstroTurf-ed café, Green on Peace, last month. The cute eaterie, in the growing hub that is Street 6, serves Japanese-Western food and healthy juices.

Noike, who worked in Osaka as an electronic engineer, wanted to run “an interesting café” for ten years, and was finally able to realise his dream when he moved to Siem Reap last year.

The concept of Green on Peace is an outdoor area, perhaps a park, where customers remove their shoes to walk on fake grass, lounge in hammocks or play a game of jenga on one of the bamboo sofas hung with tiny plants.

“We want people to enjoy themselves, play games and relax,” Noike says.

There is a small array of games to which customers can help themselves, including a delightfully retro Rubik’s Cube and Noike will soon add more, including chess and card-games.

Noike and his business partner Risa Hanazono, who also oversaw the café’s quirky design, devised the name with their manager.

The Green on Peace Original liquid refreshment, containing banana, grapefruit, Chinese greens and carrot.
The Green on Peace Original liquid refreshment, containing banana, grapefruit, Chinese greens and carrot. Miranda Glasser

“I thought of ‘green,’” says Noike. “Risa thought of ‘peace.’ I love green plants and green spaces.”

Hanazono adds, “We want green everywhere, so that people will feel peaceful.”

The menu consists of both Western and Japanese food, sometimes combined such as the sandwich filled with natto and sticky fermented soya beans, a traditional dish popular in Japan.

“The idea is healthy food, and Japanese and Western mixed together,” Noike says. “We have pizza toast which is very Japanese. And pasta with natto.”

There are also fresh juices such as the Green On Peace Original, containing banana, grapefruit, Chinese greens, carrot and banana soy, which Noike says is the most popular drink.

A small, grass-covered bar tucked away at the back serves cocktails and stiff drinks. And if clients fancy a bit of retail therapy they can pick up items such as wooden bowls and fancy face masks from Vietnam in the latest designs, including fake camouflage and faux Louis Vuitton . Also on sale is organic palm sugar made by Cambodian Rakugan, a Phnom Penh organisation which supports a training center for people with disabilities.

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