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The Veggie side of Japan

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The Veggie side of Japan

Postby Bunny_Moon » February 2nd, 2009 2:08 am

I have heard lessons on so many different types of foods in Japan. But, I have a major concern, I am a vegetarian who plans to visit Japan this summer. But I don't know what I can eat!!! Can there be a lesson on the veggie side of Japan? (not just vegetables, but on stuff that vegetarians can eat!)


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Postby jkid » February 3rd, 2009 2:39 am

This site may be useful.

Curry might be a good choice. Pizza and pasta are other options.

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Postby gerald_ford » February 3rd, 2009 7:25 am

Personally, I had to "pause" the vegetarian diet while I was there recently. It's not that there aren't vegetarian options in Japan. There are, and lots of home cooking utilizes plenty of vegetables and other choices that let you get around meat. The catch though is that when someone served me a meal, which was often, I knew I couldn't be rude and refuse, especially since they went to the trouble. So, I just enjoyed and left it at that. When I got back home, I just resumed the ol' vegetarian diet.

Actually, older generation Japanese eat little meat anyways. It's the younger generation that tends to adopt Western-style consumption.

Best of luck in any case. :)
--Gerald Ford: Pirate-Viking-Monk in training.


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Postby Taurus » February 3rd, 2009 7:57 am

gerald_ford wrote:Actually, older generation Japanese eat little meat anyways. It's the younger generation that tends to adopt Western-style consumption.

My wife tends to eat very little meat, and she complains if we eat too much - but if you're vegetarian, you really need to be aware that a lot of dishes that look innocuous might be made with meat- or fish-based stock. I think things have changed since one of my friends went over there around 2000 and tried to ask for noodles without meat and the chef just took the meat out of the soup (which was made with lashings of pork fat!).

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It's difficult, but it can be done

Postby bshock » February 5th, 2009 4:16 am

My wife and I have both been vegetarians for the last 30 years. On our recent visit to Tokyo, we were constantly challenged to find food.

There's a dutch person who sells a short guidebook on vegan restaurants in Japan. I don't have his URL handy, but his email address is . Just ask for his Vegan Guide to Japan, or something like that. It's in English and Japanese, so no problem there. He charges about 20 US dollars for it.

However, I fear that this guide may soon be a bit out of date. One or two of the restaurants listed were long gone. And of course finding any address in Japan can be quite a chore -- Google Maps is your best friend.

Eating vegan in Tokyo means avoiding almost all restaurants (as with everywhere, I suppose). However, if you're lacto-ovo, you can probably get by with Italian (real Italian, not the Japanese version of Italian), Indian (I assume that's what a previous poster meant by "curry"), or even some pastry shops.

If you're someone who must routinely deal with the wretched state of baked goods in the US, you will be amazed at the prevalence of decent pastry in Tokyo. Of course, most Americans have been raised on faux pastry from Dunkin Donuts or the like, so many of us wouldn't know or appreciate the good stuff if we were slapped in the face with it.

In a pinch, you can always rely on grocery stores (not convenience stores). These will always have real (slightly expensive) vegetables and fruits. It's worth a visit even if you're not buying, just to see the different varieties of produce.

One word of caution: the Japanese don't understand the word "vegetarian," but many of them believe they do. It's not that they think fish is a vegetable -- rather, I suspect they probably just can't conceive of someone not eating at least a little seafood here and there.

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