Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Vegetarian on the go in Japan - Convenience Stores

Vegetarian on the Go in Japan

Sometimes, especially while travelling, it’s hard to find a restaurant offering vegan or vegetarian food in Japan. If you live in Japan, you will already know about the many 24 hours convenience store chains like 7eleven, Family Mart or Lawson and what to get from there.
Anyways, for Japan first-timers this information might still be useful.

Some good vegan/vegetarian rice balls to get from convenience stores are:
  • pickled plum
  • Konbu/ sea weed rice balls
  • salted rice
  • azuki beans
pickled plum rice ball
left: salted rice, right: azuki beans

Although for „pickled plum“ and „sea weed“ it needs to be said that I cannot be 100% sure, if they are always vegan/vegetarian.
The labels usually do not have animal ingredients on them, but sometimes there is the  mysterious word 調味料 / „other flavours“ or „佃煮“ „simmered in sauce“ on the label without specifying exactly what flavours or sauces are used.
Anyways, I believe they are animal-free and eat them, but don’t take my word for it, if you want to be 100% sure.

Other good options from the convenience store especially in summer are the various cold noodles like Soba, Somen, Udon & Chukamen (Chukamen contain eggs!).
I buy them, leave out any of the meat toppings and put my own sauce on top as the sauce that comes with them always contains fish stock.

Cold soba and Somen noodles with different toppings.
Beware of the fish Vegetarian on the Go in Japan

For salads it's the same:
don't use the dressing that comes with it.
A really nice sauce, if you get tired of only soy sauce, is „Ponzu“ which you can also buy at most convenience stores in the sauce section.
Ponzu is made from soy sauce, glucose sugar, vinegar, lime juice and is almost certainly vegetairan/vegan. It goes with salads, noodles, grilled veggies etc…
Ponzu Sauce can be used for almost everything
Obviously there is more to buy from a convenience store that is vegan/vegetarian, but these are some of my favourites for now.

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