Category Archives: vegetarian

Nagi Shokudo: Relaxed vegan eatery in Shibuya

Nagi Shokudo Set menu

When in Tokyo, I like to try out different vegan or vegetarian restaurants in addition to my mainstays. Nagi Shokudo (なぎ食堂) isn’t located that far from Shibuya Station but far enough that the bustling noise that everybody associates Shibuya with sounds merely like a whistle. But that’s the way most of Tokyo is, once you leave the busy main streets.

 

So I left the busy part of Shibuya behind walked up and down while being baked in the Summer sun – and missed the restaurant on my first try. Nagi Shokudo is not located at street level but a few steps below. There’s no big sign and the restaurant is partly obscured by a plant. 

 

Nagi Shokudo is supposed to be quite busy during lunch hour but I was lucky and the restaurant was empty when I arrived (but it was full when I left). The restaurant has a very laid back, casual atmosphere and they serve various Asian-style food depending on the day. Their lunch set was delicious with rice, soup and vegetables. A great place for lunch and highly recommended!

 

Nagi Shokudo is open from 12 to 4pm (last order at 3pm) and 6 to 11pm. They close at 4pm on Sundays. Menu and website are in Japanese and English. [ Map ]

 

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Kansai Vegan Meet-up at Genmai Cafe

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Among meet-up groups in Japan, the Tokyo Vegan Meet-up is one of the biggest with over 1000 member. The Kansai one is much smaller and has an irregular schedule. During my stay in Osaka I attended one of their meet-ups at the Genmai Cafe Honmachi.

Genmai Cafe is in a shopping street just three minutes away from Honmachi Station. On the first floor is the Genki Shop for healthy food products. The cafe on the second floor is nice and clean. Every food item is vegetarian, some items contain animal products (eggs) or fish and are marked as such.

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They have various set menus, soups, desserts and organic drinks on their menu. I didn’t go for the curry as it’s relatively easy to find vegetarian curry in Japan. The one Indian restaurant near the place where I stayed (Yotsubashi Station) was even all-vegetarian. I picked their regular set and could select two rice balls (onigiri) and one soup from their menu. Read the rest of this entry

Vegan Meetup at Pink Cow

Pink Cow Vegan Meetup
The Pink Cow is an expat- and vegetarian-friendly bar and has regular live music and art events. Together with the Tokyo Vegan Meetup Group, an all vegan buffet is offered each month and although it’s on the pricey side (2800 Yen), it is quite popular. Before having their regular meet-up at Pink Cow, the meetup group moved from restaurant to restaurant. Vegan meet-ups at places other than Pink Cow are now rare.

Food is just one part why people join this meet-up, socializing is the other one. It’s like an international party with a more laid back feel and the food is much better, but that’s just my personal opinion. There are a lot of international/friendship parties each month and the cost can vary between 1000 to 3000 yen. Some give discounts for foreigners and women, so if you are a female foreigner, you’ll get the biggest discount.

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All-you-can-eat buffet.

Veganism is just one of the topics people talk about at the tables and most of the people aren’t even vegans. Vegans do exist in Japan and at least in Tokyo there are quite a few vegan/vegetarian restaurants. I’d still say that if you plan to lead a vegan lifestyle in Tokyo, you need to be both an excellent cook and should be okay ordering many things online. Read the rest of this entry

Loving Hut in Tokyo

Loving Hut Tokyo Zen Plate
Loving Hut is a fast growing vegan food restaurant chain founded by “Supreme Master” Ching Hai. Unlike most restaurant chains, each branch can offer different kinds of food, e.g. the one in Palo Alto had nothing in common with the one in Seoul. Tokyo already has a few vegan and vegetarian restaurant and even a vegan festival near Yoyogi Park. Now it also has a Loving Hut.

Of course, the Tokyo one caters to the local taste. Therefore you will find two curry plates on the menu in addition to a hamburger, vegan hot dog, cheese tart, ice cream and a spicy noodle soup. The main dishes are offered as a set with soup and dessert. Take out is an option for any dish (not including the soup).

This is really more of a “take out” place, the chairs they have in the restaurant are uncomfortable to sit on even though I’m slim. The dish I ordered was the Zen Plate for 1000 Yen with teriyaki vegan meat made from soy bean and lotus root. Read the rest of this entry

Organic Cafe in Sapporo

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Life is not easy for vegans in Japan, but on the other hand they are usually excellent cooks (at least I assume they are). While there are quite a few vegetarian/vegan places in Tokyo (including the international Loving Hut chain), there are almost none in Sapporo. But there is one near the Maruyama Park where I ate after visiting Hokkaido Shrine and the Maruyama Zoo.

It’s a bio-organic cafe which sells cakes and cookies but also has two dishes. There is a group table and a couple of smaller ones. The drinks are a bit on the pricy side but like at every other Japanese restaurant, (tap) water is free.

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My meal consisted of six small dishes, including rice, salad and soup. I like variety and smaller portions so I liked it. The cafe reminded me a bit of Govinda’s, a vegan restaurant in Nakano I wrote about before. Comparing them further makes not much sense I guess, but the Bio Organic Cafe is a place I can recommend. Surprisingly there was also free wifi service (limited to 30 minutes) although I don’t know if it was offered by the cafe. Read the rest of this entry

Shopping & eating outside

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My favourite shopping spree grounds are Shimokitazawa and Harajuku and today I travelled to the latter, since, well, it’s on my way anyway. But first I ate at the Mominoki House which is a “food concept store” offering various vegan and vegetarian choices. Today I had the Vegetarian set (Brown rice, miso soup, seven kinds of veggies) and although the food is tasty and I like the restaurant, I’m always a bit annoyed when they reply in English. Well, time for learning the phrase “Sorry, I don’t speak English” in Korean, Spanish, Danish or whatever language. Or I try German. Heard it’s a nice language 😉

Oh, and they are one of the places labeled “English OK!”. I think this campaign is just stupid and the restaurant is not even in the middle of a tourist area anyway. But campaigns like this are usually not about showing appreciation for certain customers but more about getting more of them into your shop.

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Afterwards I gave in my tendency to go into side streets which look just to nice to go unexplored and somehow arrived at the Design Festa Gallery. There are actually two of them and they are open for all artist who are willing to shell out the rental fee. The outside of DFG West is nicely designed with the kind of chaotic atmosphere that I like about the Design Festa event. There are various rooms to explore and at the time I visited there were some nice photographs and paintings exhibited. The Gallery cafe is also one of the few places in Tokyo with free WiFi.

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“Going already?” *sniff*

Slightly off the Takeshita dori is a T-Shirt shop called “Design Tshirts Store Graniph“. This is just one store of many and they also have some stores inside other stores. What I like about their design shirts is their tendency to use random German language words. Bad English is just so 90’s! The only time the designers seem to get it right is when they can copy the whole text from the internet e.g. when it’s an older poem. While they have a website in English and show more non-Japanese than in an average Ayumi Hamasaki video, the staff speaks Japanese. That’s a plus in my opinion.

For the irony of it, I bought a shirt with lots of cameras on it. Looks cool, especially if I travel with my digi cam!

Crafts in Insadong & Veggie restaurant

After walking a bit aimlessly around Seoul I felt hungry and I took the subway 3 (the orange one) to Anguk. I love the Insadong area, especially the nice mall which has four floors but no stairs: It is constructed in such a way that you neither have to use the elevator (although there is one) nor use the stairs. Some cafes, restaurants and a place where you can pose as a cover girl/boy are on the top floors, while the rest s filled with crafts. Really nice stuff and great if you are looking for gifts. With my money reserves already depleted, I was window shopping only.

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Eat more Greens

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Since I now know the way from Shinagawa station to my apartment, it’s safe to go to more meetups 😉 Today’s meetup was the vegan meetup at Eat More Greens.

Eat More Greens is a cafe/bakery near Azabu Jyuban Station (Nanboku Line). About six people were attending the meetup, all of them unknown to me, but that was ok. The food was so-so and not as good as the one from the last vegan meetup. Honestly, I felt a bit bored because the discussion at the table was about vegan cooking. Talking about cooking is just not an exciting topic in my opinion 😉

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Vegan Meetup II

The vegan second meet-up (for me, at least) was held at J’s Kitchen. I came late for this one so all of them had already ordered something but that was ok since it was no set menu. There were several new faces among the group and I talked a bit with an Austrian who lives here in Tokyo. He works with video and photo professionally, so the equipment I own must look like toys to him. The food tasted alright but I liked the previous vegan restaurant more.


Going home

The Vegan Meetup

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The day was far from over, however. I did go back to my apartment but I could only spend a few minutes there because it was time for the Vegan Meetup group. The meetup gathered near Kinshicho Station in a restaurant selling various vegetarian and vegan dishes. There were various street musicians playing outside and I had difficulties finding the place (the landmark points were not overly helpfull).

The people at the meetup were very international. The organizer (George) is from the U.S., various Japanese, an Indian and some other nationalities. Being late, I found a place at the end of the long table, sitting next to two Japanese who are part of a band. There was an introduction round where everyone had to tell his/her reason for being a vegetarian. As it turned out, we had an impostor among us: Ray, who is a carnivore (that word sounds quite barbaric, don’t you think?). Of course he had a hard time afterwards, but he’s alright and it’s not like a group of vegetarians/vegans keeps talking about salads and tofu for hours.
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