As a Vegetarian, How can we find the vegetarian Food?
Being a vegetarian abroad is no longer a cause for headaches as over the years and with growing awareness about the specific diet preference by some societies there are now plenty of dedicated and exclusive restaurants that cook vegetarian dishes. Nonetheless, being well-informed before setting out to your next destination, including Japan, being properly prepared is important to have a rewarding experience.
Your diet should first be notified to your airline of choosing since before setting foot on Japanese soil there may be several hours separating you from your destination. Not doing so beforehand could mean you will miss out on eating properly on the airplane. When it comes to accommodation you can ensure having a proper with little research or worries by selecting accommodations with meals included in your room rate (usually breakfast and for an additional fee even lunch and dinner). This way can easily ask the hotel staff about which ingredients are used by the chefs to prepare the various dishes offered at the hotel.
In Japan, despite being a fairly internationalized society with regards to gastronomy, I have not encountered many vegetarian places due to the fact that the Japanese cuisine traditionally chooses variety over quantity. Fruits, vegetables, fish, grains and meats are part of the daily menu in balanced portions to ensure a very healthy diet. The term vegetarian may even be somewhat confusing to some Japanese as they seem to think being a vegetarian means you do not eat red meat. Nonetheless, the more tourists a city receives the more likely you will be able to find vegetarian restaurants.
1 Shojin ryori
Besides increasing tourism shojin ryori, a vegetarian cuisine prepared by Buddhist monks, has also greatly contributed to transforming Japan in a very vegan-friendly destination.
2 Meatless soup
Some seemingly vegetarian dishes, a meatless soup (miso soup, ramen and udon) for example, however are a bit deceiving due to the use of different ingredients, such as bones, pork and fish powder or even raw fish, in the broth to add flavor and consistency. You can, however, still enjoy the delicious noodles that come within the ramen or udon, by ordering them separately before they are poured into the broth. Alternatively, soba, which is made only from buckwheat flour in a special soy sauce and usually served cold, is very suitable for vegetarians.
Ovo-lacto vegetarians have a somewhat wider array of options. A popular dish to try is the Japanese version of a French omelet, Omurice, which is served on a layer of steamed rice and usually served with tomato sauce. Several restaurants even use special food decorations to give the meal some funny details or make it resemble your favorite anime character. Another delicacy I found on the shelves at a convenience store, a konbini, was the egg salad sandwich (with mayonnaise). Although you can find an egg salad sandwich around the world, these with the right balance of having a creamy texture yet also the firmness of a sandwich are the most delicious in my opinion. Convenience stores also offer a wide variety of salads ready to be served with dressings and cutlery included in the packaging as well as fruits, snacks, pastries and even desserts. They might become your best friend against hunger.
Sushi instantly reminds people of raw fish, but the variety of fresh ingredients and the creativity of the chefs have greatly expanded the spectrum of what is prepared in specialized sushi restaurants offering you the opportunity to try many different styles. Complemented with a variety of entrees and desserts sushi, whether it is with egg, fresh vegetables, grilled, with pickles, tofu or even algae, make for a delicious meal without you having to break dietary rules.
For now what rests me to say is bon appetit, or as they say in Japan: Itadakimasu!