Category Archives: Uncategorized

Vegetarian Indian Food Website Ambika Begins Labeling Vegan Options

Any Indian food fans out there? There are lots of online Indian food shops in Japan selling things like lentils for favorable prices, but they often don’t include ingredient lists of packaged products, making it impossible to work out what’s vegan without contacting the company about each individual product.

We have a message from Ambika, a vegetarian shop which has recently begun labeling their vegan products online. They are listed in our online shopping section as well. Shops labeling their vegan products are still rare in Japan, so let’s support this great initiative.

 

“Hello IsitveganJapan community.

 

I am Nilay speaking to you on behalf of Ambika Veg & Vegan Shop.  We are originally an Indian Vegetarian grocery store.  As a vegetarian store there are already many preexisting vegan products and hence we have begun labelling them as such.  I am the first vegan working at Ambika Veg & Vegan Shop and knowing there are many products that are vegan on our platform we have made navigation on our website much easier.  Under each vegan product there will be a vegan sticker.  This ease of navigation was in high demand from our Vegan customers and something that I am happy to say has started now.  

 

We have a variety of lentils and beans, rice, spices, and dry fruits, among other items.  In total we have more than 800 vegan products to offer. On orders above 8000 yen normal or frozen separately there is free delivery all across Japan (except Okinawa).  We have also started our new store in Seinshincho and our other store is in Kuramae if anyone would like to visit our stores in person.  All of our information is here at ambikajapan.com.

Please feel free to email nishikasai@ambikamail.com with any questions we can help you with or with any products you would like to see in our inventory.” 

Please contact the shop for concerns such as which products contain palm oil.

Here are some examples of vegan products they sell:

 

“Instant Curries

Ambika Dal Palak

Dal Palak

(Lentil & Spinach Curry)

This curry is a healthy instant ready to eat meal. With some rice, chapati or bread you can enjoy an Indian cuisine delight. Lentils are a great source of protein and with the mix of spinach you can savour this medium spiced curry at any time.

Ambika Aloo Raswala

Aloo Raswala

(Tangy, Soupy Potato Curry)

This curry has a blend of many aromatic spices, enjoy this healthy ready to eat curry. Potatoes mixed with various spices to be enjoyed with bread, chapati, or rice.  

 

Instant South Indian 

Ambika Sambhar

Sambhar

(Lentil Spice Mix)

Sambhar is a dish famous in the Southern parts of India.  This instant pack requires a little additional preparation which leads to a whole lot of happiness at the end.  It is usually eaten together with Idli , Dosai.& Rice

Ambika Upma

 

Upma

(Mild and Soothing Semolina dish)

Upma is a dish found in the Southern part of India.  It is a mild dish that can be made into an excitingly spicy dish with the addition of green chilis.  Add your own vegetables to the Upma and enjoy with Sambhar or Chutney.”

 

 

Vegan Options Released in Japan Before Tokyo Olympics

Written by Alina Teodorescu

Just a recap of the new vegan options released this month in Japan (Tokyo)😃Did life here go FROM ‘Oh no! Nowhere I can eat!’ TO ‘damn, too many places, I’ve got to stop cooking and get out and try them’ ?? 🌱🌱 #thefutureisvegan

1)Royal host: Vege Curry
2)Coco Ichibaniya: Soy meat cutlet
3)Beck’s coffee: Vegetable curry
4)Family Mart: Veggie burger and rice bowl (Tokyo only)
5)Marusanai: Vegan protein drink
6)Starbucks: Oat milk and Almond milk options
7)Glico: plant based pudding
8)Tokyo Station plant based souvenir corner

Some include palm oil. It’s still not perfect but it’s a big step forward!

Myoko Forest Lodge – A Great Spot for Vegans

Written by Becky Scott 

 

Myoko Forest Lodge is in a great location, close to many ski resorts, hot springs and shrines, and approximately an 8 minute drive from Myokokogen station.

 

It offers comfortable modern Japanese décor rooms, some with an en-suite bathroom and others with a shared bathroom. Some rooms are shared rooms with bunk beds. There is also an ofuro bath which they will personally prepare in the evening if requested. It’s a private hot tub with showers inside – (like a mini onsen style) – a big square bath with a jet, with local Epsom aromatherapy salts in. There are two separate bathrooms, one with a bath for one person and the other for two people. 

 

Downstairs is a very comfortable and cosy living-relaxation space with a full bar, shared dining table, fireplace and cosy couches.

                                                                                                  

Breakfast is served from 7:00 – 9:00. Continental breakfast is included within the room price, or you can opt to have a cooked breakfast at an additional cost. Cooked breakfast was scrambled tofu on toast (local black rice bread) with avocado and seasonal vegetables.

 

The evening meal can be arranged at a time which suits you at an additional cost. There is a menu to choose from and this may change over time depending on what is locally available. Currently they offer a shiitake veggie burger, pasta, pizza and vegetable dishes. Also on offer were organic vegan wine and local beers.

 

The owners are from Australia and understand veganism very well. They are more than happy to adapt anything to suit the individual’s needs or allergies.

 

The lodge is scheduled to be open all year round (please check the website for updates.) Not only is it good for the winter season, it also makes a great place to visit during spring and summertime, with many outdoor activities in the area.

 

They provide a great amount of local tourist information and are happy to help you book and arrange tours, activities or lessons. Be sure to mention vegan food as a request upon booking.

 

Overall, staying here is a very relaxing and personable experience with great food.

 

  • Central location
  • Value for money
  • Personable experience
  • Home-cooked vegan food
  • English speaking and western friendly
  • Discount offered certain times of the year
  • Locally sourced fresh fruit, vegetables and bread

 

Direct website: https://myokoforestlodge.mydirectstay.com/

 

Instagram: @myoko_forest_lodge  #myoko_forest_lodge

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MyokoForestLodge/

 

AirKitchen Vegan Cooking Classes in Local Japanese Homes

AirKitchen is a Tokyo-based startup that offers vegan cooking classes in locals’ homes across Japan. The service is similar to Airbnb, enabling Japanese hosts to register their home-cooking classes that users can then book online. Being vegan should not detract from your experience of Japanese culture and cuisine, and you can learn how to make vegan ramen, sushi, shojin ryori, and more through airKitchen!

 

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No Japanese language ability is needed, as all hosts speak some degree of English. AirKitchen experiences go beyond just cooking, but also sharing an intimate cultural exchange experience with your Japanese host – if you’re not Japanese, of course. Plus, you’ll gain Japanese vegan cooking skills and knowledge to bring home with you!

 

 

airKitchen 3

How to Book an airKitchen Cooking Class

  1. Browse class listings near you on the airKitchen website. You can filter for vegan and vegetarian classes, or use the search function to find veg-friendly classes.
  2. When you find a class you’re interested in, send a booking request to the host through the website.
  3. Once the host accepts your booking request, they will meet you at the train station closest to them or at their home on the reservation date.
  4. During the class, you’ll learn how to cook their specialty and then enjoy the meal together!

 

airKitchen 4

▼Tokyo vegan cooking classes: https://airkitchen.me/list/tokyo/vegan.php

▼Osaka vegetarian cooking classes (many vegan-friendly): https://airkitchen.me/list/osaka/category/vegetarian/

▼Kyoto vegetarian cooking classes (many vegan-friendly): https://airkitchen.me/list/kyoto/category/vegetarian/

airKitchen website: https://airkitchen.me/

 

airKitchen 1

Sofie, from Sweden, wrote about her airKitchen vegan omurice cooking class:

“Cooking with Naoki was very fun! We met up at the nearest station and walked for about 10 minutes to Naoki’s home, a traditional Japanese apartment, where we felt very welcome. Naoki is definitely a generous host. Naoki didn’t speak english and we knew next to no Japanese, but thanks to Akiko, who joined us, we were able to have a lot of fun cooking and have great conversations. We learned a lot of interesting things about vegan cooking and being vegan in Japan. It was fun comparing to how it is in our own country, Sweden. After cooking, some of Naoki’s friends joined us for dinner. All in all it was a very warm and fulfilling experience. Thank you very much!”

airKitchenロゴ

I only ate vegan food from 7 Eleven in Japan for 24 hours

Popular Australian YouTuber Pretty Pastel Please (@prettypastelplease) makes a YouTube video, “I only ate vegan food from 7 Eleven in Japan for 24 hours” on request for her fans using http://www.isitveganjapan.com as a resource.

Check it out if you’re interested in honest reviews of vegan items you can get at 7-11.

Please note that every attempt is made to ensure that information on the website is correct but that convenience store products and ingredients change extremely quickly.

7-11 food from Japan for 24 hours Pretty Pastel Please

 

Foodie Adventure Japan Vegan Tours

Did you know that yes, you can participate in a vegan tour in Japan? Here are the details about tours for vegan food-lovers available in Tokyo by Foodie Adventure Japan:

Hello vegan foodies! My name is Jackie, and I am the vegan tour guide here in Tokyo for Foodie Adventure Japan. Foodie Adventure Japan was started by my good friend Gizem when she realized that people traveling to Japan may have some difficulty experiencing all Tokyo has to offer due to a variety of dietary needs such as gluten free, vegan, or halal. That’s when Gizem reached out to me, a long term vegan, to create a vegan tour that ensures you can travel here in Japan and experience all the wonderful food and culture—all while being vegan! I have a passion for showing the world that you can travel and dive deep into another country, and that you don’t have to compromise what you believe in to do it.  At Foodie Adventure Japan, we make sure every stop we take our guests to is a locally-owned business, in order to give back to the community and ensure these businesses that align with our values are being rewarded.

We have multiple vegan tour options, with more being added each month. Currently, you can pick from a Shibuya Vegan Tour or a Harajuku Vegan Ramen Tour.

Shibuya Tour:
On the Shibuya Vegan Tour, you will get to indulge in a traditional Japanese set meal of vegan fried chicken. Then we will head towards the famous Shibuya Crossing and make some small stops along the way to learn about some vegan snacks and infamous Japanese agriculture! We arrive at a look out over the crossing where you will witness the madness below, peacefully above the chaos. Lastly, we will head towards Harajuku and Omotesando. Along the way we will take some backstreets so you can experience the true side of Harajuku and will lead to the holy grail: the fluffiest vegan donuts around! The tour concludes in Harajuku, where you can go on to Yoyogi Park, Takeshita street, or easily catch the train.

Harajuku Tour:
The Vegan Ramen Tour begins at an ethical ramen stand, where all their ingredients are locally and ethically sourced. You will enjoy a unique take on the traditional ramen recipe, but we promise it’s one worth indulging in. Then we head down the famous Takeshita street and hopefully catch a glimpse of the Harajuku girls in between kawaii photo booth shoots. We will satisfy our sweet tooth on one of Harajuku’s popular treats before heading towards Shibuya, which will take us on the backside of Harajuku. We will pick up some delicious donuts along the way to the crossing, where we end at Hachiko Statue.

Our next tour that will be added this month is a vegan night tour, which includes okonomiyaki and drinks in the famous Shinjuku district.

Throughout the three hour walking tour I am always happy to pass on any and all tips or tricks I have found after living for three years as a vegan here in Japan. We also will make a stop on both of the tours in a convenience store, where I can show you some go-to vegan friendly snacks! At the end of the tour you will receive some helpful material which will hopefully make the rest of your trip in Japan a breeze!

You can sign up for the tours at https://foodiejapan.com/

 

Vegan and Halal Black Forest Cake Now Available in the Kanto Area

A new vegan and halal cake is available in the Kanto area. It can either be picked up at Ikebukuro station in Tokyo or Asaka Station on the Tobu Tojo Line in Saitama, or shipped to locations in Kanto.

The information is as follows:

“Vegan Black Forest Cake is Now Available in Japan
Good news for your sweet tooth! You can now order a vegan Black Forest Cake (BFC). It’s a perfect treat for the health conscious. Made in a family kitchen, only the most carefully selected ingredients are used. Unlike most other cakes that contain white sugar, our BFC is sweetened using beet sugar. And for flavor, vanilla bean seeds are used instead of vanilla essence or alcohol. So it’s totally alcohol free!!! When in season, fresh cherries are used. Otherwise we opt for high quality, non-colored canned cherries instead.

Our body is a trust from God, never take it for granted. So let’s take care of it in the best possible way by starting to eat healthy. Eat that which is not only taste good, but also good for our health.

Our Black Forest Cake measures 18cm in diameter, decorated with vegan soy whip cream and vegan dark chocolate.

For a limited time only, you can get your hands on this must have treat for *4000yen only, after tax and refrigerated shipping, to Tokyo and Saitama (500yen shipping for area other than mentioned). Pick up also available at Asaka and Ikebukuro station. It’s available only for the first 10 orders until July 31st 2019. So be sure to place your orders as soon as possible. It’s selling out quickly. Currently only 5 promo cakes are available as per this article is posted.

*Standard price after campaign promo is 6000yen inclusive of tax and refrigerated shipping across Kanto. 600yen discount available if picked up at Asaka or Ikebukuro station.

Orders can be placed via instagram Direct Message to @kikaramel , via e-mail to kikaramel(at)gmail(dot)com, or via message to Facebook Page ‘Kikaramelized’. Mention that you want the cake, then give details of expected delivery date and time, plus your address. You’ll get replied with the payment method** as soon as we got your order.
**JP Bank transfer, or PayPal (with extra 452yen fee)

Comments from customers:
The cake looked absolutely gorgeous! It was rich in flavors yet so light that I couldn’t resist another slice. As the size was rather big and it wasn’t overly sweet, I happily had the leftover in the following morning. -Kaori

It’s soooo good!! Since it’s vegan, no guilty feeling eating it no matter how much ^^ -Eka
I was initially skeptical about how good a vegan cake would match up to coventional ones, but my doubts were laid to rest the moment I tried it. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised afterwards and now have a new found craving. – Bibi

It’s sooooo good, like.. really!!! I’ve tried it, the cake was soft with light sweetness. Perfect for the sweet tooth on a diet. – Rizka”

As a vegan cake, it’s so good. Recommended. Not many vegan cake could taste as good as normal cake. I can’t really tell the difference with non-vegan cake. -Nisa

About the chef:
Kikaramel has an insatiable passion for cooking and she’s a self-taught chef-in her own kitchen ever since she came to Japan in 2013. She began embracing a vegan diet in late 2015. She used to teach vegan Indonesian cooking classes at Shoji Izumi kitchen and contributed a number of recipes in the ‘Vegan Recipe of the World’ cookbook by Shoji Izumi in 2016.”

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NEWSTART Cooking Classes Enter 11th Year

I participated in the NEWSTART cooking class in Harajuku on May 19th. This long-running cooking class has been held for 11 years.

The classes are held 8 times a year and the menu is different every time. The recipes are chosen for their healthfulness and use only a limited amount of sugar and oils. All the recipes are vegan.

This time, we learned how to make a menu of pasta primavera, gazpacho, “tuna” salad, and banana pudding.

Everyone’s tastes are different, but my personal favorites were the gazpacho and the banana pudding. I’d never considered making a pudding without a thickener like agar, but this simple pudding relied on just the banana and tofu to thicken it, along with salt, cashew nuts and some maple syrup on top. I think it would also be good with some strawberries blended in as well.

The gazpacho was refreshing and would be perfect for the upcoming hot weather.

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There were also various vegan foods and ingredients available for purchase after the class, including ground cashew nuts, cashew nut “cheese,” vegan ramen, muffins, and much more. This was a good chance to pick up some ingredients and foods that I don’t usually see in the store.

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There is an optional nutrition lecture (held in Japanese, except once a year when there’s a guest lecturer from the U.S., in which case it’s translated into Japanese) that begins 30 minutes before the class, or it’s fine to join just for the class itself.

The recipes are in Japanese but help can be provided translating them into English.

The next class will be held on June 23rd, 2019 in Harajuku, and the theme will be Asian-style food, including a tofu and bean salad, young bamboo shoots with wakame seaweed, raw spring rolls, and fruit and nut balls, and soft brown rice. The class is from 10:30 to 2:00, including the lecture before we start cooking.  Participation fee is ¥3000, but first-time participants get a discount of¥500.

To join, please comment on one of the NEWSTART cooking class posts on Facebook, such as in the group Vegan Japan  ヴィーガン日本, or call 0495-74-0232 between 9 and 5 Mon-Thur, and between 9 and 12 on Friday. If you need to speak with an English-speaker, just make that known and you will be transferred.  

*I was provided one free cooking class in exchange for writing this review. I purchased ingredients to take home with my own money.

Vego Chocolate Hazelnut Bars available in Japan

For a limited time only, certified vegan Vego chocolate bars from Europe are available for purchase in Japan.

From the seller: “The Vego bar is different from most other chocolates available in Japan, because they are vegan, gluten free, organic, and fairly traded. They are made using whole hazelnuts, the finest chocolate and hazelnut paste. The result; a dreamy creamy hazelnut chocolate experience!

For the first time ever, they are available to purchase within Japan for a limited time only. That means once they are gone, they’re gone!
You can purchase from here (https://greenbird8.thebase.in), or via PayPal; samshiding@hotmail.com (please contact via email first).”

We tried the bars and found them to have the smoothness of milk chocolate, without any of the unpleasant chalkiness lower-quality chocolate can sometimes have. The whole hazelnuts inside were crunchy. The bars also melted perfectly so were good for cooking with.

Product details:

65g or 150g sizes.

• VegoIngredients: Cane sugar, whole hazelnuts (20%), cocoa mass, hazelnut paste, cocoa butter, emulsifier: (soy lecithin for the 65g bar, sunflower lecithin for the 150g bar), vanilla extract.

Contains: Tree nuts (hazelnuts)

May contain: Traces of other nuts and milk.

Vegan, organic, fair-trade, and gluten-free. Made of fine chocolate with hazelnut paste added in, resulting in a smooth and creamy chocolate, and generously packed with whole hazelnuts.

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