Wandering around a festival in Japan it is easy to feel surrounded by food like ‘meat on a stick’, takoyaki and choco banana. But, looking a little more closely, you will see a wide range of vegan options. Below are some of them.
Festival food in Japan is seasonal and all the food below was being sold at a summer festival.
Note the colored/flavored sugar sold online to make cotton candy/fairy floss seem to use synthetic FD&C food coloring rather than cochineal, however cochineal may be used for red candy apples, pink chocolate-dipped bananas and so on.
Baked potato (Jaga batā)
Baked potato with salt. Just say you don’t want butter (batā nashi onegaishimasu).
Corn on a stick
This one goes in the category of ‘probably vegan’ – it pays to check that no butter has been added. Usually the corn is just brushed with soy sauce as it is cooked.
Shaved ice (Kakigori)
Shaved ice served with your choice of flavoured syrup. Although it’s likely the coloring is synthetic, some brands of flavored syrup used at festivals use honey (ハチミツ入り/hachimitsu iri). Be sure to order the shaved ice without the condensed milk topping that is sometimes offered.
Cucumber on a stick
Served chilled with salt.
Other fruit (often on sticks)
Other fruit like pineapple and watermelon can be found in summer.
Edamame is available just about everywhere in Japan, including festivals.
As always the danger is in the oil used to cook the potato, so probably best to check this.
Candy apples (Ringo ame)
Candy grapes are also available.
Candy floss / fairy floss
Again, animal-derived food colouring may be an issue.
Roasted chestnuts – also available in many supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan.
Once again, these may contain animal-derived food colouring.