It’s not too difficult to find wheat gluten in Japan. You can usually find bags of gluten in the cake baking section of the supermarket. The traditional Japanese form of wheat gluten, ‘Fu’ (麩 / ふ) , is easy to find too. It is either sold raw as ‘nama-fu’ (生麩 / なまふ), or dry as ‘yaki-fu’ (焼き麩 / やきふ). Deep-fried wheat gluten is called ‘abura-fu’ (あぶら麩).
On the other hand, seitan, or vital wheat gluten, is not well known and can be difficult to find in Japan. Below are some examples of gluten products commonly available in Japan.
• Kyoritsu Foods Wheat Gluten/共立食品 小麦グルテン. Ingredients: Wheat protein. Manufactured in a facility that also makes products containing egg and milk.
Vege Project Japan has certified Sendai Deep-Fried Gluten Slices and Sendai Miso Rusk as vegan.
• Sendai-fu Deep-Fried Gluten Slices/仙台麩スライス（あぶら麩). Ingredients: wheat flour, gluten, vegetable oil (soybean oil).
It is a traditional food of the Tome area in northern Miyagi prefecture, consisting of kneaded wheat protein (gluten) as the main ingredient, hand-made using soybean oil. Appears similar to small baguette slices. You can enjoy them by boiling or using in soups. Product is on the right in the photo. Photo courtesy of Vege Project Japan.
• Sendai-fu Miso Rusk/仙台味噌味のラスク. Ingredients: Deep-fried gluten slices, sugar, miso. (Contains wheat and soybeans.)
Sendai Miso is used in these crisp, sweet piece of twice-baked bread. They look similar to small baguette slices.
Can be eaten as-is or with non-dairy cheese or ice cream.
Many wheat gluten products at the supermarket appear to be vegan from the ingredient list, but some contain vitamin E/ビタミンE (unknown source) as an antioxidant. The three products below contain vitamin E. However, the two products on the left that use pink coloring use artificial coloring, not cochineal.
There are also specialty gluten ‘meat’ products available in some stores and online.
• San Iku Gluten Meat. Ingredients: Wheat protein, soy sauce (contains soy), coarse salt, kombu extract, soy oil, sugar, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, yeast extract.