So which noodles are vegan in Japan? As a general rule, udon and soba are vegan, while ramen is not. However this is not always the case, so vegans still need to be careful to check for animal ingredients. Below are some examples of vegan and non-vegan noodles in Japan.
How about pasta? That’s not such a problem. Further below are some examples of vegan and non-vegan pasta.
The first soba is not vegan as it contains egg white (卵白):
• Yude (boiling) Japanese Soba. Ingredients: Wheat flour, buckwheat flour, wheat protein, egg white, salt.
The soba below appears to be vegan.
• Nama (raw) Soba. Ingredients: Wheat flour, buckwheat flour, salt, reduced starch syrup, alcohol, acidity regulator, modified starch.
• Yude (boiling) Udon. Ingredients: Wheat flour, salt. Note: manufactured in a facility that also makes products containing egg.
99.9% of ramen noodles are not vegan as they contain egg (vegan ramen is available at some restaurants like T’s Tan Tan in Tokyo Station and Chabuton – see Fast Food).
• Nama (raw) Ramen. Contains whole egg powder.
INSTANT AND CUP NOODLES
Vegan instant or cup noodles are rare in Japan. The noodles in supermarkets all appear to contain animal products. In some specialty stores you can find vegan noodles like these ones.
In 2015 Zen-Foods started selling instant vegan soba and udon which can be bought online. The noodles were created under the supervision of Soji Temple in Yokohama so as to be free of animal products (shojin ryori).
It’s easy to find vegan pasta in supermarkets, but whole wheat pasta is harder to find (it is usually only in smaller specially stores). Vegans also have to be careful with colored pasta, which often contains animal products. Below are some examples of pasta available in Japan.
• Hagoromo 7 Minute Spaghetti. Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina.
• Mitoku Whole Wheat Organic Penne Pasta. Ingredients: Organic durum wheat whole grain flour.
• Dalla Costa Halloween Pasta. Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina, carrot, cuttlefish ink.
• Disney Princess Tricolored Pasta. Ingredients: Durum wheat semolina, spinach, tomato.