This is the second part of my post on veganism in Japan. And today I want to tell you about the pros for vegans.

Japan is heaven for everyone who loves tofu! Firstly, it’s cheap: where else will you find a pack of silk tofu for 20 rubles (€0,2)? Secondly, there are so many types of tofu here that it can be difficult to choose. It can be simply pan fried or deep fried, in dumplings, vegetable patties, and a wide variety of desserts.

Tofu dessert with a walnut

Being vegan in Japan is cool because not only tofu but all soy products are very accessible! Soy meat, okara (soymilk pulp), cooked beans, soy yogurts, ice cream, puddings can be found in almost every supermarket. The dozens of different soymilk flavors alone!

Melon flavored soy milk

When I first came to Japan, almost every day for a few weeks I tried a new kind of mushroom. There is a large variety of tastes and textures: fibrous eringi, thin crispy enoki, juicy shimeji, and beefy shiitake. The familiar white mushrooms, however, are not as widespread here and cost more than other kinds.

Soup with tofu dumplings and shiitake

Japan is an island country which means that there is not only a lot of fish, but seaweed as well. Nori and wakame are just the tip of the iceberg. I always use dried seaweed to cook broth and eat ‘seafood’ salads with different sauces.

Traditional Japanese sweets are a pleasure of their own. Sweets made from sticky rice flour such as mochi or dango can often be vegan, but this should always be double-checked. I used to buy them all the time during my first month in Japan. I hope one day that they will be sold in Russia, too.

Steamed panda-shaped bun with bean paste filling

I really like that the people here are absolutely non-confrontational. Yes, many Japanese people do not really know what veganism is. But among all the times I have talked about my diet, I have never faced aggression or insistent advice such as “Definitely eat meat - it’s healthy/you will die without it.”  People are, of course, curious to learn about a different way of life but nobody here imposes their views on you.

Vegan bento

All in all, navigating the diversity of Japanese food becomes much easier with time. The longer I live here, the more I learn about different products, the more I reconcile with the disadvantages, and the more interesting being vegan becomes. At first, I was at a loss in shops, and now I find so many extraordinary products that sometimes it is too difficult to choose! You just need to know what to look for and where.

Original post:

Translated by: Sofya Pervukhina.