My Plant-Based Experience in Japan
Japan is an absolute wonderland. It’s beautiful. It’s clean. It’s well-preserved and forward moving, It’s everything I never knew I wanted to see in a country. And it is also everything I never knew I wanted to taste.
I, of course, had my set of worries before we left for our two week trek to Asia. But I went in with an open mind, ready to try whatever our surroundings and journey had to offer. And at the end of the trip, I found that I felt better than before.
Here are a few my favorite edible and drinkable things Kyoto and Tokyo had to offer:
If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably seen one too many triangle, seaweed, rice-ball looking things posted on my stories. My friends, I present to you….Onigiri. Onigiri was serious a LIFESAVER on our busy days. Not only are they incredibly affordable and on the corner of every street at 7/11 or Lawsons (a side note, 7/11 is noooooot the same in Japan. It’s like a little piece of heaven on every single street corner), but they give you just the energy and caloric boost you need to continue your day’s ventures. My favorite ongiri that I tried was a seaweed filled one. If you live in Houston and you’re wanted to give it a try, check on Ramen Okidoki in Chinatown and order the kimchi onigiri. YUM.
They’re also incredibly easy to make and assemble. I’ll post a recipe and guide on how to make them soon-my guy and I have been having fun with them in kitchen.
FERMENTED SESAME RICE DRINK
Fermented EVERYTHING for that matter. I am beginning to suspect that this is the reason that I felt so wonderful during our travels. My gut was constantly full of good bacteria, of probiotics. There was a particular beverage that we discovered in a Juicebar in Shibuya. It had fermented rice milk, black sesame, maple syrup, and orange zest sprinkled on top. Oh my gosh. When I tell you it was amazing….It was amazing. I went back a second time. And drank half of Danny’s. I’ll be in the kitchen trying to figure out how to recreate this guy too. Stay tuned!
Okay so another fantastic and convenient thing we acquainted ourselves with were Bento Boxes. These were especially efficient and yummy to grab when you’re on a long train ride. You can get sushi bento boxes (there are vegan and vegetarian options if you’re not a fish-eating plant-based eater). You can get sashimi bento boxes if you’re into that. You can get little sandwich bento boxes. They’re fantastic and I wish that we had a place in Houston that made strictly bento boxes (any takers???)
You had to have known this one was coming. But you know what, I was surprisingly less into matcha in Japan than I thought I would be. I think the reason is because a lot of the matcha beverages there were either very sweet, or in the form of something creamy and dairy-filled. BUT I did stop by a little tea stand, Ippodo, in Shinjuku, to pick up the yummiest, creamiest, most beautiful green-colored Matcha I’ve ever laid my eyes on. There are also a ton of vending machines around Kyoto and Tokyo where you can get very affordable bottles of pure, healthy green tea. These are very refreshing and good to have on the long days of walking (which was pretty much everyday for us).
Of course I had to try Ramen when I was there. If you know Danny, you know he is obsessed with Ramen. So since we were in Japan, I had to try it with him. And, for a heavier meal, I actually didn’t feel horrible after eating. I feel like this speaks to the quality of food and lack of processed ingredients Japanese food contains. I will say, if you’re going to pass the meat from your ramen to someone else like I did, it’s a good idea to be discreet about it. It’s considered an insult to the chef to pick and choose what you want to eat from your bowl, and it’s expected that you finish everything. I wasn’t about to disrupt my digestion just for the sake of finishing my serving, but I also didn’t want to be rude so I passed Danny my pork when the chef’s weren’t looking. Heh.
This is just touching the surface of Japanese food and cuisine, but I would love to share with you my recreated versions of what we tried on our travels, so be on the lookout for that.
Until next time,