Ramen is Japanese noodle soup dish originated from China. Because of its origin, the word ramen is written in katakana, Japanese alphabets for foreign names. Japanese ramen is very different than the typical Chinese ramen. Japanese ramen relies heavily on its dashi or soup which is made from konbu or kelp, dried shiitake mushroom, bonito flakes, dried small anchovies, soy sauce and mirin. Typical Japanese ramen is served with chashu or marinated pork belly.
When healthy and vegetarian food becomes a lifestyle, Japan starts following the trend. Many Tokyoites are more and more aware on the importance of healthy food. While staying away from carbohydrate is almost impossible for Japanese, reducing meat and eat more veggie have become more realistic options to choose for a healthy lifestyle. There are several delicious vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo serving salad, healthy sandwich and other type of non meat dishes. Vegetarian ramen starts entering the market and gaining popularity amongst the local. Tokyo now finally has vegetarian ramen that does not use any meat, egg and diary. Reviews of how tasty vegetarian ramen are flying all over the internet. Still, finding vegetarian ramen in Tokyo is not as easy as we want it to be.
I have been relentlessly finding good vegetarian ramen in town for some time now. I could only find 4 tasty vegetarian ramen to recommend to you all. Surprisingly, these restaurants are always crowded during lunch or dinner time. Most of their customers are Japanese especially women instead of foreigners who really are vegetarian. None can avoid delicious and healthy food after all.
There are many types of ramen in Japan. The difference is in the ingredients used for strengthen the flavour of the soup. Soy sauce, miso, soybean milk and shoyu are common ingredients used to elevate the soup’s flavour. Miso is fermented soybean paste and rice malt which frequently used in Japanese cuisines.
These are 4 delicious vegetarian ramen to try in Tokyo:
T’s Tantan restaurant is fully vegan restaurant that does not include egg, diary, meat neither fish in any of their dish. The restaurant may look modest but the vegetarian ramens here are the best. This restaurant offers wide varieties of ramen but its black and white tan tan men (dan dan noodles) are the best amongst all. Ramen tan tan uses soy milk, sesame seed and miso to thicken up and add up more flavour to the soup. The black colour of tan tan is coming from black sesame used for the soup.
T’s Tantan uses tofu as protein for the dish. This restaurant also sells daizu meat or soy bean mock meat which is made from tofu. The taste is similar with tofu except for its hard texture and looks exactly like a real meat. This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The breakfast menu is slightly lighter than regular menu yet fulfilling enough for early morning or brunch. I’ve become a frequent customer of T’s Tantan, never once finding the restaurant empty. The busiest time is lunch and after office hour.
Where to find it: Keio Street inside the Tokyo Station
Cafe 6BT – Closed
With its concept no meat, fish, diary, egg, refined sugar and MSG, Cafe 6BT is truly dedicated to healthy food fan. Its dan dan is not only delicious but also packed with green veggies. Its Tantan ramen is light yet tasty. This cafe also serves various healthy menu like salad and cold pressed juice. It opens at 1130am and close late in the evening. The most delicious ramen is Tantan and curry ramen. Unfortunately, Cafe 6BT was closed on 31 December 2016.
Ramen Museum is dedicated to ramen lovers from all over the world including vegetarian ramen that is dedicated to vegetarian and those who don’t eat pork. There are several restaurants serving vegetarian menu inside Ramen Museum. The vegetarian ramen menu is varied from miso ramen, tan tan, soy sauce and shoyu ramen. Vegetarian shoyu ramen soup is based on vegetable stock: kelp and dried shiitake and used plenty of soy sauce. There’s a vegetarian menu guide pamphlet that explain types of ingredients used to create the menu. Some of vegetarian ramen are still using eggs for the noodles. The Ramen Museum however is not a dedicated place for vegetarian neither has any restaurant serving vegetarian menu only.
Where to find it: Shin Yokohama, 17 minutes train ride from Tokyo Station
Soranoiro Japan is popular ramen restaurant. It only comes up with vegetarian menu recently to cater tourists food restriction and those on diet. There are only two vegetarian ramen in Soranoiro Japan: veggie ramen and gluten free vegan ramen. Unlike the other three places, vegetarian ramen in Soranoiro is low sodium and weak taste. I had to add up salt and pepper to bring more flavour to the dish. Those in diet will find pleasure in taking this ramen.
Where to find it: Ramen street of Tokyo Station
Are you interested in trying vegetarian ramen while visiting Tokyo?