Noodles and seafood-loving Japan is slowly changing its ways to accommodate a more diverse set of dietary lifestyles. With the rise of more vegan and vegetarian restaurants – including ramen – businesses are recognising the need for meat-free and organic options. However, the beloved convenience store, with its cases of fried chicken and freezers of ice cream, is still off-limits to meat-eschewing folks.
Long-suffering vegans settling for plain salted rice balls at the konbini no longer have to scrutinise the ingredients list. A new vegan-only convenience store, appropriately named Vegan Store, has opened in Asakusa, offering classic convenience store food in animal-free forms. Enter through the wooden facade and you’ll be faced with a meat and dairy-free wonderland, where anyone, not just vegans, can pick up nut milk, a meatless bento to take back to the office, and even dairy-free ice cream.
The convenience store also houses a casual restaurant serving vegan AND gluten-free dishes made from organic (and pesticide-free) vegetables. The vegan cheese, nut milk, gluten-free noodles and bread are all made in-house – and the best part is, the meals are quite affordable too, ranging from ¥500 to ¥3,000.