Japanese Fruit Flavored Soy Milks!

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Japanese Fruit Flavored Soy Milks(From left: Mango, Strawberry, Melon, Yuzu)

Japan has an amazing variety of soy milks. In America, it’s easy to find chocolate, vanilla, and plain soy milk. Here in Japan, there are fruit flavors coffee and tea flavors along with many others. For this blog post, I will review some of the fruit flavors you can find at grocery stores in Japan.

You can find these small soy milk boxes at convenience stores like 7/11, Family Mart, and Lawson. You can also find them at grocery stores as well. They sell for about 80¥-100¥/box (about 0.80-$1.00). There is around a cup of soy milk in each. You can find larger containers at grocery stores but you probably won’t be able to find these flavors. They tend to only sell certain flavors in larger containers (coffee, earl grey tea, fruit, and more can be found in larger containers). The larger containers sell for about 150¥ to 225¥ and has the same quantity of soy milk you can find in American containers.

My favorite of these four was definitely the melon. It tasted like cantaloupe and wasn’t extremely sweet like you might think a fruit flavored soy milk would be. My second favorite was the yuzu. It wasn’t a flavor I was very familiar with but it wasn’t very sweet and tasked great. The mango was a little sweet for me but tasted similar to a mango lassi. The strawberry was probably my least favorite. I thought I would like strawberry a lot but the flavor tasted imitation and wasn’t very sweet. I think the mango and the strawberry tasked more like juice mixed with soy milk, whereas the melon and yuzu retained their soy milk texture and taste.

I’ve also had the fruit soy milk, which was very sweet for me. I mixed it with unsweetened soy milk and it made the taste much more bearable.

I also uploaded a video to YouTube where you can see us taste these flavors for the first time! Check it out below.Subscribe to my blog for more videos and blog posts!
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How to get Vegan Conveyor Belt Sushi in Tokyo!

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There’s no reason to fear getting cheap, vegan sushi in a fun atmosphere in Tokyo! There are two conveyor belt sushi restaurants that I’ve tried in Shibuya, Tokyo. Genki Sushi and their sister restaurant Uobei Sushi offer an affordable option while you’re in Tokyo. The sushi costs between 108¥ and 129¥ per roll. To make your experience more simple, I created a video that you can watch at the bottom of this post. Below are some tips for dining at one of these restaurants.

Getting Seated: As you enter the restaurant, the staff will give you a small clip board that has a number on it. Go to the seat labeled with that number.

Drinks: There are water stations nearby. Grab a cup and fill it with water. Once you get back to your seat, there will be some cups above you along with small dishes. The cups are for green tea and dishes for wasabi and soy sauce. You can also order a variety of soft drinks, beer, and mixed drinks using the touch screen. At your table you have access to all the green tea you can drink!

Using the Touch Screen: Change the touch screen language to English (or your preferred language). Look through the sushi rolls for your preferred rolls. My favorites are the inari, kanpyo, and natto. They also have french fries on the sides menu and cucumber rolls. Press order! You can order up to 3 items at once, since this is the maximum number of items the tray will fit. You can order more items immediately after submitting your order.

Receiving your Order: Once your order arrives, take your plates and press the lighted button to return the tray. Take a pair of chopsticks and grab as much wasabi and ginger as you’d like!

Paying: There are take-out boxes on the shelf above you, if you’re interested in ordering some cheap food to eat at the hotel! On the touch screen, click account to bring up your bill then click check out. Bring your clipboard to the counter to pay. Easy!

It’s important to note that you should be careful as soy sauce sometimes contains bonito flakes (tuna flakes). When is doubt, bring your own or enjoy without soy sauce!

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As for the quality of the food, I think it’s as good as it gets for this price. You can find similar food at convenience stores, but the price will be higher. Pictured above is natto, a fermented soy bean. It’s popular in Japan, but many people dislike the smell and the stickiness of natto. I would only choose this if you’re adventurous. Other vegan options include: inari (sweet tofu skins stuffed with rice), kanpyo roll (sweet squash), cucumber roll, and french fries.

If you’re traveling in Japan, I would definitely check out Genki Sushi. They have locations all over Japan!

Link to restaurant website: http://www.genkisushi.co.jp

 

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Vegan Donuts in Tokyo: Review of Doughnut Plant, Shinjuku

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Hello everyone! Elton here! This is my first post on TOFUsenshi.com, but I’m excited because I’m writing about one of my favorite things: vegan donuts! Actually, I love all vegan desserts like cake and cheesecake, but donuts hold a special place in my heart.

I am so happy that I am able to find vegan donuts here in Tokyo. I first heard about Doughnut Plant through Twitter and Instagram about two months before coming to Tokyo. When I moved toTokyo, I stayed in a hotel in Shinjuku, so on the 1st day, I made it a mission to find Doughnut Plant, which was not far from my hotel at all.

Doughnut Plant, Shinjuku Store Front

Storefront of Doughnut Plant, Shinjuku in LUMINE EST

First a little about the company. Doughnut Plant is originally from New York City. I’ve been to New York City dozens of times,being originally from Philadelphia, but I admit that I’ve never heard of them before. Unlike other conventional donut shops, Doughnut Plant does not use egg in any of their baked goods. They do use cow’s milk, however, making them not suitable for vegans. Here in Tokyo, not only do they not use eggs either, but select donuts are made with soymilk instead of cow’s milk. That makes them vegan friendly! Though not everything they made is vegan-friendly, so be sure to check their website in advance, or be careful in reading the labels. Luckily, the donuts made with soymilk are clearly marked in English and Japanese. I do suggest going to the shop earlier in the day, as they might run out of the soymilk donuts!

Freshly Made Soymilk Donuts

Soymilk-made donuts are clearly marked in English and Japanese

I’ve gone to Donut Plant three times now, and both times there has been two types of soymilk-made donuts to choose from! The great thing about Donut Plant in Tokyo is that their menu changes with the season. Let me now talk about the delicious flavors I’ve been able to try:

 

 

SALTY CARAMEL
This was my 1st taste of Doughnut Plant! It was really good! It wasn’t overly sweet, or overly salty. I had a great balance that worked really well. I didn’t have it with coffee, but it was have been a perfect companion to a nice hot cup of coffee. Available from June 5 to July 16, 2014 only. I was glad to be able to get one, because when I first went, the second soymilk-made donut choice wasn’t available.

Salty Caramel Donut

Salty Caramel Donut, with walnuts

COCONUT CITRUS
This was also supposed to available at the same time Salty Caramel came out, but they didn’t have it when I 1st went. So, I definitely had to go back! I personally am not super crazy about shredded coconut, but this was just the right amount! The citrus flavor was light, and it complimented the sugary coconut sheds very well!

Coconut Citrus donut

Coconut Citrus donut, with shredded candied coconut

WILD BLUEBERRY
My third time back their website said they had Wild Blueberry and Pistachio soy-milk made donuts available from July 17 to August 31, 2014, but when I came only the Blueberry one was left. I can’t complain though, because this, too was very good. It wasn’t too sweet, but I wish it did have more pieces of blueberries on it. The one that I got had two or three small pieces on it, so it would have been even tastier with more.

Wild Blueberry Donut

Wild Blueberry Donut, with blueberries and a berry glaze

All in all, the prices are pretty reasonable. Cheaper than your average doughnut shop, but at the same price point as specialty donut shops. At around 300 to 320 Japanese Yen, they end up about $3.00 USD. They take credit card, too, so that’s good. Also, I just discovered that if you go to their website, you can sign up to receive monthly coupons though email! It’s about 30 yen off, so that knocks the price down a little.

Wild Berry Donut

Reasonably priced, around 300 to 320 yen

Getting there was challenging on the 1st time. For those new to Tokyo or the Shinjuku area, it can be a bit scary to navigate. The mistake I made was going to the 1st Lumine mall I saw, not knowing that there is in fact three different buildings that the mall Lumine occupies. When you are looking for this particular donut shop, make sure you are going into LUMINE EST and not Lumine 1 or Lumine 2. I will also say that the shop is more of a large stall on the ground floor, and not a shop that you can walk into and sit. It’s by the JR exits, but around Shinjuku Station, pretty much everything is! The address is below in both Japanese and English:

ルミネエスト新宿店
160-0022
東京都新宿区新宿3-38-1

Lumine EST Shinjuku
160-0022
Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 3-38-1

Japanese website: http://www.doughnutplant.jp/

I will definitely be back to try the Pistachio flavor before the end of August, and I’ll be back more to check out their other offerings! Have any of you been able to try other yummy limited edition soymilk flavors? Let me know in the comments! Happy eating!

 

A Review of Gopinatha in Nakano, Tokyo, Japan

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Gopinatha

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Nakano, Tokyo

English Website: http://gopinathaveggie.blogspot.jp

I was really excited to find a local place that offered vegan cuisine near where I live. I came across Gopinatha a short walk from Nakano station in Tokyo. I couldn’t find any reviews on Happy Cow or Yelp, so I thought I’d give it a try regardless… and I’m so happy I did!

If you haven’t been to Nakano yet, I highly recommend it. Among the universities of Nakano and right outside of Nakano Station is Nakano Broadway, which is a anime and manga lovers paradise. There are also many shops and one popular store is Uniqlo (which is spreading across America now).

The restaurant is small. There’s about 10 seats in the entire place. This was exactly what I was looking for! My first real Japanese restaurant experience! The owner does a good job at soliciting business from English speakers though. The menu has English, they have an English Website, and they have a map on their website in English. See below.

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The directions were very easy to follow and very helpful! The outside of the building was discreet, so try to be aware while walking down the street by looking for the name of the restaurant. I captured a picture of the outside of the restaurant below.

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Aside from the restaurant being small, it’s was quiet too. When I got to the restaurant, there was only one other person there. After we got there around 2pm, the restaurant filled up quickly. There are indian spices and beans among other items for sale by the sliding door. The restaurant also had bookshelves filled with interested books for those traveling alone.

The menu is very vegan friendly. I assume they only use egg or dairy in some of the items but most menu items state they can be made vegan as well. I went for the set, which was vegan. Here are some photos of the menu:
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The vegan set was only 900¥ or about $9 US Dollars. Everything is made fresh to order, which made the meal even more delightful. The soup was light, but very flavorful. The dressing on the salad was tahini and some other green vegetable blended. The potatoes were my favorite, with a mustard on top. The avocado was spicy, and the tomatoes balanced out the spice. These were really good as well. Check out my photos:

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I thought the meal was satisfying and affordable. After seeing a vegan tiramisu on the board for dessert, I had to try it! It was very good and recommended! They also had a carrot cake, but I’ll have to try that next time!

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Like most places in Japan, this restaurant is CASH ONLY. Although some say the restaurant is an Indian restaurant, I wouldn’t really call it that. It’s more Indian inspired Japanese food. Indian food is much heavier than this. I can’t wait to go back here!

After the restaurant, we headed to the 68th annual Mitama Matsuri Festival in Tokyo! That was a great experience for my first festival in Japan. You can check out a video of it here:

Make sure you subscribe for more updates on vegan food and my travels in Japan! Until next time!

A Review of Trader Joe’s Breaded Turkey-Less Stuffed Roasts

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I was surprised to see these pop up just in time for Thanksgiving. They sell in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s close to the other frozen veggie-meat foods. They are most likely manufactured by Gardein. These little roasts sell for $4.99 and are a quick and easy meal. If you want to try them, I’d get them quick since they will probably only be available around the holidays, like the Turkeyless Stuffed Roast (< click to see my review of the roast).

The package contains 2 cranberry stuffed roasts and 2 packets of gravy.

Here’s a snapshot of the nutrition and ingredients:

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They come frozen so I cooked them in my toaster oven and followed to directions on the package. For the gravy I opted for using the microwave.

After cooking:

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The Verdict:

These roasts were easy to cook and fast to prepare. You could even microwave the roasts if you’re in a pinch for time. I think these roasts are great for people traveling to a non-vegan friend or relative’s for the holidays as something easy to prepare on site.

As for the taste, I thought the roasts were good and comparable to the larger Trader Joe’s roast that I reviewed last year. I believe the gravy might be the same, which I personally don’t like. I think the gravy could use a bit more flavor and I always prepare my own. The major difference between these roasts to the larger was the fried coating.

Have you tried these new Trader Joe’s roasts yet? If so, let me know what you think in the comments or send me a message on Twitter!

Looking for my review of the Trader Joe’s Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast with Gravy? Click here!

Trader Joe's Turkey-less Stuffed Roast

A Low Calorie Vegan Ice Cream: Wink

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Wink Frozen Desserts

This past weekend I attended the Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, MD. One of the more exciting new products I saw at the event was a new vegan ice cream made by the company, Wink. The thing that really got me hooked on Wink Ice Cream was that the entire pint only has 100 calories! A serving is 1/4 a pint and only has 25 calories. With flavors like cinnamon bun, cocoa-dough, and cake batter, I was impressed!

The ice cream is made with a monk fruit, peas, and stevia which makes them healthy and natural. It’s free of common allergens like egg, nuts, and dairy. A complete list of ingredients can be found here.

At the Natural Products Expo, I was able to try the cinnamon bun flavor. I was skeptical of how it would taste with such low calories but I definitely enjoyed it. The ice cream wasn’t as creamy or decadent as other more high calorie desserts, but I was surprised how good it tasted. It’s a great alternative to vegans looking for something healthy but tastes good, and for those with allergies.

I was amazed that I could eat nearly 5 pints of Wink Ice Cream and it wouldn’t even amount to the calories in one pint of other vegan ice creams. The flavors choices are great and I can’t wait to try some of the other flavors.

Right now, Wink can only be found in the North East, primarily in NYC and Philadelphia. You can see what stores it’s available in near you by checking out the store locator. I didn’t get to write down the retail price, so if you know please send me a comment! Stay tuned for more new products I found at the Natural Products Expo by subscribing!

Website can be found here: winkfrozendesserts.com

New Vegan Products at Whole Foods!

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I wanted to send a quick update with some exciting new vegan products at Whole Foods! I can’t wait to try all of these!

Have you tried them? Leave me a review my email or in the comments and I might feature it on the blog!

Daiya Vegan Pizzas! 

I heard the new Daiya pizzas come in three styles, but my Whole Foods only had one in stock. They’re gluten and soy-free. I haven’t tried them yet!

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Daiya Cheese Slices

These new cheese slices come in 3 varieties: swiss, provolone, and cheddar. If they’re anything like Daiya’s other cheeses, I’m sure they are fantastic!

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Beyond Meat 

Chicken strips that taste very much like real chicken! Three varieties were available at my Whole Foods: lightly seasoned, grilled, and southwest style.

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Review: Bon – Tokyo, Japan

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Bon has been my favorite restaurant experience of all time. I’ll explain my experience, then let my pictures show you how amazing this place is. I made reservations (they’re required since the food takes a few days to prepare) using my Visa Signature free concierge service, since I don’t speak Japanese (yet!).

The restaurant is located on a side street, that is a little difficult to get to using their directions. Google has the correct address, so be prepared with directions before heading off.

Address: Japan, Tokyo, Taito, Ryusen, 1丁目2−11

Bon Google

Bon - Google Maps

The great thing about Bon is that you get your own private room for dinner. The floor has heated mats for comfort as well. The restaurant is traditional so you must take off your shoes upon entry. We were the only customers this night and we had a beautiful room with a view of the garden.

The food was so tasty and was the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life. The food is a type of shojin ryori with Chinese influence. You order your set meal while making your reservation. The owners were dressed in kimonos and really gave us an experience we will never forget. The price of the dinner can be considered expensive for some, but it was well worth the experience!

Check out the menu on Bon’s website: http://www.fuchabon.co.jp/english/fucha.html

Our private room:

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Our menu for the evening:

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Pictures of the food courses in no particular order:

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Pictures outside of our room:

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And, the best part of all was that I proposed to Elton at Bon! The meal and experience was amazing, and after the meal I had a fiancé! 😉 I cannot wait to go back to Bon next time I’m in Tokyo!

Make sure you subscribe to see more of my experiences in Japan!

Vegan Food You Can Find Almost Anywhere in Japan!

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Traveling to Japan? Scared you won’t be able to find vegan food? Japan is full of convenience stores that have a lot of vegan options. Chances are that your hotel will be within walking distance of a few!

Some of the top chains are:

Lawson

Lawson

Family Mart

Family Mart ファミリーマート

7-Eleven

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There are many vegan food items in these convenience stores. Since you probably can’t read Japanese, just look for these foods:

Inari – Sweet Tofu Skin Stuffed with RiceIMG_2010

Natto Sushi – Natto, a Fermented Soybean, found in Sushi or Other FormsIMG_2009

Mochi with Soy Sauce Glaze on Stick – So yummy! Sweet and Savory

Rice Balls with Soy Sauce

French Fries – Found in Mc Donald’s and many Convenience Stores

*Update: Mc Donald’s fries are not even vegetarian. In the US and Japan they use beef flavoring. At most other places they are vegan, like at convenience and grocery stores.

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There’s plenty of other things you can find in these convenience stores, like rice, mochi, miso soup, potato chips, tofu, udon, etc. Besides finding some cheap sake and whiskey, these stores have soda, beer, and some very good cold teas.

If you have other suggestions, let me know in the comments and I’ll list them here!