An important aim of this blog is to give information about cafes and restaurants that do not only serve vegetarian/vegan food. Of course, it is important to support such service providers and to draw attention to them. However, I strongly believe that vegetarianism should be included in ‘mainstream’ eateries, always. A campaign which Tokyo Smile Veggies is at the forefront of.
Each restaurant surely should include one option which does not have meat or fish. The demands of most vegetarians is usually as simple as that (with the possible exception of steak houses!) This, in turn, would then help vegetarians and vegans to find places to eat and also enable them to be seamlessly included in meals with friends or family who do eat fish and meat. Such a change would additionally generate extra revenue for these businesses, especially as the numbers of vegetarians and vegans continues to grow globally.
Anyway, off my ‘high horse’. Here you find an article which provides an option for an unconventional vegetarian bistro, in which there are plenty of available options. It is also very fun too! Genki Sushi!
Genki Sushi is a kaiten (conveyor) sushi bar that was first opened in Japan in 1990 and has now spread to Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuwait and the USA (Wikipedia link). You reach this treasure trove of snacks within a few minutes walk of Shibuya Station (location) so it is highly convenient for many. As a result, this has become a regular stopping point for many friends of mine.
Usually when you approach Genki Sushi you will notice the plastic models of sushi stuck in the windows, and also a large queue outside; admittedly made up of many tourists as a rule. Never fear, just write down your name and wait for a short amount of time. Sushi doesn’t take a long time to cook!
Line negotiated, you will be given a small clipboard with your table number and a barcode. N.B. This will be your bill when you finish so resist the temptation to use it as a back-scratcher! At this point, most people notice the clean and modern interior, complete with a host of delighted looking customers who are clearly enjoying themselves. Tripadvisor reviews as proof for this one.
Once seated, you can order three choices at a time on a shining iPad-like screen. The language can be changed to English, and there are also helpful photographs of each item. When ordered, food arrives sat on small trays which zip along the conveyor. These are essentially small trains topped with superbly prepared sushi dishes. They may move with magnets, or are possibly powered by delicious magic! A lit button will flash yellow and you will need to greedily remove your treats and press the flashing button to send the train back from whence it came. Then…itadakimasu!
Vegetarian options are plentiful…
- Omelette nigiri (omelette on top of vinegared rice).
- Kanpyo roll (pickled gourd).
- Egg plant nigiri.
- Natto (fermented soy beans).
- Corn with mayonnaise.
- Natto roll.
- Cucumber roll.
- Inari (deep fried tofu bags filled with rice).
- Edamame (soy beans in pods, salted).
- A range of fries.
- Onion potato salad.
- Drinks and desserts!
So, as a non-fish or meat eating diner; you can gobble down sides, starters, mains, desserts and…drinks. Matcha and ice cold water is free and in any quantity that you desire. Even if the sticky, stringy natto is not to your tastes then there is still plenty to eat. The food is at a low price point which means that even though I personally eat like a king (or a malnourished horse), I usually spend between 1000-1500 yen. It is not the best quality sushi around, but at these prices you can not argue (it is still so delicious). Have a look at this great article from Grace Buchele Mineta to add to this.
Thank you for reading this article! I put lots of effort into my writing so please share it if you like it. Hopefully it sheds some light on a good option for vegans and vegetarians which may not have been considered, or may have been discounted because people do not know about the abundance of available options.
Support veggie places. Always. But when you want to visit a restaurant normally serving fish, then why not give Genki Sushi a go! It is tasty, convenient and cheap!