Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tokyo Vege Food Festa 2011

Due to some stormy weather on the morning of Saturday the 15th, day one of this year's festival was cancelled.  Lucky for vendors and festival goers alike, Sunday was a lovely day- it was even a bit hot!  Lots of people came out and I was happy to see the vendors making pretty good sales. Many of the stands even had quite long lines.  How great was it to see people lining up for vegan food in Tokyo?!

I purposely ate a light breakfast that morning, and A-chan and I hopped off the train early, so we got a good 30 minute walk on the way to the park.  I wanted to make sure I'd have a good appetite for sampling the festival's offerings.

We hit up the ingredients/ cook at home section first, did a lot of browsing, and picked up a jar of my favourite organic peanut butter and a Viana "Picknicker" veggie pepperoni stick.  I was also tempted to buy some agave syrup, as I see it pop up so often in tasty looking vegan recipes.

After heading over to the read-to-eat area,  I couldn't resist trying a nikuman from the Loving Hut stand.  I've noticed this item on the menu in the restaurant, but I think they don't actually offer it anymore.  No surprise, it was delicious, with a soft, doughy exterior and chewy little chunks of salty-sweet mock meat inside.  I'm always curious to hear how mock meat dishes compare to the original, and my omni co-tester said our nikuman was a convincing fake.

 We did some browsing to see what other goodies were on offer.  This stand had an interesting concept.  Apparently aiming to cash in on 萌え (moe) appeal, these girls dressed as cheerleader/ furry animals would shake your karaage with spices while saying "furi-furi" (shake-shake) and flashing sugary smiles.  It's not really my thing but I can see it working in Akihabara!

A-chan tried some harumaki (spring roles) from Chein-Fu's stand.  This amazing Taiwanese vegetarian food company used to have a restaurant in Osu, Nagoya and one in Tachikawa, Tokyo.  As far as I know both closed down.  Did they open up new locations?!?  I really wanted to ask the people working at the booth, but they were pretty busy serving customers.  I'll have to research this, as the Chien-Fu restaurants served up some of my favourite veggie meals I've enjoyed in Japan.

My next order was a bowl of colourful taco rice from Blue Cafe, which featured a pickled beet and onion topping.  I'd never heard of this restaurant before, but according to the flyer they gave me, this place is an Okinawan and Mexican food joint in Fujisawa, Kanagawa.  As far as I know, the restaurant isn't actually vegetarian (though I imagine they offer some veg-friendly dishes), but it looks pretty cool and laid back.

Alas, by the time I saw this Indian place grilling up (what looked like) veggie versions of tandoori kebabs, I was already pretty full. 

I also wanted to try these tasty looking veggie burgers from Ain Soph.  Lucky for me, I bumped into a friend who was about to bite into one, and was kind enough to offer me a taste.  Don't you love friends who share food?  It was a pleasant bite, and I've put Ain Soph on my list of restaurants to try. 

 All in all, I was satisfied by my experience at the Vege Food Festa.  It was great to see lots of public interest in vegan food, many happy faces of people chowing down on their meals, and also to pique my own interest in some new restaurants.  For those of you who made it to the festival, I'd love to hear what you thought of it!


  1. Hej Mika, I love your blog and all the vegan stuff! I just arrived here in time for the vegefestival, it was fantastic! I was so happy (and maybe a bit surprised) to see the long lines of people languish for vegan food. Would be fun to hang out some day and go on a vegan food adventure or just make some picnic and head for the park if you got time. Take care

  2. Hi Jane! A vegan food adventure or picnic in the park would be lovely! I took a peek at your blog, and have a feeling we might get along in person. Beautiful photography, by the way.

    Why don't you drop me an email at vegouttokyo@gmail.com and we can plan an outing?

  3. Looks great :) My vegan friend in Japan posts pics of the food at Ain Soph all the time and it looks sooo good.. I hope you go there and enjoy it :) Great blog just found your page :)


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