Eating Vegan On Vacation!

It’s getting easier and easier to eat vegan while on vacation. A couple of years back, my partner and I found a vegan cafe in REALLY rural Colorado, for example; and last year (wonder of wonders!) we found an amazing all-vegan ramen restaurant right smack in the main Tokyo train station. (Only problem was that the lines were always long!)

Here are some suggestions for finding vegan food on your travels:

  • Use Google. Specifically, search on: “vegan DESTINATION NAME.” Typically some restaurants will pop up, but also many times you’ll get the name of the local veg club or Meetup. That organization will often post an up-to-date list of local vegan-friendly restaurants and shops, like this one! :-), or you can email them for more info.
  • Use Happycow and VegGuide, which are like vegan versions of Yelp, and very comprehensive.
  • Trip Advisor offers reviews of lots of vegan-friendly restaurants, B&Bs, and inns.
  • Ethnic restaurants, including Lebanese / Mediterranean, Chinese, Indian, and Thai ones, typically have loads of great vegan options.
  • For a faster meal, Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, Native Foods, and Tropical Smoothie Cafe all have terrific vegan options.
  • For “emergencies,” bring along some peanut butter, hummus, or Kind bars (only the “pressed” bars marked vegan are vegan). Also, my partner and I carry shelf-stable “juice boxes” of soy milk for coffee, cereal, etc.–although we always ask for soy milk, etc., to let the restaurant or store know that there is a demand.

If you have any comments or other suggestions, please leave them on our Facebook group page!

Yes There Really Is a Vegan Japan!

Here’s a fun writeup by Vegan Kalamazoo co-organizer Hillary Rettig about her recent trip to Japan. If you’ve had some good vegan food while traveling, please tell us about it!

Japan, the home of sushi and Kobe beef, is often considered unfriendly to vegans, but things are changing! My partner Jan Tobochnik and I visited for nearly three weeks, and in all of the major cities we had several vegan restaurants to choose from, which we usually found by searching on HappyCow. Here are three of the highlights:

Vegan ramen soup in Tokyo. Real ramen isn’t anything like the little packages of dried noodles we see here in the U.S.–it’s a robust blend of veggies, noodles, tofu, and spices that you can make a whole meal out of. Unfortunately, even “veggie” ramen is almost always made with fish broth, so most ramen is off limits to vegans. Imagine our surprise, then, to find a 100% vegan ramen place, Tam T’s, right in Tokyo’s main train station! The ramen was amazing, and there was almost always a line–nevertheless, we ate there several times!

A tofu taster’s menu in Hiroshima. We had an extraordinary “chef’s menu” at the Hiroshima location of Umenohana, a fancy restaurant chain. It featured around ten dishes, each one a different virtuoso preparation of tofu. The meal began with a pristine black rectangle of black-sesame-seed tofu; later came a dish of superdense tofu “pearls” in soup, some tofu “film,” and tofu “string cheese.” The waitress even made fresh tofu right at our table in a chafing dish! Dessert was yummy flavored tofu-and-miso lollipops.







“Monk’s Food” at Koyasan monastery. In Japan you can stay overnight in a Buddhist monastery, and partake of vegan meals served by monks. (In fact, one Japanese equivalent for “vegan” is “monk food.”) We stayed at a monastery at the top of beautiful-but-cold Mount Koya, and had yummy meals of vegetables, tofu, seaweeds, pickles, beans, noodles, and several other dishes.






Eating at the monastery. (Picture from Web.)