As a traveling mom with a son of 8 months, it’s important to find places to eat that are also baby friendly. Finding places to enjoy plant based in Tokyo was pretty simple. Here are some favorite spots I visited that have a nice selection of plant based dishes:
Breakfast at Mandarin Oriental,Toyko. It’s worth it to splurge on breakfast here! One of my favorite dishes is called Okayu (お粥). Some of the toppings include: umebashi (sea salt-pickled and dried ume plums), shio-konbu (cooked and semi-dried salty kelp seaweed), hatograshi (stems, leaves and seeds of togarashi red peppers), hijiki (known as the bearer of beauty and health in Japan as it nourishes the hair), mustard, spicy miso pickled daikon radish, shibazuke (specialty of Kyoto: mix of chopped cucumber and eggplant, salted and brined with red shiso), pickled japanese mustard greens, and sesame seeds.
Enjoy walking through small produce markets near the famous Tsukji market. I discovered fresh wasabi root, fresh edamame and even vegetables I’ve never seen before. There were cases of pickled and fermented vegetables also!
I shared a nice lunch with my friend and tour guide Etsuko-san, at an Organic and Natural cafe called Dorobushi in Ginza. Etsuko shared information with me about healthy ingredients used in Japan for plant based cuisine including konnyaku, yama imu, and sake-kasu. Japanese konnyaku (こんにゃく) is made by mixing konjac flour with water and limewater.Hijiki is often added for the characteristic dark color and flavor. Without additives for color, konjac is pale white. It is then boiled and cooled to solidify.
Yama Imo or Yama no Imo (/山芋) is the Japanese name for Japanese Yam. It is valued for its stamina and medicinal properties, containing high amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium and other minerals. Yama Imo is rich in Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and C and fiber. It’s easy to digest and eat either raw or cooked. It is also comes in a powder form or can be grated into pancakes for added flavor and health benefits.
Saké -Kasu(酒粕) is a by-product of sake. Saké is made from rice, koji (mold), and water. After the process of alcoholic fermentation, the liquid (finished sake) is filtered and leaves mash behind. Saké -kasu (or sake lees which are the leftover bits) is known for health benefits like helping to lower blood cholesterol and excellent for skin care.
For dinner I discovered a ramen spot that has plant based options, just walking distance from Mandarin Oriental. Fortunately, most places have photos of what the dish looks like if you can’t speak Japanese.