June 24, 2016 0

7 Vegan Instagrammers You’ve Gotta Follow

If you’re a vegan on Instagram, you already know what a dope space it is for our community to share food, products, ideas and memes (because what else is the internet for, right?) You’ve gotta get in on these premo accounts to get in on some of the best vegan snaps IG has to offer and you can start with mine (@likeavegan). In no particular order…

#1 Vegan Beauty Review (@veganbeautyreview)

Sunny is one of my fave internet gals to follow because she knows what the hell is up when it comes to vegan beauty (you probably figured that out from the name, huh?) This Portland-based babe doesn’t only post beauty pics; she also hits us with snaps of her cooking and eating adventures, her cats and her adorable babies!

Instagram

#2 Nourish Not Punish (@nourishnotpunish)

With food posts and lots of ’em, Evelyn knows how to make you consider a purchasing a waterproof case to protect your phone from all of her drool-inducing culinary creations. Based in Melbourne, this account is where it’s at for nourishing, healthy and IG-worthy food #inspo.

Instagram

#3 Vegan Yack Attack (@veganyackattack)

Not only can Jackie make mean vegan food, she knows how to take a bloody epic photo of it too. If you can handle the intense jealously, follow Jackie’s adventures around California as she eats some of the most delicious looking food a vegan can dream of. Seriously thinking of asking her to adopt me.

Instagram

#4 Unhealthy Vegan (@unhealthyvegan)

Finally, a vegan account made for the junk food lover in all of us! Follow Andre’s as he hunts down the best vegan junk the USA has to offer, plus some disgustingly delicious looking home-cooked meals that will have you tossing your fruit bowl out the window (and then running to get it to make tomorrow’s smoothie).

Instagram

#5 Paris by Vegan (@parisbyvegan)

Follow any of the major vegan food sharing accounts (that’s a post for another day) and you’ve probably seen the handy work of Paris-based Noémie. While her account is mainly posts of her own awesome creations, Noémie posts about all things vegan and all things Paris!

Instagram

#6 Aine Carlin (@ainecarlin)

The vintage-lovin’ Aine lives in Cornwall and when she’s not cooking or writing cookbooks, she’s being ridiculously cute on Instagram! Check out her account for not only awesome vegan food posts but shots of her freaking epic wardrobe full of vintage and ethical fashion.

Instagram

#7 Heart of Bianca (@heartofbianca)

I’ve been following Bianca on IG for yonks, from her days as Sydney’s @sadvegangirl to the vegan lifestyle loving blogger she is today! Check out her account for bitchin’ shots of her cat, clothes, food and explorations of her new hometown, Melbourne!

Instagram

Did I forget your all-time fave vegan Instagrammer? Lemme know in the comments!

June 20, 2016 0

Raspberry & White Chocolate Fudge

Difficulty: Easy

Makes about 21 pieces

White Chocolate Fudge

Fudge is one thing that I had never really bothered with because replicating the condensed milk thing was so damned hard and the vegan ones on the market were so freaking difficult to get a hold of. Now that condensed coconut milk is pretty easy to pick up at your local supermarket (I get mine from Woolworths), both of those problems are solved and I can now make shitloads of fudge on the regular. This time around I went for a less intense but no less delicious combo of white chocolate and raspberry because the fruit cancels out the chocolate #fact.

Ingredients

  • 1 320ml can sweetened condensed coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 2/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250g vegan white chocolate (I use Sweet William)
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (frozen would probably work too, just not as well

White Chocolate Fudge

Method

  1. Line a standard loaf tin with baking paper as neatly as possible so there are less off-cuts.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine the condensed milk, margarine and sugar, stir over medium heat until well combined and sugar has melted.
  3. Stir through the vanilla extract before breaking up the white chocolate and adding to the saucepan, stirring until melted.
  4. Remove from the heat briefly and prepare your raspberries by leaving some whole, cutting others in half and the rest into smaller pieces.
  5. Fold 3/4 of the berries through the mixture and gently pour into the lined tin.
  6. Give the tin a couple of firm taps on the bench to settle the mixture before sprinkling the remaining berries on top.
  7. Freeze for at least three hours to set.
  8. Keep frozen until ready to serve, trimming the edges before slicing into squares.

White Chocolate Fudge

June 17, 2016 3

Japan Wrap Up

Hiroshima

At the end of each trip I like to give y’all a wrap up of the places I’ve been so that you can keep those deets handy for if you’re ever travellin’ to that part of the world and this trip is no different. Japan is a bloody fantastic country with a bunch of stuff to do no matter what you’re into; shopping, culture, nature and just about anything else. Oh, and of course some bitchin’ vegan eats when you can find ’em (it’s not that hard).

Osaka (Check out the posts here and here for the full posts)

Osaka

Where to Stay

If you want to be near all of the lights of Dotonbori, the major shopping strip and a bunch of walkable vegan-friendly eats, APA Hotel Namba-Shinsaibashi is a pretty good choice. Good transport links and activities are within a short walk of this awesomely located hotel but it’s definitely not luxurious. I stayed in a single room which was very small with not a lot of storage but if you just need a base to crash, this is for you!

Getting Around

Subways and trains are your best friend in Osaka if you don’t want to walk or bike it. If you’re planning on catching some bullet trains during your stay in Japan, definitely get a JR Pass and use it to your advantage while getting around each city too. Where a JR line isn’t possible, the subway is a cheap and fast way of getting from A to B.

Best Eats

Aju Vegan Bistro was one of my faves even though it was a little out of the way and doesn’t have the best atmosphere, make sure you get the assorted vege soy chicken and soft serve! El Pancho is the spot for some fun drinks, atmosphere and pretty good Mexican grub while I’d definitely recommend grabbing a burger at Salunpowaku if you plan on hitting Minoh Falls.

Osaka Salunpowaku

What to Do

You’ve got to check out the Glico Running Man at Dotonbori, hit the Shinsaibashi Shopping Arcade to drop a stack of yen, Minoh Falls to get some naytcha into ya and Neco Republic to experience Japan’s cat cafe culture in a way that actually helps animals, not harms them.

Hiroshima (Check out the full post here)

Hiroshima

Where to Stay

The rooms at Hiroshima Tokyu REI Hotel are quite spacious and a great place to come back and rest after a day exploring this beautifully green city. Hiroshima Peace Park and shopping arcades are both within a reasonable walking distance, as is the vegan food.

Getting Around

We didn’t catch many trains during our time in Hiroshima but the easiest way to get around other than walking is using the cable car system, which is a cheap way to explore the city. Hop a boat at the Peace Park to get a boat direct to Miyajima or hire a bike as the place is full of ’em!

Best Eats

You have to have an authentic Hiroshima okonomiyaki experience and Nagataya is the vegan place to do it (ask for the vegetarian menu and you’re all set). Art Elk Cafe is also close by and makes a great lunch or dinner set, which clearly marked vegan options while Vegan Cafe appears the be the only all vegan joint in the city, serving a set lunch each day on tatami mats – a lovely experience!

Art Elk Cafe

What to Do

If you can handle a little walk, Minoh Falls is a must if you want to check out some beautiful maple trees and perhaps spot a monkey! Miyajima should be at the tippy top of your list if you’re wanting to get your shrine fix while all of the buildings at the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park are incredibly important places to visit to learn about the terrible atomic bomb that shook the city all those years ago.

Kyoto (Check out the full post here)

Kyoto

Where to Stay

Hotel MyStays Kyoto-Shijo is a reasonably comfortable hotel (albeit with very hard beds) which is a dope place to stay if you’re going to be catching public transport to other parts of Kyoto or walking to vegan joints and shopping destinations.

Getting Around

Again, biking is a very popular way to get around Kyoto but it’s also very easy to get around by pounding the pavement. Subways and JR lines will get you where you need to go beyond what you’re comfortable walking plus they seem to have a really great bus system (although I didn’t use it).

Best Eats

If you’re a sesame lover, Gomacro is non-negotiable for an all-vegan, sesame heavy dining experience. Momukuteki has a really cool atmosphere with a reasonable selection of vegan meals and some bitchin’ shakes and desserts (OMG the desserts!) If you’re willing to splurge a little on a traditional shojin-ryori meal, Yoshuji is the place to be after exploring Mt. Kurama.

Gomacro

What to Do

The shopping area surrounding Nishiki Market is a great place to make it rain yen all over the place, with plenty of chain stores and boutiques to suit a range of budgets and tastes. Fushimi Inari is your place to hit for your torii gate fix, while the Sagano Railway, Bamboo Forest and Hozugawa River Boat combo makes an awesome nature-filled day trip. For a dose of traditional Japanese culture, hit up Gion and explore the beautiful streets while trying to spot a geisha or two!

Tokyo (Check out the full post here)

Tokyo

Where to Stay

Both Hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku and Century Southern Tower Hotel are perfectly located near Shinkuku station, your gateway to all of Tokyo while also having a bunch of vegan eateries, gardens and shopping all within walking distance. Both have beautiful lobbies with bars and restaurants, very comfortable rooms and fantastic staff if you’re willing to spend a little bit more for the facilities.

Getting Around

Getting around Tokyo is so easy when you’re near a major JR station and have a JR Pass; once you reach your station, hop off and hit it by foot to make the most of everything my favourite Japanese city has to offer.

Best Eats

Chaya is a must for a special, macrobiotic meal (remember that strawberry shortcake?!) while Lime Cafe is where it’s at for an inexpensive, all vegan and reliable meal (with a very vegan friendly grocery attached). T’s TanTan is without question your number one spot for ramen while Ain Soph. Ripple is your best bet for an American style junk food feast.

Ain.Soph Ripple

What to Do

If you’ve got the time, be sure to check online for visibility and hit Lake Kawaguchi to grab a snap of Mt. Fuji. Shopping and eating around Shibuya, Shinjuku and Harajuku are a must while Sanrio Puroland is the place to get your extra dose of kawaii. Ueno Park also has a great collection of museums and galleries, just be sure to avoid the zoo!

Now before you get sick of me running my mouth about Japan (soz if you already are), I’m going to wrap things up here for this trip. Be sure to leave a comment if you have any tips to share or questions to ask about my Japanese adventures!

Sayonara for now.

June 14, 2016 2

Tofish Fingers – An Easy Weeknight Meal!

Difficulty: Easy

Serves 4

Tofish 1

Fish fingers are really a part of growing up for most kids but when you realise fish are cute as hell, they’re very quickly taken off the menu! There are a few frozen fish finger substitutes out there and they’re all fantastic but I wanted to try things a little differently with my homemade version. Simply using tofu and seaweed as a base, these guys can be whipped up super quickly and easily made gluten free with GF breadcrumbs.

Ingredients

  • 750g hi-protein firm tofu
  • 4 sheets seaweed
  • 1 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (I used soy)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups dry breadcrumbs (make sure they’re vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Olive oil spray
  • Vegan tartare sauce and lemon to serve

Tofish 2

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Cut the tofu into fingers (approx. 10cm x 3cm x 1.5cm) and cut the seaweed into 10cm x 3cm rectangles as well.
  3. Use paper towel to cover the tofu and press down to remove any excess moisture.
  4. The remaining moisture should allow for you to attach a piece of seaweed to each piece of tofu (double it up if you want it extra “fishy”).
  5. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the non-dairy milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside until it begins to curdle.
  6. In another shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, mixed herbs and nutritional yeast.
  7. Place each piece of seaweed tofu in the milk mixture before coating in breadcrumbs and doing this one more time so the tofu is nicely crumbed. Repeat this process with the remaining tofu, placing them about 3cm apart on the baking tray.
  8. Spray with olive oil and bake the fingers for 15 minutes before turning and baking for a further 15 or until the crumbs are a golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately with vegan tartare sauce, lemon wedges and homemade fries.

Tofish 3

June 10, 2016 2

Review: Smith & Deli

Address: 111 Moor Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Website: www.smithanddaughters.com

Smith & Deli

It’s actually a freaking travesty that I hadn’t been able to visit Smith & Deli until just before their one year anniversary (when they opened I had just returned from Europe so couldn’t swing it) but I sure made up for lost time with a record three visits within a 24 hour period.

Just a short walk from the epic Smith & Daughters on Brunswick Street, Smith & Deli is set up in a dope, old brick building with the now iconic S&D Eat Vegan sign out the front.

Smith & Deli

Walk through the doors and you’re greeted with a visual feast of amazing food, adorably dressed staff and badass signage. Shelves, fridges and freezers are not only stocked with vegan favourites but take-home meals made on site as well as a massive selection of accidentally vegan items from all over the world, a task that required Mo and Shannon spending hours reading labels in delis all over Melbourne to find!

Smith & Deli

The cases lining the counter are packed with freshly baked treats such as donuts, slices and cookies plus other pre-packaged food items, ready to grab and go. The real highlight is the epic breakfast and lunch sandwich menu, boasting a selection of traditional deli inspired faves that will bring a tear to your eye. I had heard rumours about the Rubenstein so decided it was time to see if they were true (hint: it’s probs the best sanga I’ve ever had). Pastrami, sauerkraut, pickles and Russian dressing on rye come together to create a hearty and tangy taste sensation that has to be eaten to be believed. Somehow I managed to find room for a classic cinnamon donut, cooked to perfection and washed it all down with a kombucha because I’m pretty sure that’s how a balanced diet is achieved.

Smith & Deli

Mo told me I had to come back later that day for a surprise and boy was I glad I did! Shannon presented me with two of the most insane almond croissants I’ve ever seen, eaten, read about or dreamed of in my entire life. These bad boys take a whopping five days to make, which is why they’re a) only available on Saturdays and b) actual croissants, ” not puff pastry rolled into a croissant shape” as Shannon so kindly pointed out (and she’s right).

Smith & Deli

Little did any of us know but I managed to swing by again the following morning en route to the airport to get my hands on some awesome Field Roast products, some lollies and of course another croissant. Mo even slipped a secret cheese, ham and tomato croissant into my bag for the plane because she’s a deadset legend.

Smith & Deli

From the first time I walked into Smith & Daughters I knew that these gals were going to take the world by storm and now I’m more convinced than ever. With a cookbook on its way and more exciting plans to be realised in the future, it’s so damned awesome to see two badass, passionate ladies doing what they love and getting shit done.

June 7, 2016 2

Like A Vegan Abroad – Tokyo

I’m comin’ atcha from rainy Newcastle and TBH there’s nowhere else I’d rather be! My three weeks in Japan were dope AF and we wrapped things up with 4 nights in Tokyo for some eating, shopping and sightseeing.

You may remember that there was a sneaky first day in Tokyo at the beginning of the trip so we’ll start there for the sake of keeping things simple. To make the most of the 5.30AM arrival time, we headed off to Sanrio Puroland to check out all the of the Hello Kitty goodness. It’s completely indoors, so a great option for a rainy day and while it won’t fill your whole day, it’s fun for kids and adults to walk around and enjoy the super kawaii surroundings. There wasn’t really anything in terms of vegan food but I was reunited with my old pal, melon soda.

Sanrio Puroland

After all the excitement of Sanrio Puroland, we decided to hit T’s TanTan; a vegan ramen joint inside Tokyo Station. Set meals are pretty inexpensive, the surroundings are fresh and cute little veggie quotes cover the walls. I opted for the plain ramen with a side of soy meat, what a substantial meal at a great price!

T's TanTan

The next day we swung by Harajuku to see if we could spot any amazing street outfits. Unfortunately we didn’t but got to hit up Crayon House for lunch. This place isn’t all vego or vegan, so ask one of the staff and they should be able to point out what you can have. I had some salads, noodles and onion rings, while it was a fine meal it definitely wasn’t anything to write home about so probably wouldn’t go again unless it was to check out the adjoining grocery!

Crayon House

Back to the final days of our trip and for lunch on our arrival back to Tokyo, we headed back to T’s TanTan and apparently so did everybody else! After a short wait we were seated and I grabbed the soy sauce ramen with another side of soy meat. This one was definitely my fave; much more fresh and light but equally as filling so I couldn’t finish it all.

T's TanTan

That night it was off to Ain Soph. Ripple, one of three fast food restaurants in the Tokyo area to scoff down some delicious vegan junk food. This seemed to turn into the burger tour of Japan so in keeping with that theme I rolled with a crispy chicken burger and cheesy fries. The faux chicken patty was nicely spiced and had a pretty good texture (although a tad chewy), the cheesy fries were also very tasty and the sauce had a nice tang to it. I followed things up with a little tiramisu in a jar, definitely grab one if you have the chance!

Ain.Soph Ripple

Harajuku round two was on the cards for the following day to do some serious kawaii shopping. I was super pumped to give Cori Vegan Foodstand a try and on one of the days when I was the absolute hungriest, it appeared to be closed for no obvious reason. We disappointedly headed down to Hanada Rosso to try and find something to eat. Their vegan burger seemed very well reviewed so simply had to cram one in, so I did. It was very satisfying, a bit meaty and full of veg and flavour, the fries, salad and strawberry shake (more of a smoothie) were all welcome accompaniments too.

Hanada Rosso

The afternoon was spent in Shibuya, continuing to shop up a storm before heading back to Shinjuku for dinner at one of my all time Tokyo faves: Chaya! Located on the top of the Isetan building in the thick of Shinjuku, Chaya serves macrobiotic cuisine consisting of largely vegan meals with some seafood (it’s pretty easy to figure out but ask if you need help). This place does feel a little fancier (with a price to match) so if you’re looking to dress up, this is the time to do it. I ordered the set meal which came with an amuse bouche of what I think was just hummus, still good though. It was followed by a starter of corn gratin and tomato carpaccio before the main meal of a Japanese style burger (no bun) and cold potato soup. I love the freshness of the meals at Chaya, which is why I continue to go back despite the price tag and even order cake, which I don’t usually do. Check out the strawberry shortcake!

Tokyo Chaya 1

Tokyo Chaya 2

Mt. Fuji was the next location we had to tick off our list so we hopped a coupla trains to Lake Kawaguchi to try and catch a look. We won’t go into the food situation (literally zero) so we grabbed a couple of snacks to tide us over until our early dinner at Lima Cafe near our hotel in Shinjuku. It’s a limited yet tasty menu, I opted for the burger (weird, huh?) which came with salad and a soup plus a cheesecake because I was bloody starving.

Lima 1

Lima 2

We had the next day set aside for last minute shopping so got stuck in around Shinkjuku before heading to Harajuku to try for Cori Vegan Foodstand and it was still freaking closed so we then went to 8ablish and were seated for lunch before being told that we had missed the last order by 15 minutes (WHY SEAT US THEN?!) we left frustrated and headed to MOS Burger Cafe for some soy burger goodness to save us from the hunger that threatened the success of our shopping day.

MOS Burger

Earlier in the week I came across Doughnut Plant in Lumine EST and attempted to buy a doughnut. Now, I say attempted because as I told my friend the doughnut I was going to get (of which there were plenty), the woman behind the counter quickly removed them all and put them in another cabinet and when I asked to buy one, she refused. I’m sure she had a perfectly valid reason but it was weird and I wanted a freaking doughnut. I went back after our jaunt in Harajuku and was #blessed with the opportunity to grab a cranberry soy milk doughnut and not only was I allowed to buy it but the same woman remembered the one she had denied me days earlier! One of life’s great mysteries, huh?

Doughnut Plant

I enjoyed that doughnut after having precisely zero energy to track down dinner, so hit up Lima’s grocery section to pick up some ramen and ice cream to enjoy from the comfort of my hotel room. This vegetable ramen was exactly what I was after; fresh, light and satisfying plus the ice cream was a nice little pre-treat before the doughnut (I was on holiday, leave me alone!)

Ramen

On our last day in Japan we decided to hit Ueno Park to catch some culcha and naycha so hopped on the train. The park is massive and home to many galleries (and a zoo, booooo-urns) but we thought the Natural History Museum looked cool so gave it a go. Some of it is in English and for less than $10 to get in, it is really worth the fee because you could spend a whole day in there if you wanted to! We checked out plenty of animal and plant exhibits, copped some science info and went on our merry way back to Lima Cafe for one last meal; this time I grabbed the soy meat bowl and a brown rice soft serve. They also have a bunch of takeaway options so we grabbed a couple of wrapped bao-style buns for the airport.

Lima 3

Lima 4

And with that, the trip was over. We hopped on our plane, had a relatively smooth and quick flight home and then had the most annoying bus + train back to Newy of all time. But I’m home now, with my dog (dogs if you include Gia, which I do because I look after her a lot!) The first thing I ate? I Vegemite sandwich, mate!

Mt. Fuji

My Japan Wrap Up will be up next week but until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along on my trip to Japan as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it with y’all!

Addresses

Sanrio Puroland

1-31 Ochiai, Tama

Tokyo, Japan

 

T’s TanTan

Tokyo Station, 1F, Keiyo Street

Tokyo, Japan

 

Crayon House

Kita-Aoyama 3-8-15, Omote Sando

Tokyo, Japan

 

Ain Soph. Ripple

Shinjuku-ku Kabuki-cho 2-46-8 Nissho Building 1F

Tokyo, Japan

 

Hanada Rosso

6-28-5 Jingu Mae Suite 101, Shibuya Ku

Tokyo, Japan

 

Chaya

Isetan Department Store, Main Building 7F, 3-14-1 Shinjuku

Tokyo, Japan

 

Lima Cafe

Tokyo Shinjuku-ku, Yoyogi 2-23-1

Tokyo, Japan

 

Doughnut Plant

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

Tokyo, Japan

May 29, 2016 2

Like A Vegan Abroad – Kyoto

Konichiwa from Kyoto, the second last stop on my three week tour of Japan! After a couple of quick journeys on the Shinkansen from Hiroshima, we made it to our hotel in central Kyoto to drop off our bags and hunt for some eats.

The closest thing we could find that took our fancy was Gomacro and really I had no idea what to expect. We were greeted by lovely staff and presented with an all vegan menu featuring sesame! Sesame is one of my favourite things ever so as you can imagine I was pretty down with the prospect of a sesame themed meal. Unfortunately their large lunch set was sold out (get there early if you want it) but I grabbed the noodle set which included a pasta and salad (plus coffee and a mini dessert for a little extra). Before the meal arrived we were each given a little mortar and pestle filled with sesame seeds to grind and add to our lunch, C-U-T-E! The pasta was super tasty and full of fresh vegetables, the salad was simple but totally satisfying plus I washed it down with an iced sesame chai which was dope AF. Then in a moment of weakness I ordered the assorted dessert platter consisting of a nut tart, brownie and ice cream with granola. Oh. My. God. So good.

Gomacro

Gomacro

I rolled my way back to the hotel and checked in before taking some time to chill before dinner. We headed along the Nishiki Market for a highly anticipated dinner at Cafe Matsuontoko but were met by a sign saying they were booked out for the night (awesome for them, sad for us!) we made a booking for the following evening and headed around the corner to Momukuteki. With a lovely atmosphere and great staff, we were seated in the couch area and given an English menu. Much of the menu is vegan, the main offender is fish stock and dishes containing it are clearly marked. I opted for the tofu burger set. It was a little on the smaller side but after the epic lunch I had earlier it was more than enough, on a normal day I may have ordered a dessert to take me to that next level of fullness.

Mumokuteki

On our first full day in Kyoto, we expected rain so opted for one of the less outdoorsy activities and hit up Kyoto Studio Park. Many of Japan’s movies and television shows are filmed here and you can wander some of the sets as well as see some live performances and dress up as a ninja or geisha (this costs extra). It didn’t take us long to get through the park so we headed off to Kyoto Station for lunch.

Kyoto Studio Park

We thought we’d take a gamble and check out Kyotofu Fujino atop the Isetan building in the station. This tofu-centric restaurant is a little more pricey and unfortunately most items contain fish. The staff are very friendly and can let you know what is fish-free but don’t expect too much. The sesame tofu was ok, the assorted baked tofu was much better but together unfortunately a satisfying meal they did not make. There was a miscommunication with the waiter (not his fault, I can’t speak Japanese) so I couldn’t quite establish whether or not the soy ice cream contained dairy. It came out anyway and I didn’t eat it. The most frustrating thing about it was that Kyotofu clearly state on the front of their menu that the restaurant isn’t vegan so they know what it is and it would be great if they could a) add a set meal that is vegan and/or b) denote what’s vegan on the menu to make things easier for their staff and customers.

Kyotofu

Slightly unsatisfied we wandered around the station’s many shops for a while before heading back to our hotel to get ready for dinner at Cafe Matsuontoko. Inside there’s a lot of dark wood and large dining tables plus some additional seating upstairs. Movies are projected onto one of the walls although from where we were sitting it was kinda hard to see. The menu is quite large and diverse with a range of different meals to choose from. Making up for lunch I decided to get the avocado burger set which was served with fries and salad as well as the fried soy meat. It was all hella tasty and super fresh, albeit a tad messy but who cares right? I like that the portion sizes in Japan are modestly satisfying to prevent you from going over the edge into a food coma. I tempted fate and went for a parfait for dessert which was full of cake, mochi, matcha ice cream, soy cream, matcha jelly and some random red bean filled pastry. I didn’t hit that food coma but I came damned close thanks to that tasty little number.

Cafe Matsuontoko

Cafe Matsuontoko

The next day it was onto the Sagano Romantic Train for a cute little ride through Kyoto’s mountains and view of the Hozugawa River. I recommend sitting on the left side of the train if you’re heading from Saga-Torokko Station as you’ll get the best view! Once we hit the top we decided to shell out the extra clams for a ride on the Hozugawa River Boat, taking about 1.5 hours to reach the bottom. Our guides were hilarious even though we couldn’t understand a word they said to us and the experience was well worth the cash. We got to walk through the Bamboo Forest en route back to the station, a damn visual feast of bamboo.

Scenic Train

Hozugawa River

Bamboo Forest

After an epic day of naycha, it was back to Kyoto Station for lunch, this time trying out Cosme Kitchen Cafe, a casual setting with vegan options within Kyoto Station’s The Cube. Just ask the staff what’s vegan and they’ll sort you out, this time I had the curry lunch set which came with 2 deli options so I picked a couple of salads. It tasted way better than the photo suggests and is a great option if you’re in a hurry.

Cosme Kitchen Cafe

We headed straight from our late lunch to the traditional area of Gion, famous for its Geisha and other Japanese traditions. It’s hard to believe that this place is just a few minutes from the bright lights and city towers, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time as soon as you cross the bridge! We were told to hit up Gion Corner for an inexpensive taste of what Japanese culture has to offer. For about 50 bucks you can catch an hour-long show featuring a tea ceremony, Kyo-Mai dance, flower arrangement, Koto Zither, Gagaku court music, Kyogen Theatre and Bunraku puppet theatre. While it did seem a little low in production value, I get the vibe that this show is put on as an inexpensive option for tourists to experience various elements of Japanese traditions and is run by an art foundation so I assume the money is going to a worthy cause keeping these traditions alive, which I am super down with supporting.

Gion Corner

A short 15 minute walk and we were back at Momukuteki for dinner. This time I had a rice thing (I forget what it’s called!) that came with burger patties, salads and lotus root. I also grabbed spicy fries and a chocolate shake because I’m an absolute MONSTER. If that wasn’t enough I decided to finish things off with a sweet potato pie, which came with soft serve that tasted more like froyo (I ain’t complainin). I bloody love this place and wish we had something like it in Newy so I could go every. single. day.

Mumokuteki

Mumokuteki

Mumokuteki

The following day we hit up Fushimi Inari to check out the epic pathways of torii gates. After strolling around for a little while we hopped another coupla trains to Kurama to immerse ourselves in more culcha and naycha. Luckily Yoshuji is located right outside the entrance to Mt. Kurama, meaning we were able to get a tasty feast for lunch. This joint has basic lunches starting from around 1000 yen but I went YOLO and got the full shojin-ryori experience, complete with soup, noodles, tempura, vegetables, fruit salad and a whole bunch of other bits and pieces. Boy, it was good!

Torii Gates

Shojin-Ryori

That night we met up with a pal who also happened to be in Japan and decided to show her Momukuteki. After that epic lunch I wasn’t all that hungry so went for the salad and those spicy fries again (because I’m a mofo monster!) The salad was pretty simple with some veggie mince served alongside it. Definitely not the best item on the menu but great for a light option.

Mumokuteki

We were due for a bit of a chill day so decided to spend it wandering around the Shoju area where we were staying. There are so many amazing shops lining the streets and undercover malls, you can entertain yourself for hours. Oh, and Mumokuteki is there so embarrassingly we stopped in again for lunch. I had the burger again (you don’t need to see another pic). After that we did a little more browsing around before a brief pit stop at our hotel then onto Veggie Cafe for dinner! This little place is adorable and run by the sweetest Japanese man who is clearly influenced by American culture. The grub is a wholesome and healthy take on fast food and it’s super delish at a modest price. I had the felafel pita, fries and finished it off with a cinnamon bun. All delicious, all vegan, all good!

Felafel

Cinnamon Roll

And with that, Kyoto is a wrap! The final leg of the trip is upon us as we hit Tokyo next for all the eating, doing and shopping we can muster. The next time you hear from me, I’ll probably be back in Australia, Vegemite sanga in hand. Sayonara!

Addresses

Gomacro

67-3 Jinmei-cho, Nakagyo-ku

Kyoto, Japan

 

Momokuteki

2F, Teramachi-dori (at near Shijo Teramachi),

Kyoto, Japan

 

Kyoto Studio Park

10 Uzumasa Higashihachiokacho, Ukyo Ward

Kyoto, Japan

 

Kyotofu Fujino

JR Kyoto Isetan, 11th floor

Kyoto, Japan

 

Café Matsuontoko

538-6 Shijyo Agaru Shinkyougoku Nakanocho Nakagyoku (at Shijo)

Kyoto, Japan

 

Cosme Kitchen Café

901 Karasuma Shiokojikudaru, Higashioji, Shimogyo-ku (at JR Isetan Station)

Kyoto, Japan

 

Gion Corner

Yasaka Hall, 570-2 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-ku,

Kyoto, Japan

 

Fushimi Inari

68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward

Kyoto, Japan

 

Yoshuji

Kurama Honmachi

Kyoto, Japan

 

Veggie Café

Nishikiinokuma-cho 537, Nakagyoku (at Inokuma dori)

Kyoto, Japan

May 24, 2016 0

Like A Vegan Abroad – Hiroshima

Hiroshima is a 1.5 hour Shinkansen journey from Osaka and the next stop on my Like A Vegan Abroad journey! Like the other parts of Japan I’ve visited, Hiroshima shares similarities but also some significant differences. The coolest thing about this place is how green it is thanks to the tree-lined streets and luscious AF gardens. It also seems way more chill in the way that you don’t constantly feel like you’re slowly moving through a crowd. Oh, and the food is dope too!

Hiroshima

We rushed for our bullet train and without a chance to grab a snack we were pretty starving so as soon as we checked in, we headed out in search of some eats. The vegan food sitch is nowhere near as plentiful but when it comes to vegan food in Hiroshima, it’s quality over quantity. We very quickly made our way to Art Elk Cafe and pulled up a seat in their light-filled space. The lunch menu is quite varied with plenty of vegan options and from what I can gather the staff speak pretty good English. I opted for the vegan lunch set with tempura as it was the first time I’ve had the opportunity for a big-ass Japanese selection plate since arriving.

Hiroshima

The tempura had a neat little selection of veg with a super tasty dipping sauce. It was followed by a large tray consisting of miso soup, a tofu dish, edamame, onigiri and a little okra dish. All of it was absolutely amazing, one of the best meals I’ve had in Japan so far for sure.

Hiroshima

When you think Hiroshima, unfortunately you think of the atomic bomb that destroyed the city and killed so many in 1945. No visit to Hiroshima should avoid the chance to learn more not only about the horrific event and its victims but also the brave survivors who have managed to rebuild their lives. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is the perfect place to learn and pay your respects while enjoying some beautiful scenery. I would recommend taking the time to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims, the Atomic Bomb Dome and the many monuments scattered throughout the park including the Children’s Peace Monument, which honours the lives of the children lost as a result of the atomic bomb. Atop the monument is a statue of Sadako Sasaki, the young girl who was diagnosed with leukemia as a result of the radiation of the bomb many years before. You would know her as the girl who made 1000 paper cranes in an attempt to grant her wish of a cure for her disease.

Hiroshima

After a pretty intense afternoon of education and reflection, we made our way back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner. We were told that traditional Hiroshima okonomiyaki was a must-have so headed back past the park to Nagataya. We were greeted by a long line of people who obvs had the same idea but after a 30 minute wait we took a seat at a little bench. We ordered while in line so our meals arrived pretty swiftly and when you have a pretty well labelled vegetarian/vegan menu, you can’t really go wrong (make sure you ask for it!) I had the option with rice cake, corn, garlic chips, green onion and soba noodles. It was all crazy delish and so filling that I could barely finish half (I would love it if they came in mini sizes!)

Hiroshima

Hiroshima

The next day we hopped on a boat at Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park and headed off to Miyajima or “Shrine Island” (probs because of all the shrines, huh?) We made our way around the island pretty quickly, checking out the shops, shrines and sights like the huge torii gate. There are plenty of wild deer on the island which are incredibly cute and seem quite happy, not entirely sure how comfortable I am with that whole sitch tho!

Hiroshima

Hiroshima

With that we hopped back on our return boat and trotted along to Hiroshima Castle, which was rebuilt many years after the atomic bomb hit the city. The surrounding grounds are really something and the castle itself has a museum inside where you can learn more about how the castle was restored to its former glory.

Hiroshima

After our exhausting day trekking around Hiroshima so couldn’t muster up the energy to grab dinner. The next day we hopped a cable car, Shinkansen, train and ferry over to Okunoshima or “Rabbit Island” as it’s more commonly known which was originally used as an island factory for producing chemical gas during WW2. You can walk around the island to check out some of the super creepy ruins from the factories as well as the Poison Gas Museum. The rabbits themselves are obvs adorable and hop all over the island at their leisure. We were there on a particularly warm day so many dug little holes to rest in or chose to kip under a tree. It seems a fair amount of effort has gone into making sure the rabbits aren’t disturbed with plenty of signage telling tourists what is and isn’t acceptable as well as lots of water bowls all around for them to drink from. Some say the rabbits were released as test subjects when the poison gas factories were shut down but apparently they were a new batch of rabbits introduced later on.

Rabbit Island

Another ferry, train, Shinkansen and cable car ride back to our hotel meant a quick and reliable dinner was in order, so we stopped back in to Art Elk Cafe on our way back to the hotel. The dinner menu is very similar but has a couple of additional side options. I decided this time to try the Hiroshima Yakiudon with chilli sauce, plus some garlic bread (OMG BREAD, FINALLY!) and then finished things up with a banana spring roll. I believe the woman working that evening was the owner and she was particularly interested in my reasons for becoming vegan. Although not vegan herself, she appreciates the movement and is happy to cater for us, which is so awesome considering there’s not a lot around these here parts. She also said I have lovely skin so naturally we’re BFFs now.

Art Elk Cafe

We didn’t have any big plans locked in for our last day in Hiroshima so we spent the day wandering the streets and checking out the many stores. The larger chain stores don’t seem to have as much to offer as the bigger Japanese cities but there are some super cute boutiques as well. I had heard that a new VEGAN place had opened up not too far from our hotel and even though bookings were recommended, we decided to take our chances. We found Vegan Cafe in the Shanti Yoga building and were greeted by lovely staff who invited us to take off our shoes and enter the dining room. You sit on the floor to eat and a lunch set is brought to you on a tray, ours had rice, miso soup, tofu, salads, pickles and a sweet potato cake which was then followed by tea (we chose matcha) and a chocolate orange cake. The staff were so beautiful and friendly, asking questions about veganism and how we had found the food in Hiroshima. They even took a photo of us for their Instagram which was pretty cute! For 150o yen the food is satisfying and the atmosphere is awesome, definitely a must-visit!

Vegan Cafe

 

Despite the mixed reviews online we decided to give Indian restaurant Padma a go however when we arrived it seemed to be very much closed (not sure if permanently). With very little energy to suss out a new location to trek to (there are very few anyway), we decided to give MOS Burger a visit considering they had been a great back up on our last trip. Since then they’ve added soy patties to their menu and while I couldn’t decipher online whether or not they were vegan, I checked in with the staff who said they were (please feel free to let me know if this info isn’t right.) The buns are still a no-go as far as I know, so I opted for another new thing, getting the burger in lettuce instead! Super delicious and while I’m hoping there’ll be enough vegan options available for the rest of the trip, it’s good to know there’s solid backup if necessary.

MOS Burger

And with that it’s sayonara to Hiroshima and konichiwa to Kyoto, TTYL!

Addresses

Art Elk Cafe

1-7-23 Naka-hara bld 2F, Hiroshima, Naka-ku Otemachi (Hondori St Shopping Centre)
Hiroshima, Japan 730-0051

Nagataya

Shigeishi Bldg 1F, 1-7-19, Otemachi
Hiroshima, Japan 730-0051

Vegan Cafe

Naka-ku, Mikawachō, 2−20
Hiroshima, Japan 730-0029

MOS Burger 

Naka Ward, Hatchobori 6-3

Hiroshima, Japan 730-0013

May 22, 2016 0

Like A Vegan Abroad – Osaka Part 2

Well hello, it’s me again! Coming at ya from Hiroshima with my round up of vegan junk in Osaka. Apart from a day trip on my last visit I had never been to Osaka before so it was most excellent to spend a little extra time and eat a lotta extra food.

Osaka Glico Man

This time around we went fully natch and hit up Minoh Park, a forest on the outskirts of Osaka but only a quick trip from the city. It’s a pretty casj walk to the top so even those allergic to fitness can manage this one, though I wished it was a couple of degrees cooler.

Osaka Minoh Falls

On the way up to Minoh Falls you’ll see plenty of little stalls and restaurants as well as super dope natural and cultural stuff. Maple leaves are the symbol of this little mountainous town and you’ll see them used all over the place, including tempura maple leaves being sold in many of the stores (I didn’t have the chance to find out if they’re vegan). The falls are effing sick and well worth the climb, especially when a monkey gets thrown into the mix! This little guy came out of nowhere and wandered around the perimeter of the falls, almost as if he was posing for photographs before scampering back into the trees. What a little legend.

Osaka Minoh Monkey

After all that walking we had quite the appetite so it’s very convenient that Salunpowaku is sitting pretty near Minoh Station, huh? This hella cute little place has a small but appetising menu in an adorable setting, plus it’s cheap so you really can’t go wrong. I opted for the tofu burger, full of salad and vegan mayo plus a teensy minestrone soup with a chocolate soy milk to wash it all down. So tasty it makes you kinda furious that I can’t score something this tight back home!

Osaka Salunpowaku

We hadn’t had our fill of animal sightings for the day so hit up the amazing Neco Republic, a cat shelter in the heart of Shinsaibashi (near Cafe ATL btw!) Unlike the plentiful and uncool cat cafes you’ll find scattered around Japan’s cities, Neco Republic only houses homeless cats and cares for them until they are adopted. You’re able to go in and spend time with the cats, play with and pet those who are willing and enjoy their presence. If you or someone you know want the cat cafe experience while in Japan, look up one of Neco Republic’s locations and help the cats while spending time with them.

Osaka Neco Republic

Once playtime was up we had built up quite the appetite so went for a little walk to Shama, a vegetarian Indian joint not far from our hotel. It’s another semi-weird underground type situation but a great choice for an inexpensive meal from a pretty extensive menu, from which most items can be made vegan. I chose a set that came with a drink, soup, samosa, momo, spinach naan and two small curries. The curries were ok but it was a real thrill to finally have naan, I haven’t had it since going vegan all those years ago!

Osaka Shama

For our last full day in this amazing city we thought it was time to do a little shopping and the thoroughly amusing HEP Five in Umeda was the place to do it. 7 levels of fun and fashion with a massive red ferris wheel on top (I went on it last time I was here but chose not to this time). I couldn’t track down anything close enough for lunch so we hit the nearby undercover mall and found a pretty fancy Japanese restaurant but unfortunately I don’t know the name because it was all in Japanese! I managed to find some pickle and cucumber hosomaki, pickled cucumber and pickled eggplant nigiri sushi, some edamame and a pickle plate. All of it was pretty delish minus the pickled eggplant and umeboshi on the pickle plate, it’s a no from me. We headed back in to HEP Five for some final bits and pieces, had a brief stop for melon soda (it’s THE BEST) and headed back to our hotel.

Osaka HEP Five

For our final night in Osaka we thought it would be swell to visit one of the most highly recommended restaurants online, Le Coccole. After a 15 minute walk from our hotel we were delighted to find this little place set back from the street and lit up with fairy lights. We took a seat outside (which explains the terrible photos, soz) and we were given a menu. The options for dinner are quiet limited but I opted for a dinner set for 2500 yen which included a leafy salad with a creamy dressing, 3 smaller salads (not exactly sure what they were) and a main meal, I selected what seemed like a creamy risotto dish.

Osaka

Everything was being run by one super lovely and attentive woman who made us feel welcome and along with the atmosphere and positive reviews, we were pretty pumped. Unfortunately for me the food didn’t live up to the hype; the green salad was good but the others all had one very strong underlying taste and the rice dish wasn’t bad but also wasn’t terribly exciting. I get the impression that Le Coccole may be a lunch venue as the menu looks much more extensive.

Osaka

Osaka proved to be a different destination to what I thought it would be but for the better. A great contrast of traditional and modern means that you get a very well-rounded Japanese experience in this city. While the hustle and bustle on the street is a little more hectic than Tokyo, it’s a very easy place to get around. It’s also fantastic to see a growing number of vegan-friendly eateries (and customers!) hitting the city.

Osaka

The next morning we hopped aboard the Shinkansen for Hiroshima (which is where I am now, yay!) If you have any suggestions for eats in the area, let me know as it looks like slim pickings in terms of vegan eats.

Addresses

 Salunpowaku                                                                                                                                                                                                  Osaka-fu, Mino-shi, Mino 6-2-18, Minoh
Osaka, Japan 562-0001

 Neco Republic                                                                                                                                                                                                          3-7-17 Minamisemba, Chuo-ku | 3F Miuraya Bldg                                                                                                                                Osaka, Japan 542-0081

 Shama Vegetarian Indian
 Kurasho Bldg, B1. 1-3-7, Kitahorie, Nishi-ku
Osaka, Japan 550-0014
 HEP Five
 Kakuta-chou 5-15, Kita-ku, Osaka-city
 Osaka, Japan 530-0017
 Le Coccole
 3-4-1 Kitakyuhojimachi, Chuo-ku (Honmachi)
Osaka, Japan
May 18, 2016 4

Like A Vegan Abroad – Osaka Part 1

Hello internet-lovers! If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, you certainly aren’t following me on Snapchat (likeavegan) or Instagram. If you were, you would know that I’m in Japan seeing the sights and eating the eats for the next few weeks. First up I’m going to hit you with a little taste of Osaka because even though I did a sneaky night in Tokyo beforehand, we’ll make our way back to that at the end of the trip.

Osaka Castle

I wasn’t really expecting Osaka to be much different from Tokyo and in some ways it isn’t; there are still hoards of people, streets lined with stores and restaurants plus a whole heap to do. I have noticed that the chaos here is much less organised and I’ve bumped into way more people than I’m used to. A lot of people ride bikes, which was awesomely unexpected, albeit adding to the craziness of navigating Osaka streets.

Osaka Bay

After a ride on the Shinkansen from Tokyo, we were after something nearby for dinner so I tracked down El Pancho, a little Mexican joint just off the Shinsaibashi shopping strip (near H&M and Uniqlo). You wouldn’t necessarily expect to find good Mexican in Japan let alone vegan Mexican but this place is a gem! Don’t be fooled by semi-dodgy exterior, inside there’s wall-to-wall artworks and scrawled handwriting with lights and music filling the place. The staff know what can be veganised which helps a great deal, so I opted for a vegetable burrito which is just as good, if not better than what you’d get back home. Combine that with yuzu margaritas and a Japanese man covering ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and I’m sold!

Osaka El Pancho

The next day we set out to explore the beautiful and historic Osaka Castle before heading back to Shinsaibashi to try the highly recommended Cafe ATL. When you see the big gorilla sign (unfortunately promoting a pet store), look across the road and you’ve found it! A sweet and cosy atmosphere is only made better by the food. You can select a entree, main and drink for less than $15 AUD so I opted for the potato quiche, served with pickled vegetables for my entree with the hummus bagel with salad as my main. Both were fresh, tasty and filling but it was definitely the quiche that stole the show this round.

Osaka Quiche

For dinner we walked in the opposite direction from our hotel and found Paprika, a super cool restaurant with awesome decor and friendly staff. While the food does take quite a while to arrive, it’s well worth the wait. My salad and soy meat pizza were both mega tasty and while I was disappointed they had run out of soft serve for dessert, the cheesecake definitely eased the pain.

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Osaka Paprika

While the main pull of Osaka Bay is the aquarium (obvs a big no no), it’s still a great place to check out if you have the time. I’m not a ferris wheel kinda gal but they’ve got a big one, attached to a funny little shopping mall, as well as Japan’s lowest mountain (a whopping 4.53m above sea level). You won’t find much vegan food here but Green’s Vegetarian Dishes overlooks the ferris wheel and provides a cheap and easy option for lunch. For around 800 yen you can select from the buffet with a few options as well as a soup and a little dessert afterwards. From what I can gather this place is run by volunteers and supports a disability charity so even more of a reason to visit! That night we hit a Hanshin Tigers baseball game at Koshien Stadium so as you can imagine, dinner was a bit of a non-event.

Osaka Green's

The non-event meals continued yesterday due to a visit to Universal Studios Japan, who unlike Disneyland make it incredibly difficult to find out what the hell you can eat. With a little detour through Temma on the way back to Namba, we were in for a real treat for dinner at Aju Vegan Bistro, a funny looking little place off the main strip. The menu is full of variety, so we opted for the caesar salad, avocado fritters and assorted vege soy chicken. The latter were my faves but the salad was tasty too, full of different bits and pieces (including corn flakes?) plus my previous soft serve woes were over, I finally got one (also with bonus corn flakes).

Osaka Aju

Osaka Aju

Osaka Aju

With a few more days in Osaka to go, I’ll have plenty more to share with you next week. Be sure to share any food tips for Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto and Tokyo if you have ’em!