Konnichi Wa! Today is the day that I want to introduce you to another “series”
*pretentiouuuuus, me sorryyyyy* (or whatever this is). Vegan In Japan, as the name already indicates, will be all about my vegan restaurant finds, my struggles with finding food and some (hopefully helpful) tips for leading a plant-based life style in Japan.
Being vegan in Japan is pretty challenging, even if you are able to read product labels. That’s because the Japanese seem to love putting animal products into everything, even when it’s probably completely unnecessary. Like, why is there milk and egg in virtually all the bread you can find in regular super markets? If it’s sweet bread, sure, I get it … but do you really need to put milk and eggs in regular toast bread? Also, why is there milk in most pasta sauces, even if it’s just a simple one? Why is there gelatin or fish stock in almost all salad dressings? WHY JAPAN?
So yeah, you can imagine that veganism – even just vegetarianism – is a concept that is still very unknown to the general Japanese public. However, thanks to globalization and the increased flow and moving around of people across the globe and blabla
*international studies student right here* concepts and ideas such as plant-based, cruelty-free and animal rights have become known to more and more people. As a result, more and more vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafés have started to emerge, especially in big cities, and convenience stores and super markets are offering more and more vegan- and vegetarian-friendly products, such as soy meat for example.
Kyoto in particular is known as the vegan capital of Japan. Famous foods of Kyoto include a variety of different types of tofu and vegetables. Since there are also many, many, many temples in Kyoto, there are many Buddhist monks living a strict vegetarian lifestyle, which is why it is also easy to find traditional shojin ryouri, (vegetarian) Buddhist temple cuisine.
In- and outside of the city centre, there are also a lot of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, most of which are easily accessible and quite affordable. Today I want to talk about one of them: Morpho Café, probably one of my favourite restaurants in Kyoto.
I suck at food photography, I’m sorry. Still learning, ‘kay.
Morpho Café is kind of located between the Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle, on Horikawa Dori. I took a
super-detailed google maps screenshot because I can’t explain directions and places and all that complicated shit:
The exact address (in Japanese) is: 〒602‐8242 京都市上京区西堀川通中立売下る皀莢（さいかち）町309
But you should be able to find it by simply typing “Morpho Café” into Google Maps.
Morpho Café offers a lot of different vegan(-ized) meals, desserts and drinks, without limiting itself to one certain type of cuisine. It offers a few Japanese dishes, such as vegan teishoku ( = meal sets), like in the photo above, where you basically get a main dish (in the picture above, said main is a cream croquette and a tonkatsu), a bowl of rice, a soup and a lot of small side dishes. There’s also a vegan tonkatsu ( = pork cutlet) plate, which includes a salad, a little tofu-sidedish-thingy, four pieces of delicious, deep fried, guilt-free tonkatsu, a bowl of rice and a soup.
One of the best things I’ve ever eaten, I swear.
There is also vegan ramen, more specifically a soy milk ramen topped with lots of mushrooms and other veggies. There might have been another kind of vegan ramen, but I can’t remember right now, I’m sorry. You can also get a vegan-ized version of the famous Okinawan taco rice (which normally consists of rice topped with taco-flavoured ground beef, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and salsa). Also, there is a special donburi ( = rice bowl ) that consists of nattou – fermented soy beans -, tomato and avocado. Unfortunately I did not get to try any of these three types of dishes. However, one of my omnivore friends I dragged along with me to the restaurant a couple of times tried the vegan soy milk ramen and the donburi, and absolutely loved both dishes.
Morpho Café also offers two different kinds of pizza; one with eggplant and meat sauce, and another with potato and corn cream. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try the pizzas, but according to one of my friends who did, they are very delicious. She even approved of the vegan cheese – and she’s French, so she knows her cheese.
What I did get to try, however, are the two vegan burgers: the soy meat one, and the veggie fish one. The soy meat one starred a soy meat patty and a bolognese-like soy meat sauce, while the fish burger consisted of avocado, tartar sauce and a fried fish-like soy meat patty. Both burgers came in a set with a fresh salad and fried potatoes, and were very, very, VERY good. Just thinking about them right now is making me hungry.
Why am I writing this post at one o’clock in the morning, ahhhhh? *salivating*
There are a bunch of other dishes on the menu, but these are the ones that I found the most delicious/impressive/
whatever. A more extensive description of the menu can be found on Morpho Café’s website, which I will post below.
But now, let’s get to the most important of all important things: D E S S E R T. Oh my god, the dessert. The dessert. THE DESSERT.
Okay, I only tried two of the many desserts
(well okay, not that many, hah) that Morpho Café offers. One of them was a beautiful, glorious, amazing, *insert more overly positive adjectives* chocolate cake. With whipped cream. Vegan whipped cream. Heaven on Earth, I swear. The second one was … a vegan Japanese-style parfait. Probably the best vegan dessert I have ever had in my life. Perfection in a glass. The parfait was always a tiny bit different each time I ordered it, but there was generally always a lot of (banana?) ice cream, a piece of chocolate cake, some fruit, whipped cream (♥ ♥ ♥) ( *more salivating*), cornflakes, and chocolate pudding … and maybe something else, but I can’t remember. So good, seriously. If one of you lovely people out there ever happens to be in Kyoto and decides to go to Morpho Café, I 2348728319i2384% recommend this parfait.
Well, well, that’s all from my side for this post. More information about Morpho Café’s menu, opening times, etc. can be found on this website: https://www.morphocafe.com
Even though this post was basically just me going crazy over delicious vegan food
(I can’t help myself, sorry, food is basically my purpose in life), I hope you still found it a tiny bit entertaining. Thank you anyway for reading. I’ll probably post another post like this one soon, about another vegan restaurant in Kyoto, or vegan food in convenience stores, or something else vegan-related. Until then, take care and good bye!