Japanese Dining 09/25/2010
 
I just had dinner at a (no longer very good and shall therefore remain nameless) Japanese restaurant.

Most Japanese restaurants are deceitfully challenging for vegans.  Clearly the standard sushi is out and don't be fooled by hibachi.  It's great to watch but aside from the soup and salad, you're on the sidelines...it's a butter fest!

There are plenty of choices, however, that are great.  For starters, mixed greens with ginger dressing, miso soup and seaweed salad are friends of ours!  Vegetable tempura and age-tofu, deep fried tofu with tempura flakes in a delicate dumpling sauce are also fine (but being that they're fried, not quite as healthy.)  Some places serve vegetable gyoza (steamed dumplings) or ohitashi, spinach marinated in a sesame sauce and bonito flakes (get it without those...it's dried tuna.)  For dinner, yakisoba (buckwheat noodles) with vegetables are the Japanese version of Chinese lo mein, and in case it matters, they are also gluten free. Depending on your restaurant, there are plenty of vegan maki choices too: cucumber, avocado, shiitake, peanut/avocado (simply outrageous because the peanuts are honey roasted!) and sweet potato tempura.  If you're worried about the rice, see if they'll make the rolls naruto - wrapped in ultra-thin slices of cucumber .  I get that with marinated pickle and avocado and it's really tasty, plus I love the crunch sushi doesn't normally provide.

Mochi is a Japanese dessert.  I've never had it because I'm not into sweets, but it's a vegan friendly treat made from glutinous (sticky) rice and some people swear by it.  If you try it, let me know, but be sure you don't have the ones that come stuffed with ice cream!
 


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