A sushi restaurant may not be the first place you'd think of dining if you're vegan, but there are a number of suitable dishes you can order from the hot food menu or grab from the sushi train. There may not be a separate section on the menu for vegan dishes, but Japanese cuisine is known for its abundant use of vegetables and the traditional sushi accompaniments such as wasabi and soy sauce are suitable for vegans. Fried foods are generally cooked in vegetable oil, but do double check that's the case before ordering. Here are five vegan dishes you can get from a typical sushi restaurant:
This dish consists of thinly sliced vegetables that are dipped in a light batter and deep fried until crunchy on the outside and cooked in the centre. The simple batter is made with water, flour and a little salt. Popular vegetables for tempura include courgette, sweet potato, avocado, carrot, aubergine, and baby corn. You can enjoy vegetable tempura with soy dipping sauce as a light lunch or combine it with a cucumber and seaweed salad for a more substantial meal.
You'll find a number of vegan sushi rolls zipping past you on the sushi train. Sushi rice is prepared with rice vinegar and sugar, so you don't have to worry about any animal fat being used during cooking. Look out for avocado, asparagus, cucumber, sweet pepper, okra, and pickled radish fillings. Enjoy your sushi with a serving of protein-packed edamame beans and a little wasabi.
Udon noodles are thick, chewy and made without eggs or dairy. They are usually served in a broth flavoured with garlic, ginger and spring onions, and vegetable udon dishes sometimes contain tofu for added protein. Popular vegetables in this dish include broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, seaweed, and mangetout.
Vegetable gyoza are fried or boiled dumplings made with vegan-friendly dough and filled with an assortment of shredded vegetables. Cabbage is a common filling, but you'll also find carrot and mushroom versions. Enjoy gyoza with a rice vinegar, soy and sesame oil dipping sauce.
Vegetable Rice Bowl
Boiled or fried rice is served with vegetables sautéed in garlic and sesame oil. Red chilli flakes can be added for a little heat and shiitake mushrooms are often used to add an earthy flavour and meaty texture. This dish is typically garnished with beansprouts, spring onions and sesame seeds.
These dishes are just a few examples of the vegan-friendly dishes on offer at most sushi restaurants. If you're stuck for ideas or unsure of what's in any of the sushi train dishes, just ask a local sushi restaurant such as Pink Rice.