Tokyo Vegan Eatery Review No. 1 – T’s Tantan Vegan Ramen

Woohoo, I’m back in Tokyo, for the first time in 11 years! Actually, I’m staying at my aunt’s house in Chiba, which is technically not Tokyo but is the next prefecture – about one hour away from central Tokyo. I have two weeks in Japan, and I have so much to do and see.

Included in my to-visit-list are a whole bunch of craft shops, kitchenware shops, food shops, stationary shops, book stores, department stores, an organic farm, and of course, vegan / vegetarian restaurants and cafes. Oh and I’ll be helping my aunt and my mother cook amazing festive food for the New Year’s Day. And in between all these activities I’d like to squeeze in some exercise and relaxation time as well. Does it sound too much? Impossible? Probably. We shall see.

Today was my first trip to Tokyo. And my first goal was to have lunch at a vegan ramen place called “T’s Tantan” – which is located inside Tokyo Station (i.e. you have to buy a train ticket or one of prepaid train passes like this, and then get inside the station first). If you’ve never been to Tokyo Station, it’ll shock you. It’s a huge, multi-level monster of a station, complete with hundreds of shops, restaurants, cafes, gift shops, bento shops, takeaway shops – and of course dozens of different train platforms and subway stations scattered every which way. It’s scary.

I always get lost here, and wasn’t sure if I’d ever find this magical vegan ramen place – but miraculously I managed.


T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

To get here, you have to first get inside the Tokyo station, and go towards “Yaesu Minami Guchi” (South Yaesu Exit / 八重洲南口), but not out to the street. You can also follow the sign for “Keiyo Sen” (Keiyo line / 京葉線). And just before the exit, on your right side, there is a little row of eateries and shops called “Keiyo Street.” The ramen joint is at the end of Keiyo Street, on your right hand side.

Here it is. Vegan ramen!

T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

There was a little line of people waiting to get inside the ramen place. It was lunch time though, and today was a public holiday, so I wasn’t surprised. The wait was only about 5 minutes thankfully. The place is open from 7am till 11pm.

T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

Inside the restaurant was simple but clean, tastefully decorated with vegan messages on the walls, and surprisingly spacious. There were tables for multiple people, but you’d feel completely comfortable eating on your own. The wait staff were all friendly, kind, and efficient (they were very good at refilling your glass of cold water). Despite the line of people waiting, nobody rushed you into ordering or eating. Once inside, everyone seemed relaxed and happy. I heard relaxed chattering in several languages, as well as lots of audible slurping sounds as you’d expect in a ramen joint.

T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

The menu isn’t very long. There were 5 main ramen dishes -ramen with white sesame, black sesame, golden sesame with peanut sauce, soy ramen, and something called “Su-Ra Tanmen” which has vinegar and chilli sauce in it. You can also order extra veggies, which I did. There were also a couple of side dishes, like dumplings, mini curry-and-rice dish, and mock fried chicken nuggets. For the drink menu, there was coffee, tea, orange juice, and (wow) beer, organic red wine and organic white wine.

I ordered the most expensive “golden sesame” ramen (with peanut sauce) with extra veggies and a side of mock chicken nuggets. What can I say, I was starving. All their mock meats are all made from a high-quality soy product brand called “daizu marugoto” (whole soy). I’ve had these before, and they are pretty great.

T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

Here’s my meal! How exciting. And it was yummy! I’d say 8.5 out of 10. The soup was amazing, with rich peanut sauce, satisfyingly salty, oily enough but not too oily, and with deep rich sesame flavour. My setup came with a little jar of homemade chilli pepper mix, and I put a generous amount of it in my soup. I recommend ordering extra veggies, because there weren’t much veggies in the bowl by default.

T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

The potions size was sufficient for a normal hungry woman. I felt like I over-ate with the deep-fried nuggets. I’d skip that next time.

The only negative thing I could find about the ramen was that the noodle seemed just slightly overcooked – lacking in al dente texture. But that could be because I was too busy taking photos before actually eating.

T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

The “chicken” nuggets were a little on the sweet side for my taste buds, but still very tasty. I threw them into the bowl of noodles and ate them all together. So yum.

As for the pricing, considering I ordered two extras, the total cost was still very reasonable at 1450 yen (about AU$16). Compared to the high cost of lunch in Sydney, it was quite reasonable, I thought.

T's Tantan Vegan Ramen Tokyo

I’d love to go back there another time to try other ramen dishes – particularly the white sesame one, which most everybody else was ordering.

PS. On the other hand… ramen is not very diabetes friendly… The noodles probably shocked my blood sugar into a soaring high! But I’m on vacation – and on a mission to find vegan-friendly eateries in a sea of mostly non-vegan places in Tokyo, so it was okay. After all, I’m still alive and ready for my next adventure! Stay tuned.





Vegan Tour of Sydney

There are so many vegan places popping up in Sydney these days – how exciting is it? Bursting with curiosity, I took a two-and-a-half hour train ride this week to visit just a few of these places.

zeitgeist cafe sydney

My first stop, after getting off the train at Town Hall station, was the Zeitgeist Cuisine cafe. The place was pretty small, and the menu was limited.

zeitgeist cafe sydney

After a long train ride though, this cup of homemade almond milk latte and raw brownie was wonderful. The coffee was subtly sweet and creamy, a welcome change from the usual Bonsoy that most cafes use here in Sydney. The brownie (though a little too coconutty for my taste) also wasn’t too sweet, and hence not too guilt-inducing for a diabetic like me.

Zeitgeist cafe Sydney

They had wraps and salad for lunch (and dinner?), but this is more of a snack, coffee, and light meal kind of place.

Bodhi sydney yumcha vegan

Next, I met up with lovely Toshi-san (who, by the way, has an online shop selling vegan-friendly Japanese groceries) at a vegan yumcha (dumpling) restaurant called Bodhi. Located minutes from Hyde Park in central Sydney, this was one of the best yumcha places I’ve been – vegan or not!

The extensive outside seating area was blissful on a warm Springy day. The staff was friendly and attentive. And the food! You wouldn’t even know they are 100% vegan because every dish was super tasty and fresh.

passionfruit puff at bodhi sydney

They had a variety of dessert dishes as well – but honestly, by the time desserts came we were completely full, so we just tried this passionfruit dumpling / puff thingy. It was doughy but delicious.

Next, I took a bus to Glebe to check out Cruelty Free Shop to see what kind of vegan goodness they had. There was a LOT of vegan sweets (stuff I can’t eat unfortunately). They were also well-stocked on jars of condiments like mayonnaise and nut butters.

But what wowed me the most was their huge freezer section full of… mock cheese and meat. I’m normally not a fan of meat-shaped soy product (why not eat just vegetables or tofu?) or cheese-shaped vegetable oil product (I’m content with nutritional yeast). But I was too intrigued not to try a few.

Cruelty free shop finds

Jackfruit! I have seen this novelty fruit going around the internet so often, I just have to try what it tastes like. Also I got a can of fishless tuna to try (later I heard it’s pretty disgusting though… hmm… disappointed). The sausages and the cheese might go on a kids’ pizza night menu soon.

Also in Glebe, I stopped by this bulk food shop chain called the Source. What a lovely shop full of organic, high-quality produce! I got some bulk chocolate from Loving Earth and organic turmeric and ginger powders there.

Finally, dinner was in Newtown, where veganism is all happening. With so many restaurants to choose from, picking just one place was hard. But I settled on a all-vegan Vietnamese place called Golden Lotus.

Golden Lotus Vietnamese vegan newtown

It’s famous for mock meat dishes. Even though I’m not crazed about mock meat, I was curious. Also, there is not one good Vietnamese restaurant in the upper Blue Mountains – so I was craving Vietnamese flavours.

You’ll need to make a booking for this place. It was packed on a Tuesday night. But the food was amazing! My friend and I shared an appetiser plate, which had mock duck, mock chicken, and other vegan goodness. Next I had laksa with an assorted mock meat toppings. Yum! They were all delicious. Now I *might* be a mock meat convert. Their deep-fried “chicken”? I couldn’t tell if it was real chicken or not. Honestly.

While in Newtown I couldn’t help checking out another vegan eatery called Lentil As Anything.

lentil as anything

They are famous for being voluteer-run, and their pricing is all by donation (you pay what you like, though they have pricing guides). Their menu changes daily as well. Last night they had Sri Lankan curry, tomato-rice stuffed capsicum, and lentil soup.

lentil as anything

They all looked good. My tummy was full, but I couldn’t help ordering a takeaway.

Capsicum stuffed rice from lentil and anything

Here it is for my lunch today, with added greens.

It was such a productive, fun-filled trip. I can’t wait to visit Sydney again – there are still so many places I’d love to check out….