Dashi, bonito flakes, dried fish... Hidden enemies, our worst nightmares.
In this article, I will not talk about vegetarian restaurants or bars since I wanted to make an article to help you to find vegetarian things everywhere, not in vegetarian / vegan places only. First of all, you have to bare in mind that the japanese culture is not very keen on changing things of the menu. In Spain, we do it all the time, but changing, removing or adding ingredients to a certain dish will most likely bother your waitress and cooker and it simply will not be done. You have to accept this cultural difference and adapt to it, since you are the one visiting: if something has meat on it, then chose another dish from the menu!
However, there are ways to avoid meat and fish. Let me teach you 13 easy sentences for your vegetarian soul:
1) Watashi wa bejitarian desu - I am vegetarian
2) Niku ga haitte imasu ka? - Does this contain meat?
3) Tamago to cheezu ga taberaremasu - I can eat eggs & cheese
For your allergies or if you are vegan!
4) Niko to sakana wa taberaremasen - I can't eat meat or fish
An alternative to "Watashi wa bejitarian desu", a more precise one
5) Yasai - Vegetables
Our dear friends!
6) Katsuobushi nashi de onegai shimasu - Without bonito fish flakes, please
This is a pretty usual petition, however, since a lot of people prefer their okonomiyaki without bonito flakes
7) (...) wa arimasu ka? - Do you have (...) ?
"Yasai wa arimasu ka?" :)
8) Shojin Ryori wa yatte imasuka? - Do you serve vegetarian foods?
"Shojin Ryori" is a typical food served and eaten by a variety of monks that do not support violence. It is very easy to find in temples and almost everyone will understand that you want vegetarian / vegan options.
9) Doubutsu wa taberemasen - I can't eat animals
Another option to express that we do not eat meat or fish
10) Oishii // Oishiikatta desu - Yummy
Complimenting your food is always a good way to make everyone smile. Do not be shy!
12) Hitotsu onegaishimasu - One, please
A good way to ask for something if you do not know the word for the food or item
13) Kore wo hitotsu onegaishimasu - One of these, please
Another way to express your hungry desires
Also, here is a difficult hint for everyone. I know that every vegetarian might be different and some of us do not eat anything that was made with fish or meat, like soups or the infamous dashi. However, I have to say that dashi is hidden in many dishes, sometimes even in soja sauce. So I would advice you to be a little ( just a little ) flexible regarding dashi if you accept it, of course.
Here is a list of 19 foods that you can eat in almost every place, even in some Izakaya, that are vegetarian. Take a look!
1) Shojin ryori Source: pinterest.com
2) Conveyor-belt Sushi Source: Valpak.com
4) Tofu Source: i.blogs.es
5) Zaru Soba Source: hipfoodiemom.com
6) Tempura Source: farm4.static.flickr.com
7) Japanese Curry ( Kare Raisu ) Source: veganmiam.com
8) Ramen Source: justonecookbook.com
9) Kushiage Source: chefanapaula.com.mx
10) Tsukemono Source: metropolisjapan.com
11) Udon Soba & Soba Noodles Source: photos.demandstudios.com
12) Miso Soup Source: s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com
13) Nasu Dengaku Source: japancentre-images.freetls.fastly.net
14) Yaki / Umeboshi / Sekihan Onigiri Source: loveandoliveoil.com
15) Oyaki Source: kyotofoodie.com
16) Kabocha Korroke Source: bebeloveokazu.com
17) Rice Cakes Source: onlynativejapan.com
18) Mochi & a variety of sweets / bakery Source: finedininglovers.cdn.crosscast-system.com
19) Mame Source: cdn2.momjunction.com
I hope that this article was helpful and that you step into Nippon without the fear of eating only rice :)! Please leave a like and a comment if you liked my work and until the next time :D
Gochisousama deshita! \(^_^)/