The Vegetarian Homestay

Last week I posted an article of a few vegetarian meals I got to explore while I was yet to be allocated to a host family. In order to get an authentic experience of the culture and daily Japanese lifestyle, Homestay program is the best of all the options. I will further talk about the pros and cons of Homestay in yet another article, but for now, I will focus on the best part of living in a new country. The FOOD! For a vegetarian who loves travelling and food, options are usually limited on the menu, but during a homestay, your Okaasan (Mother) will make sure that all your needs are met with. Here are my favourite dishes of first two weeks that Okaasan cooked for me and my housemate:

Sukiyaki

The first evening meal and also my favourite was Sukiyaki. Falling in the category of Nabemono (hot pot), Sukiyaki is traditionally cooked with simmered meat, along with a lot of different vegetables, noodles, and soup. My Okaasan made it all vegetarian, except for the shrimps (which she bought in bulk because she knew I ate it and liked it very much). My bowl of Sukiyaki contained sprouts, Soba Noodles, Udon Noodles, Abura-age (very delicious and flavorful deep-fried tofu), and shrimp.
Sukiyaki

Takoyaki

Takoyaki literally means baked octopus. We cooked it on the dinner table together. It was full of cabbage and Tako/octopus (but Kon-nyaku, which is made of potato, for me). It was topped with the special sauce and mayonnaise. Who knew mayo was one of the most popular sauce in Japan?
Tako (octopus) and Kon-nyaku (potato)
Takoyaki

Inaari Sushi with Agedashi Dofu

When you think of Sushi you think seaweed, fish, and rice. Inaari sushi is very different from your normal sushi. It is simply sushi rice in the Abura-age pouch. The sweetness of Abura-age and saltiness of the rice will bring unknown pleasures to your taste buds. To make it even better, Okaasan served inari sushi with Agedashi Dofu (Tofu). Agedashi Dofu is a special Japanese way of serving hot tofu. It was topped with green onions and soy sauce.
Inaari sushi
Agedashi Dofu

Amurice

Amurice is one of the most famous and favourite Japanese dish (that you might not have come across yet). It is literally rice wrapped in an omelette. My host mom made it with different spices and chilli. It is a very filling dish and definitely oishii (yummy)!!
Amurice

Yaki Soba

Although the name says Soba, this flavourful stirfry does not use Soba noodles. It uses wheat noodles, and my host mom used various vegetables (and shrimp) in the dish. Yaki Soba uses oyster sauce traditionally but Okaasan mixed various vegan sauces to bring out the flavour of it's each ingredient.
Yaki Soba

 Tempura Soba Noodle Bowl

One of my favourites and easily available are the vegetable tempuras. With the vegetable-miso broth, the soba noodles taste great when topped with tempuras and Abura-age. If you're not doing the homestay program, this delicious bowl of noodles is still available easily when you choose your own toppings at restaurants/cafeteria.
Tempura Soba
These are my favourites of all the meals prepared by Okaasan, but her menu is not limited to this. She is an amazing cook and feeds us to our satisfaction everyday. It would have been very hard for me to go out and eat not only because I’m a vegetarian but I also struggle with reading ingredients of the dishes that are written in Japanese. Keep a look out for my article of the homestay experience to learn about pros and cons! 

 

Ayushi Kalyani