Recently I have been making rather drastic life changes. I quit my job, I started pouring milk before cereal in a bowl and a host of other things that can be characterized as an early midlife crisis. I found myself getting up in the mornings thinking about another important life change. One VERY important thing: I need to start getting serious about tofu!
The thought kept boomeranging in my head until one day I finally did. I made some honey-barbecued Tofu with riced cauliflower (yet another thing I had been thinking about getting serious about). I was so moved by the surprising meaty taste of the tofu that I now finally understand why vegetarians are able to enjoy their diet! Needless to say, I started busying myself with thoughts of other vegetarian foods to try. Once I start something I exhaust it! I am not a quitter.
I happened to visit Tokyo for a lazy weekend. Just to catch up with a friend who lives in close to Ikebukuro. No clubs, no bars, no outdoor adventures. After a relaxing weekend well spent, I was ready to head back home on the Shinkansen. On the day of my departure my lovely friend, who was in full support of my new found love for all things vegetarian, recommended we have lunch. My friend is a backsliding vegan or as I would like to think, a recovering carnivore—glass half full, right? The restaurant she recommended was a little vegetarian Restaurant called T’s Tantan I believe. I could be mistaken though. Unfortunately my Japanese reading skills are somewhere between a rock trying to grow and a giraffe trying to swim. Can giraffe’s swim by the way? Another fun fact for me to check out later. I do that sometimes, collect seemingly useless information just incase I may need to know it in the future. I once sat and googled how to hypnotize a crocodile and a shark, because you never know this is the kind of the thing you NEED to know before you actually find yourself in a situation faced with a man eating animal! Anyway, I digress. I will attach a photo a little later with the restaurant’s name and entrance for those who do indeed read Japanese and can tell me what it is called.
Get this! It is located inside Tokyo Station! That’s right you don’t have to exit the station if you don’t want to. This makes it super convenient to get to for those who need to waste some time before a transfer. Where exactly is it located? You may ask. Well, if you walk along the Keiyo Line and find yourself on Keiyo street you will be able to locate it tucked away in a little corner. Keiyo street has quite a few shops, so please revisit aforementioned picture, so you can know what to look for.
At this restaurant you can find a healthy number of vegetarian meals, ranging from different types of ramen to rice bowls and so on. On the walls of the restaurant, it is proudly boasted that no eggs, dairy, or meat products are used in their meals. In fact one of the readings on the walls says, “We live to eat vegetables!” I feel like that should be the slogan for all things and people vegetarian or vegan. Isn’t is just an awesome phrase? All jokes aside, I have heard from my more committed vegetarian and vegan friends that eating out can be difficult. As a carnivore/potentially newly transitioning vegan, I have never really had this problem. For those who do and have, I sympathize with you. If you find yourself in Tokyo, however, and you are positively starving for some good 'ol healthy food, I highly recommend this place. Not only are the prices very reasonable, but the food does taste good. Again, I was absolutely blown away by the meatiness of the deep fried soy meat. Like seriously, this stuff is unbelievably good! Why have I not been eating it all along? I tried one of the spicy ramens and you could not even tell meat was missing from it. My friend had the rice bowl topped with the soy meat and some vegetarian dumplings. She seemed to enjoy it. The staff members were a little distant, but overall polite, i’d say. I chalk that up to our “foreignness” and the fact that we would not stop snapping pictures of the restaurant. One of the waiters spoke a little, but much appreciated English, in order for us to get our orders right. He still came back with the bean sprouts on my ramen even though I did not want them. No big thing though, I picked them out and thanked him for trying to understand me. There was also an English menu. For those who are like me, you can just point and say “I want this, this, this and this” and you will be perfectly understood. If it comes back with bean sprouts, be a good sport and eat em won’t you?
The atmosphere was pretty laid back, a bit on the quieter side. On the inside appeared to be much larger than it looked on the outside which was interesting. There were so many seats. Single seats, if, you know, you hate people, and table seats if you want to sit and chat with a friend. I could see people reading while they waited for their meals, others enjoying a cup of coffee after their meals. The walls are a pale yellow… or was it cream? I forgot, but they are decorated with more quotes about the love of vegetables and eating right. We all want good food, vegetarian, vegan or not. If you ever find yourself in Tokyo and feel for something new, healthy and light, you should definitely try this T’s Tantan place.
So there you go folks. I have just made your travels in Tokyo and your hunt for wholesome food a little easier. Say “Thank you Shantae.” Hahah, I am joking…well not really. You can say it if you want to! Enjoy and let us know how you liked it, if you do end up going.