You’re on the road, walking about, enjoying the sights in a foreign country when hunger strikes. Perhaps there’s not a suitable restaurant nearby, or perhaps all you really need is a snack, so what’s a vegetarian or vegan to do?
Life-saving Convenience Stores
In some countries, such as India (where the green circle in a square gives you the the “go”), it’s easy to know what foods are vegetarian friendly. In Japan, however, no such easy way to discriminate exists. The only way to know is to read the ingredients list, which if you can’t read Japanese, can be pretty problematic!
To say convenience stores are ubiquitous in Japan would be an understatement. In major cities, you can often see three or even four right in your line of sight! The most widespread chains are Lawson, Family Mart, and 7-Eleven. Not only do they offer free Wi-Fi (bonus!), but a variety of vegetarian and vegan options as well. Convenience stores to the rescue!
Yes, but what can I actually eat?
Predictably, if you are a vegan, you are going to face the biggest challenge when looking for something to eat. Conversely, if you are ovo-lacto, you are going find the sailing smoothest. One thing is for certain: Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a convenience store food by its wrapper. These convenience stores make no claims about any of their foods being vegetarian, so even if a product is called something that only speaks of vegetables and rice, that is no guarantee it’s vegan or even vegetarian.
For ovo-lactos, all these convenience stores generally stock egg salad sandwiches, which you should be able to consider adherent. For vegans, consider 7-11’s Leek and Miso Rice Ball (Onigiri). These same convenience stores also generally sell ready-to-eat cut vegetables and fruit as well. There’s always a plethora of bottled green teas (almost always sugar-free) to choose from to wash down your booty with.
Be sure with Vegewel
As a guideline, what’s written above should set you in the right direction. However, to be sure, we recommend you use Vegewel’s ever so convenient guide to convenience store foods. After choosing which store you are in, you’ll get a clear listing with pictures to help you figure out which rice ball, sandwich, or other item is a good match for you.
Remember, just because something on the shelf looks like it is vegetarian, doesn’t mean it really is! Get that peace of mind with Vegewel’s guide.