Monday, September 28, 2009

Veggie Osaka adventures

I have a confession. When I go to restaurants, I don't eat Japanese food. Well, most of the time anyway. I've had some wonderful uniquely Japanese food experiences (conveyer belt sushi, okonomiyaki, etc) but a lot of the time I go for the international places, and our trip to Osaka was no exception. This entry acts as a mini-guide to vegetarian dining in Osaka.

We arrived at Namba station, conveniently close to one of our first destinations: Den Den town (Osaka's electronics, video games, and all around nerd district). Greg remarkably remembered the location of a nearby Indian restaurant. Lala had a large selection of decent tasting veggie curries, but it wasn't especially vegan friendly. Greg ended up with a yoghurt dessert he couldn't eat and the mango juice he ordered was suddenly a mango lassi when it appeared.

For dinner, we went to Axum, probably Japan's only Ethiopian place. Remarkably, the owner remembered us from our previous visit over a year ago. He didn't, however, remember that we are vegetarians so we ordered an item that had no meat listed in its ingredients but it actually had beef in it. He was kind enough to replace the dish with something we could eat. Totemo oishikatta desu yo!

The next day we intended to eat at Cafe Millet, an organic vegetarian lunch place, but, alas, it was closed for the holiday. We headed back to the station and decided to give a random Japanese style curry place a try. Unfortunately they used the same curry sauce for all the curries, so even though we ordered the vegetable curry we ended up with some stringy meat bits in our meals. Moral of the story: never trust the Japanese curries.

That night we ate at Kathmandu, a Nepalese place. It gets my vote for the best meal we had in Osaka. We split an oh so wonderfully spicy soy bean salad (the crunchy nut kind!) and then I had an eggplant and potato curry.

We liked Katmandu so much we tried to go back for lunch the next day, but it was closed. Instead we ate at Maharaja, an Indian place in the basement of Umeda station. We've never had problems getting vegetarian food at Indian places, and the owner spoke English, so I'm not sure what went wrong but we soon found that one of the two curries they gave us had chicken in it. Sigh.

I didn't discover until our return that Osaka has a really good (well, by Japanese standards) mexican place called El Pancho. I think we've exhausted most of the activities we actually want to do in Osaka, but I think we might return just for BURRITOS.

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