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Vegetarian Dishes To Order At A Japanese Restaurant

Japanese cuisine is widely known for its use of meat and seafood. So, if you follow a vegetarian diet, you may not know what to order. The good news is that most Japanese restaurants do offer a variety of vegetarian dishes, too. It's just helpful to know what they are. Here are some key ones you're likely to find on most Japanese restaurant menus.


You may find this dish on an appetizer menu, but it's big enough and filling enough to serve as a meal if you'd rather order it as your entree. Okonomiyaki is essentially pancakes made from a combination of cabbage and noodles. They can be topped with any number of toppings — usually a sweet sauce and green onions. Some restaurants might sprinkle fish flakes on top by default, but you can ask for them to be left off.

Miso Soup

Miso soup is a really soothing, warm soup made with fermented soybean paste, or miso. It has a really umami flavor, which might make you think it's made from meat broth, but the flavor all comes from the miso. You'll often find soybean protein, cabbage, and sometimes even cubes of tofu in the miso soup. It's not the most filling dish on its own, but would be a great accompaniment to some okonomiyaki or tempura vegetables.

Zaru Soba

Soba noodles are thick, chewy buckwheat noodles that are used in an array of dishes. In Zaru soba, the noodles are served cold and alongside a sweet dipping sauce. This dish may look strange to those who have not tried it before, but it's an incredible delicacy. Plus, it is vegetarian! Buckwheat is pretty high in fiber and protein for a grain, so the soba noodles will fill you up.

Vegetarian Ramen

If the Japanese restaurant you're in serves ramen, then there is often a vegetarian version on the menu. It may be listed as "miso ramen." This ramen is served in a miso broth, and the toppings tend to include cabbage, green onions, shredded carrot, tofu, and pickled onion. If you want an extra filling version, ask them to substitute soba noodles for traditional ramen noodles.

While a lot of Japanese cuisines are not vegetarian, there are definitely dishes to explore if you're someone who does not eat meat or seafood. Look for the options above on the restaurant's menu. They are all meat and seafood-free, and they're all delicious. Contact a local Japanese restaurant to learn more.