Vegetarian Ramen at Chabuton
Delicious vegetarian ramen noodles at Chabuton, a ramen restaurant in Japan with branches in Osaka, Tokyo and Kyoto.
You might recognise the name from one of my older videos. Unfortunately since I made that video, that branch has now closed! And then, the ramen in the video was taken off the menu…! But now there’s a new vegetarian ramen on the menu, so it’s time for an updated video.
This time I went to the branch in Osaka, which is in the Umeda district in Yodobashi Camera.
Most ramen in Japan isn’t vegetarian – even if it doesn’t have meat toppings, it almost always contains dashi (fish stock) or meat stock. While you can make dashi with konbu (seaweed), if you’re eating out it will almost certainly be made with katsuoboshi (tuna flakes), unless you’re at a vegetarian restaurant or somewhere with a specified vegetarian option like Chabuton.
Chabuton is a small ramen chain (but don’t let that put you off!). The dishes are created by a chef with a Michelin star, so it’s top quality, but not expensive.
It’s a casual ramen bar with an authentic but modern feel, and it’s a great place for a warm, filling meal. There’s a selection of meat ramen dishes on the menu, which you can customise by adding extra toppings, as well as gyoza and portions of rice as sides. Phil’s favourite is the tonkotsu ramen, which has a rich, creamy pork broth.
The vegetarian ramen has plenty of vegetables on top, with a tasty, light soup that’s full of flavour. Vegetarian gyoza are actually pretty difficult to find (most contain pork) so they’re an extra treat!
How to Order
You place your order using a vending machine, which is actually quite common at ramen restaurants in Japan – it leaves the staff free to prepare your food, without having to take orders or handle money.
The buttons on the vending machine are in Japanese, but there are pictures. There’s an English menu, which as a key to tell you which button is which. If you match up the prices, you can double-check you’ve got the right button. And a useful phrase if you press the wrong button is “chigaimashita” (I made a mistake!).
How to find Chabuton
There are branches in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. There’s a shop list on the Chabuton website – just right-click to translate the page. You can also find them on Google Maps by searching for “Chabuton” followed by the name of the city.
More Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants
Here’s my list of restaurants in Tokyo with vegetarian options. It’s based on my personal list, which I’ve spent literally hours researching. Most of them are regular restaurants with a veggie option, because I travel with meat-eaters. If you want 100% vegetarian or vegan restaurants, a great website to check is Happy Cow.
Tips for Being Vegetarian in Japan
Here are my tips for being vegetarian in Tokyo when you’re there on a trip – what to avoid, how to survive and recommendations based on my experience:
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