You can find some pretty great stuff in Japanese convenience stores. Piping hot pizza buns? Delicious fried chicken in a variety of flavors? Meat sauce and seafood pasta for less than a buck? Yes, yes, and YES!
But what’s hard to find at Japanese convenience stores are vegan options. Granted, they have salads, but even a lot of those contain egg and tuna, and if you’re looking for an entire vegan meal, you’re usually entirely out of luck at the convenience store.
That’s changing in a big way this week, though, thanks to the FamilyMart chain. On March 17, FamilyMart rolled out its newest premade donburi (rice bowl) offering: the 100-percent vegan Veggie Burg-don.
Alternatively called the Soy-Patty Burger Bowl, it’s a new take on Japan’s beloved hamburger steak, essentially a hamburger patty with extra onions and served without a bun. However, while most hamburger steaks in Japan are made of either beef or a beef/pork mixture, the Veggie Burg-don uses no meat, egg, honey, dairy, or any other animal products. Instead, the patty is made of soybeans and roast onion, prepared in a way that FamilyMart promises recreates not only the flavor, but the aroma, texture, and juiciness of a traditional hamburger steak.
But it’s not just hamburger steaks that are ordinarily meaty, but their sauce as well. The most common accompaniment to a Japanese hamburger steak is demi-glace, a rich meat-based brown sauce. Obviously that won’t do for the Veggie Burg-don, though, so FamilyMart’s facsimile is made from flour roasted in vegetable oil, tomato, mushrooms, carrots, and other vegetables. If even all that isn’t enough vegetables for you, the rice bowl also comes with sides of stewed carrots and roasted kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) and bell pepper.
▼ The Veggie Burg-don is the first FamilyMart item to be awarded a seal of recommendation from the Japan Vegetarian Society.
With veganism having made its deepest inroads into the Japanese culinary scene in large, cosmopolitan cities, the 498-yen Veggie Burg-don will initially only be offered in Tokyo. However, with FamilyMart having roughly 2,000 branches in the city, that’s a lot of new places to get a vegan meal, and if the product proves popular, we’ll probably see it expand to the rest of the chain’s stores across Japan.
Source: FamilyMart via IT Media
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