Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Nagoya Vegan Gourmet Festival 2016

We've been so busy since we've done our temporary move to Japan but I wanted to make sure to stay up late one of these nights and squeeze in a post about the Nagoya Vegan Gourmet Festival. We were SO lucky to find out about this event from my little sister who happens to work with some hip Japanese people in LA and even though we won't be here next year, I want everyone else to be able to find info about it, too. 

The Nagoya Vegan Gourmet Festival is held every year. This year it was held in Tsurama Park on May 15 with over 80 booths with food, beverages, natural and handmade goods. We had been living in a hotel in Nagoya for a little over a week when we attended this event and we were HUNGRY! It was the first festival we attended right after we moved here during Festival Season and it made us vegans and vegetarians feel right at home in a city that didn't really seem to understand us.

I knew from attending other similar events in the states we should be prepared with several things and I was correct with pretty much all of them. I'm going to share some of my tips and info with all of you. Sorry I can't feed you through your device. You'll just have to take my word for it. Everything was delish!

Hungry Americans!


There was tons of food here from traditional Japanese style foods like rice, noodles, and bento boxes to vegan "cheeses" melted on fried potato wedges. You can be choosy about what you try, or you can come very hungry, and try everything. (That's what we did!)

Bring cash - PLENTY of cash. 

Food fair/farmer's market events may take credit cards but it is never guaranteed and here in Nagoya it was all cash exchanges at every booth that we visited. Plus there were ingredients and foods that you could purchase to take home. We didn't do this due to living in a hotel and not fully understanding the lack of vegan food in this city yet, but if you are a local, you may want to buy extra food, and take some things to go. Plus, small servings of gourmet vegan, organic food can be expensive. 10000 yen went "poof" in a couple hours and we were scraping around the bottom of our wallets for dessert.

Expect it to be a little crowded. 

It's funny, if you go to a regular restaurant here in Nagoya and state that you're a vegan you get a look of that moves from surprise, confusion, (don't worry, there's probably not spinach in your teeth and you have not sprouted a unicorn horn) then they express regret as if you are the first vegan that has ever crossed the threshold... However, when you go to a vegan food festival the vegans come out of hiding, revealing themselves to puzzled foodies everywhere.

Enjoy alcohol!

In the states, you don't always get to enjoy alcohol at all local outdoor events. Not the case in Nagoya. So far every event we've attended has been selling beer. Beer was abundant at this festival and we were appreciative. Beer makes crowds and parting with massive amounts of cash much more enjoyable.

Potato wedges covered in Sheese is from Bute Island Foods. This was very popular and so good!

Get ready to try new foods (not just for vegans!)

Even non-vegans and vegetarians will find some exciting new things that they never knew existed at this event. We were newbies at this festival and newbies in Nagoya, so I'm not sure how much of our sampling new foods was exclusive to the vegan festival. I do know that this city is not very vegan or even vegetarian friendly so this is a great place to try new foods! 

They sell non-food items, too!

There are other things to buy besides food so back to that bring cash thing :)

If you happen to be in Nagoya during the Vegan Gourmet Festival and enjoy food, I strongly suggest you attend. Make a day of it, bring a picnic blanket, and eat, drink, and enjoy!

I also encourage vegan brands that are marketing their foods and wares in Japan to set up a booth next year. Maybe you'll get some free exposure from someone like me!

Cost to get into festival: FREE
Visit the website: www.vegefes.com
Visit their facebook page: www.facebook.com/vegefes.japan
See my photos on Instagram: #veganfestivalnagoya

Trying new foods!

This is what he looks like when he is experiencing new foods... also when I ask him if he wants to cook, do dishes, or change the baby's diaper.

Everything in Japan is so kawaii (cute!)

Also save a hand for eating or someone has to feed you!

This looked like dessert but it was savory food parfait. She may have been thinking I played a dirty trick on her. 

But she still went back for seconds!

This is how I look when I undo the top button of my pants and find an extra 700 yen of coin in my pocket. Game back on!

I've yet to see Sheese from Bute Island Foods sold at a store in Nagoya and I haven't tried to order it, yet, but I may give it a shot since we have not found any cheese substitute. (I'll be making my own when my food processor and Vitamix finally make their way out of customs...)

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