I tend to find travelling the world as a vegan pretty easy. Whilst there are sometimes downsides; not always being able to grab a bite to eat at that cafe right next to the sight you're visiting for example, the upsides, like exploring off of the beaten path neighbourhoods, and meeting like minded compassionate people, far outweigh them.
In Japan there was one thing that made vegan travel that little bit harder for me - there were cute desserts everywhere! If you know me you know that I love desserts and I find cute (or kawaii) things hard to resist. Desserts in Japan aren't just a picture on a menu, oh no! There are giant signs advertising sundaes outside restaurants, plastic replicas of honey toast platters in glass cases outside cafes, and giant neon lights signposting the way to the nearest creperie. Honestly, it can be a little much hence why I decided to put together this list of the top five vegan desserts in Tokyo. From Harajuku crepes to konbini dorayaki, if I wasn't so committed to researching, locating, and eating the best vegan desserts around, the city could have been a challenging place for this sugar fiend.
Super delicate, fruity, layered, cream filled cakes are the treats most likely to make my pulse race. On more than one occasion I've talked about moving to Tokyo to start a vegan dessert cafe specialising in these specific treats but now I may not have to. The Strawberry Shortcake from Chaya Macrobiotics is one of the most delightful desserts I've ever had the pleasure of eating and I am a tiny but upset that I only had the chance to eat it once.
This dessert is a showstopper, a delight for all of the senses. It's light and creamy with the perfect cake to cream ratio and the freshest berries. I am determined to recreate this when I have some spare time and an oven because I'm convinced that it's the perfect dessert. Chaya is located ontop of the iSetan building by Shinjuku station and I would highly recommend making it one of your first stops in Tokyo.
If you can avert your eyes from the striking strawberry shortcake in the foreground of my photo to the more inconspicuous Lemon and Apricot Pound Cake lurking in the back then you're in for a treat because that's dessert number two on my list!
This simple pound cake is served with lemony soy ice cream and it's much, much, more than the sum of it's parts. The flavours of the cake really popped thanks to the addition of lemon rind and little chunks of apricot and the ice cream was perfectly tart and creamy. These are the kind of desserts that are worth hopping on a plane for.
Dessert number three is the Chocolate Parfait from T's Restaurant in Jiyugaoka. Every vegan who has set foot in the capital will have eaten at T's Tan Tan but not many venture south to T's restaurant which I think is a mistake.
Some may think that this next one isn't a dessert but given that the Matcha Soy Latte from Starbucks contains as much sugar as your average brownie I'm counting it.
This totally Japanese drink packs a delicious matcha punch with a serious helping of sweetness. If you head to the branch on the roof of Tokyo Plaza in Omotesando, you can engage in one of my favourite travel activities, people watching, whilst you sip.
Now I'm giving Trim the benefit of the doubt and assuming that their name refers to cutting something, fabric perhaps, into a neat and orderly condition, rather than anything related to trimming down our bodies, because there is no dieting or detoxing propaganda inside and because I like to try to believe that people aren't inherently awful. And honestly this Chocolate Gateaux is not a "diet" dessert.
Located in a cute side street close to Nishi-Ogikubo station this cafe is a peaceful retreat in an otherwise busy city. They serve a delightful array of soy milk based drinks (Nick recommends the iced chai soy milk) as well as cookies and cakes. The chocolate gateaux is less gateaux and more torte but it's delicious and I love that it's served with homemade tofu cream cheese. I'm pleased to report that I enjoyed every bite.
I'm also going to give a couple of special shout outs to sweet treats that should have made the top five list. Firstly, the Coconut Chocolate Muffin from Ain Soph Ripple. The jury's out over whether a muffin is a dessert item or a breakfast staple but whatever the answer this muffin deserves a prize. It has the perfect slightly dense crumb that I'm always searching for in a muffin alongside a deeply chocolatey flavour with the perfect touch of coconut. It's love peeps, I wonder if they can post me one? Secondly, I want to give a shout out to Tokyo's first 100% vegan ice cream spot! In what I can only describe as a cruel twist of fate Brown Sugar 1st opened on June 9th just 6 days after I hopped onto a plane and flew to Seoul. The jury's out on whether these ice creams taste as good as they look but with flavours like wild lemon, rum and California raisin, and Madagascar vanilla I think that you can probably prepare yourself to be wowed.
Have you been to Tokyo? Do you have a dessert fave' that didn't make the list? Which one of these desserts floats your boat?