Once a year the ramen chain Kagetsu produces a limited edition veggie ramen dish that is served for only a month or two. This year’s 2011 vegetarian ramen started in April, and it is delicious! As well as the ramen they have also produced a vegetarian gyoza side dish.
To try it visit your local Kagetsu quick before it is over. They are heavily promoting this dish right now with flags, posters and staff t-shirts. My local Kagetsu looks like this, and your local one probably looks similar.
To find your local one you can look at the Kagetsu ‘Shop List ’, which is all in Japanese, but if you can’t figure it out Google Translate may be of some help.
When you go in you’ll need to pay for your food and drink using one of these machines. You don’t pay the staff direct for your food.
Put your money in first. The machines takes coins from ¥10 and above, as well as ¥1000 notes. It doesn’t take larger notes so make sure you have enough change. On this machine the buttons for the veggie ramen and gyoza are on the second and third rows at the very left. The veggie ramen are ¥750, and the veggie gyoza are ¥300. The drink buttons are on the bottom right. It is fairly obvious from the photos on the machine. For each button you press you get a paper ticket, and when you have paid for all your food you hand the tickets to a member of staff and sit down.
They have table seating areas for groups as well as benches for people who are eating by themselves. There are various condiments on the table (soya sauce, chilli sauce, dashi, etc). If you are vegetarian make sure you don’t put the fish sauce on your food.
The lady in all the promotional leaflets, posters, flags and t-shirts is 未唯mie, a Japanese actress and singer. The advertising for this veggie ramen is aimed at health conscious women, rather than vegetarians. These veggie ramen dishes are much lower in fat, and higher in vegetables than traditional ramen, so the advertising pitches them as a healthier option.
After a short wait the veggie ramen and gyoza arrive. First here is a close up of the ramen. It contains about 30 different kinds vegetable! It also contains some kind of algae that is meant to be good for you. It isn’t obvious from the photo, but under all those veg are thin green noodles (the ramen). You can eat the noodles and veg with your chopsticks, and there is a spoon for the soup.
And here are the vegetarian gyoza. Like the ramen these are delicious. One tip – I recommend separating the gyoza when you get them otherwise they tend to stick together when they cool down.
Both dishes are really tasty, and it is just a shame that they don’t keep a veggie ramen dish permanently on the menu. Most people who were coming into this branch of Kagetsu seemed to be ordering this veggie dish rather than one of the usual meat ramen dishes.
Make sure you get to eat your veggie ramen before it is gone!