Tag Archives: local food

Vegetarian cafe in Nagoya, JAPAN

You might be surprised but it is difficult to find a vegetarian restaurant in Japan.
We take lessons how important to eat a well-balanced diet at junior high and secondary school. So that we tend to eat well-balanced meal including meat and fish in spite of a relatively small amount.

However, a number of vegetarian is increasing at international level. For instance, in the Netherlands, vegetarian is fairly common. A study has shown that the number of vegetarians out of a population of nearly 16.5 million people increased from 560,000 in 2004 to 720,000 in 2006. 

One day…. coincidently, I found very interesting vegetarian cafe in my hometown.


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This lunch menu is for vegetarians and vegans.
The taste is delicious and the price is also friendly.


The owner explained that they purchase a stock of the vegetables from Agrin mura where is organised farmer’s market in the same prefecture. In addition, they try to select organic, local produced or less chemical pesticide vegetables because many Japanese people started considering “Food safety” after the big earthquake in 2011.

“We want to purchase vegetables directly from organic or local farm, however, our sales, in other words,our demand of vegetables is fluctuate every week. So it’s a bit difficult.”

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It is located in a hidden place but I highly recommend to visit the place!

Mixture of Cultures; Markthal

Markthal opens from 1st Oct in Rotterdam!

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It is the first indoor market in the Netherlands!
I think “indoor market” is great idea because the Netherlands is a changeable-weather country.
Combined with residency apartment, parking and enterprises.


Inside the unique architecture, there are approximately 60 grocery shops in the spacious place.
Many shops are selling local products such as cheese made in Rotterdam.
As well as that you can find some unique vegetables(I found Japanese “Shishito” but it was 14 euro!!!!).

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I would like to mention two crucial points in the market.


In the market you can find unfamiliar products easily.
This vegetable shop introduces some unique vegetable (from exotic to new variety) to customers via consultant and/or workshop. During our visit, kids came into the shop for their school trip to discover new vegetables!

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The herbs are really unique!!! One of them tastes like garlic, the other one is cucumber, another is oyster…
Can you imagine it??


The fungus shop was also attractive!!
Have you ever seen such PINK fungi?

2) Mixture of various cultures

In the market there are some different-flavour shops and cafes like Chinese, Moroccan, Indonesian, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, Suriname and etc..
It is crucial to be run by people who originally came from the country.
It means “Authentic cuisine”!

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I love exotic cuisine, for instance, Turkish, Moroccan, Indonesian and Suriname food!
Fortunately, I know such shops in Amsterdam, but I sometimes hesitate to step inside a shop because in the shop people from the country hang out with acquainted shopper and a clerk so I become acutely aware that I am a stranger for them.

However, in the market, the shops are situated in open space and the decoration/design are modern.
So everyone even us can stop in the interesting shops without any hesitation and has an opportunity to talk with clerks who know their own food better than us.

I think the behaviour is a big first step to accept different cultures naturally.
The Markthal is one of the important place for cultural interchange!

* Be careful, don’t buy the products in the market without checking the price! Some shops are super luxury.
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New Vegetarian Style

Someone might believe that many Japanese are vegetarian and we don’t eat meat so much because “Japanese food is healthy”.

However, it is inaccurate.
It is more comfortable for vegetarian to live in the Netherlands than Japan.
Because many restaurants serve vegetarian dish and many substitute ingredients are sold.

I am not a vegetarian but I like eating vegetarian food as substitute for meat products and daily products.

2 weeks ago, I went to “Viva Las Vega’s Food Festival” to get new inspirations and new flavours from vegetarian food.

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That was amazing!

There are ethnic groceries, super food sellers, lots of vegetarian cuisine and etc… in the food market.
For me the following two new flavours were impressed!

1) Fresh Coconut juice from Cocos Locos
I didn’t think I could drink delicious and fresh coconuts juice in the Netherlands!

2) Organic gummy candy from Candy Frakes
Generally, gummy candy is made from gelatin, which is pork bone and skin.
Surprisingly, it takes on average 20 kilo of pork bones and skin to make 1 kilo of gelatin.

However, the candy is made from gelatin substitutes such as pectin, Agar Agar, locust bean gum, carrageenan and etc.

And above all, it is delicious and fruity!

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Additionally, the atmosphere of the festival was unique!!
It was held in “Old School Amsterdam“, the former ROC and current creative hotspot in Amsterdam Zuid!

Not only restaurant but also workshop place, community garden, Polderdak(※1) and Rondeel system(※2).

※1: Polderdak is a green roof combined with dike system.

※2: Rondeel is new poultry farm project held by Wageningen University, Wageningen research center, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and verantwoorde veehouderij, which is sector related to government.

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Currently, in the Netherlands 35 million laying hens were kept and they lay 10 billion eggs per year (1/3 export). In 2002 2/3 were housed in traditional battery cage and 1/3 were free-range system. Now the rate is half of traditional cage because of hens healthy, animal welfare and environmental sustainability.

But someone raised a question “Coming back to traditional style is ideal?”, therefore, the project started.

A purpose of the project is not only animal welfare but also poultry farmers’ better standard living and social acceptance.

Although it is mini-Rondeel in Amsterdam Zuid, you are worth visiting and looking at new system!

Anyway… I think the most respectable aspect of Dutch people is to try to make “new tradition” with current idea and technology instead of just going back to the middle age!!


Local Goods and Foods

“Local production for Local consumption”
=地産地消 (chisan-chisyo in Japanese) is being a hot topic all over the world.

I went to Indie Brands LOCAL GOODS weekend market in Amsterdam.
On the market, products purely designed and made in Amsterdam are sold – food and non-food!

1) Coconut yogurt made by Abbot Kinney’s.
Inspired by souvenir from Los Angels, they started making it suitable for vegans and people with lactose intolerance.

2) Special local sausages made by Vanboef since 2014 (really brand new) are tasty.
They are made in the heart of Amsterdam!


3) As a lunch… Bulls and Dogs’s hot dog was super delicious!
It is one of the best hot dogs in Amsterdam! Of course, the sausage is made by Amsterdam butcher!

And…They are lots of attractive clothes, shoes, plant, box, coffee, pie, stationery, bicycle and etc etc..
Everything is produced locally! Despite they don’t mind if the ingredient/raw material are grown/produced in Amsterdam, everyone knows where the ingredient/material comes from.

and it was held in a former tram depot, it is really Amsterdam!
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On the other hand, in Japan chisan-chisyo is defined as “local grown for local consumption” by Ministry of Agriculture since 1981.
So it is kinds of local authority-led policy and movement not led-creators and city planners.
During the research, I have known that my hometown Aichi is the No.1 amount of production of cabbage, shiso, fig and quail egg.
I am proud of the fact, however, I prefer more creative projects using the local products not only serious one.

I think that things we, japanese should learn from Amsterdam is flexible thinking, light-footwork and creativity!