New Vegan Cuisine tempts the Chic Café Society of Tokyo


Imagine feasting on a tempting slice of cheesecake that has no sugar, eggs, milk or cheese, as result it has a third of the calories that the normal one would have. Thus eliminating your need to hit the gym, after a session of binging. A meal at the Cafe 8 in Tokyo’s Nakameguro district can be rounded off with delectable desserts like mango pudding, baked apple pie and gâteau au chocolat, and the same formula applies to them all. The latest dieting fad to hit the Tokyo cafés is vegan (and macrobiotic), where all traces of animal protein have been deleted from the cooking/serving process. And not just for desserts. Fish is out. Butter, milk and yogurt are out. A young Japanese man, Yoshikazu Sakurazawa, who studied in the United States and Europe during the 1950s, developed macrobiotic cooking. He outlined a new method of eating that limited protein intake to beans and soymilk and encouraged generous portions of local produce and unrefined grains, especially brown rice.

The macrobiotic theory itself isn’t new, the ancient Greeks had something similar, but changing it into contemporary café culture is – at least in Japan. Vegan cafés, however, are not cheap. Preparation and cooking require a special knowledge, not to mention hard-core dedication, and the establishments pride themselves on serving organic ingredients only. Still, most lunch plates come up to under ¥2,000, or about $18, and on the average, sweets are about ¥700 a piece.

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