Veg Out is a vegan cafe on Nanajo by the Kamogawa river in Kyoto. I’ve known about this cafe since the very beginning when it opened its door in October 2015 by the yoga studio I work for, TAMISA. The first time I went to the cafe, I felt like I was in another country! Almost all the customers there were foreigners. Indeed, it’s one of the few eateries in Kyoto that serve only vegan food.
The cafe is bright and cozy. Sitting in any table you’ll have a wonderful view of Kamogawa river, the signature landmark in Kyoto. The servers won’t rush you, you have all the time by yourself, slowing down the pace and looking out the tranquil river over a vegan meal.
Maki and I spent a weekday afternoon there, ordered a Kombucha and a green smoothie. having a chat with the manager, Mr. Hashimoto.
Q: Question by Sandra & Maki
H: Mr. Hashimoto
Q: What’s the concept of your cafe?
H: Well, this is a vegan cafe, but it’s not about eating vegetables and not eating meat. We want to give consumers a choice, regardless of their daily diet habits. Of course, vegans are welcome, but even for those include meat in their daily diet, can still come and enjoy a meal of vegan food on their off days. we want a wide range of people to be able to have a delighted experience here.
Q: Where is the source of your main ingredients?
H: We get our vegetables and fruits directly from the local farmers we know in Kansai area, such as Kyoto and Nara prefecture. We mainly choose pesticide-free organic products. We directly connect with the farmers so there’s transparency on how these vegetables are grown, so we feel confident to introduce their products to our customers as well.
Q: Why did you decide to open this cafe?
H: The owner of Kyoto Yoga Studio TAMISA approached me about opening a vegan cafe. The idea is to provide a healthy and simple diet choice that connects people with the nature. Different from vegetarian, began diet does not include eggs and milk. It would be great if we can provide this seemingly strict vegan food in a more relaxed and casual style.
Q: Is there a dish that you recommend the customers to try?
H: Quiche. It’s quite filling that even non-vegan customers find it very pleasing. Without eggs and milk, it tastes creamy by using soy products. The umami flavour comes from heating up the vegetables slowly. Some people leave the cafe satisfied even without realising that there is no meat or dairy products in the food we serve.
Q: What message do you want to convey to the customers through your food and your space?
H: We hope to make vegan food an available choice for the consumers. Organic vegetables can be quite expensive on the market. But we see it as an investment in our health. Consumers have a choice, even just once a week choosing a natural vegan meal can be very nourishing for the body.
Mr. Hashimoto is a very approachable and down-to-earth person. Wearing a cap and a simple earth-printed T-shirt, he sat down and chatted with us for a long time during the cafe’s quiet time. Unfortunately this time we were too full to have a meal. But I’ve tried the food here a couple of times before, everything was very fresh and tasty. For anyone who is in search of healthier options and a relaxing time, definitely don’t miss it.
Eat Dream Kyoto is brought to you by two close friends, Maki & Sandra. Aiming to introduce healthy eateries in Kyoto and to reveal the dreams of those behind the scene. Through this project, they wish to help the readers to appreciate the food being served, to feel more connected to the space, and to inspire others to live the life of their dreams.
Sandra Fang （サンドラ・ファン / 左）
I’m Chinese Canadian, moved to Japan in 2009, now working as a yoga teacher in Kyoto and Osaka. I yearn to see the world and to seek a purposeful life. Traveling is one of my passions and so far have been to about 30 countries around the world, but I believe that the inner journey is just as important. Yoga, meditation, and reading help me to deepen that path.