Yakuzen Shokudo Chabuzen (the English name is a translation) is a tiny vegan diner specializing in ramen and soup curry in the nondescript suburbs of Setagaya—about a 10-minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station.

Photo by Gregory Lane

With a completely vegan menu, the restaurant gets high ratings from international tourists and middling ratings from Japanese diners. This is also reflected in the clientele. Despite being a long way from the tourist hotspots, there are more foreign customers than locals.

Using rice koji to add umami flavor, the ramen soup is rich and creamy. Diners are given a choice of regular noodles or mochi-mochi noodles—best described as noodles with a spongy and stretchy consistency.

For the soup and noodles, the base price is a slightly pricey ¥1,200. To get all the toppings, it’s an extra ¥300. Overall, ¥1,500 is on the high side for a ramen lunch, but this is possibly the best vegan ramen in Tokyo, so the price is justifiable.

Photo by Gregory Lane

As mentioned earlier, Food Therapy Diner Chabuzen also has other dishes such as soup curry. However, if you turn up on a day when the owner/chef is working alone, the menu is limited to ramen. The English speaking owner is friendly and keen to point customers to other vegan restaurants in Tokyo.

The tiny restaurant seats 7 people or 9 at a real squeeze so if it’s busy, you might have to wait outside for a table. If you’ve got a large frame, go for a counter seat. The tatami area is cute, but cramped.

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