Monday, 5 September 2011
Quick Bites: Soup Stock Tokyo
This is my kind of fast food!
When I'm out and about and need a quick meal, I'll sometimes pop into a Soup Stock Tokyo.
Conveniently placed in a number of major train stations, this chain offers a rotating menu of daily soups, and one of these will usually be a vegetarian (and often vegan) option. This Saturday, their veggie offering at the Meguro location was a lovely gazpacho. With your choice of a little bun or rice, your meal comes to about 700¥, and for 900¥ you can tack on a drink. While not quite as dirt cheap as traditional fast food, it is a healthy and easy choice, and I like the ambience of their stores, which are easy on the eyes with a lot of stainless steel and wood.
One of the things that makes Soup Stock Tokyo stand apart from other quick bite places in Japan is the clarity of their labeling. Under the (Japanese only) description of their soup, you will find an allergy alert section where they will list if they've used such items as nuts, soba, meat products, milk and eggs. When I ask to double check there are no fish or meat ingredients, the staff always check the full list of ingredients (and often show it to me), instead of giving a typically vague Japanese answer along the lines of "it should probably be okay", or "I'm not really sure". As a vegetarian, I really appreciate that kind of openness, and I'm sure it's also good for the peace of mind of those with serious allergies.
*itadakimasu is what Japanese people say before eating. It means something like "I (humbly) receive". I really like the idea of vocalizing an appreciation for the food you are about to eat. It's sort of embarrassing for me that there isn't a secular English equivalent!