It can be difficult to be vegetarian or vegan in Japan. Meat products are the norm, and you need to be a kanji master to read ingredient lists. At grape, we've tried to highlight vegan options for those in need. We've written about a vegan convenience store in Tokyo, vegan rice gelato, vegan ramen, and a host of vegan options and survival tips.

Indeed, visitors and residents with restrictive diets need research and constant diligence. Fortunately, fast food chain Mos Burger is making life a little easier with its plant-based, purely vegan Green Burger.

Mos Burger is a fast-food burger chain common throughout Japan. It is a household name and likely the closest thing to a Japanese McDonald’s. They are typically recognized for their all-meat patty's, but in recent years have tended to towards healthier, greener food.

For a while, the fast-food chain has provided customers the option of including soy patties in place of meat patties in a number of their signature sandwiches. For example, take a teriyaki chicken burger, throw out the chicken, and replace it with a delicious soy patty covered in sauce. There is also a mixed vegetable sandwich with rice buns or even salads available.

Customers with gluten allergies also needn't worry. Several of the sandwiches can have the buns replaced with a lettuce wrap. Overall, the store is a sanctuary for individuals seeking specific options.

The Green Burger

Despite several animal-friendly options, the fast-food chain had yet to embrace the vegan lifestyle. That was, until recently. Mos Burger released their first, purely vegan Green Burger late last month.

The vegan sandwich is a departure from the past. The all-plant patty was developed in line with the United Nation's Sustainable development goals. It even leaves out the "five pungent vegetables" avoided by Buddhists to create an entirely guilt-free dining experience.

This planet-friendly sandwich is also quite the sight. Its buns are made light green from a spinach puree. The patty is entirely animal-product free. It primarily contains soy, but also includes cabbage and devil's tongue (konnyaku). It is covered in vegan-friendly meat sauce and comes complete with lettuce and a tomato slice. While some vegan options can cost an arm and a leg, the Green Burger is moderately priced at 538 JPY (around 5 USD at today's rate), excluding tax.

Currently, the item is only available in nine stores throughout the Tokyo and Kanagawa areas.

Fan Reactions

Of course, the addition of a vegan entree to one of the country's largest restaurant chains has been welcomed by netizens. Fan reactions include:

"Yes! I've been waiting for this. Thank you for making a burger vegans can eat. We need to shift to a plant-based diet in order to protect the earth. Please sell these burgers in stores throughout the country."

“I can’t wait to eat this burger that’s made without tormenting animals. Please hurry and sell this item in every store. Also, it’d be nice if you’d stop selling meat-based products.”

“Wow! This is awesome! I want to eat this right away.”

“Please come to Hokkaido! I’m depending on you!”

By - Luke Mahoney.