Foodepedia with help from Japan Centre has put together a few vegan and alcohol free treats for you to keep on track of the New Years resolution plans.
According to research 43% of people tend to give up on their NY goals by the end of the second week of January. No surprise there, as many diets can be rather dull, but it’s the small changes that matter.
Japan Centre – the largest Japanese food hall in Europe – wants to encourage us all to make small sustainable changes that will help us maintain a healthier lifestyle.
The life expectancy of people in Japan is one of the highest in the world, and with Japanese cuisine being known for its fresh and unprocessed ingredients, this isn’t surprising.
Whether you are sticking to Veganuary and would like to try some authentic tofu, or taking on the challenge of Dry January and need a new no-alcohol alternative, Japan Centre has a lot of tempting items:
Gekkeikan Alcohol Free 0.00% Daiginjo Sake (RRP: £5.39)
I love an umami flavour of sake and this is a great alternative when you are bored of the sugary Pepsi or Sprite. Sake is traditionally an alcoholic drink, made by fermenting polished rice at different levels.
Daiginjo Sake made an Alcohol Free 0.00% and it tastes just like a normal sake with a slightly sweeter tone to it. It even has the fruity banana and bubble gum note to it like the Dassai Junmai Daiginjo sake.
Asahi Dry Zero Alcohol-Free Beer (RRP: £3.59)
Japan Centre also has the Japanese classic super dry Asahi beer but alcohol free. It retains the crisp, light and dry flavour of Asahi. Even the most eager Asahi fan can be tricked with this one, the difference is completely absent.
Kitou 100% Yuzu Fruit Juice (RRP: £9.59)
This is my favourite citrus. Yuzu fruit is native to Japan and has a very unique flavour. You probably know yuzu from Japanese or Nikkei restaurants. Yuzu juice by Kitout is 100% pure, tangy citrus juice squeezed from Tokushima’s Kitou yuzu fruit.
With no added sugar, the juice is perfect for pouring and squeezing into all your favourite recipes, whether it be a marinade, dressing, sorbet or ponzu. I love it in tuna ahi poke, green tea or martinis.
Chilled Japan Centre Vegan Kodawari Tofu (RRP: £4.38)
It wouldn’t be Japan without tofu. Japan Centre’s shelf of tofu is packed with loads of brands and varieties to choose from.
I remember my first time when I tried tofu in 2014. It was fried in Whole Foods Market. I was not impressed by the flavour at all and couldn’t eat it.
Now I am a regular consumer. I prefer the firm organic varieties. I learnt that just like with green tea, the flavour largely depends on the brand, firmness and country of production. Tofu is perfect to use if you’re looking to cut down on meat for Veganuary, thanks to being high in protein.
Kodawari is a firm tofu. It’s also organic. It’s great for absorbing soups and sauces. Packed with the nutrients from organically grown soybeans, Kodawari tofu was developed to maximise its health benefits, taste and versatility.
Premium Stone Ground Matcha Green Tea Powder (RRP £7.99)
For those looking for quick and easy additions to their meals, why not try the Premium Stone Ground Matcha Green Tea Powder, which is loaded with anti- oxidants? Not only is matcha great for baking with, it can also be drunk in tea, coffee or made into matcha latte with vegan milk. My personal favourite is with oat m*lk, it adds a lovely sweet note to the green tea flavour.
White Sweet Miso
There’s also the classic white miso paste. Japan Centre now has its own at a competitive price compared to other brands at RRP: £2.49. It’s great on its own as a miso soup, or mixed with brown miso paste for a more dense miso soup flavour.
I also use the white miso for the Japanese vegan classic Nasu Dengaku – miso-glazed aubergine. The flavour is quite complex but despite that it’s actually a very easy dish to make.
White miso is also great on veggies steamed broccoli and with honey, roasted sesame oil and white miso or mixed into marinades on salmon, tofu or chicken.
Not only is miso high in protein, but it has also been known to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system and improve digestion.
Kodansha The Just Bento Cookbook 2: Make-Ahead, Easy, Healthy Lunches to go (RRP: £16)
For more healthy umami cooking inspirations there is a great cook book. Meal prepping is a sure way to make you stay on track and eat well during the week.
The Just Bento Cookbook 2 adds delicious new layers to your well-balanced bento making, with all new recipes. The Just Bento Cookbook 2 delves into making over 100 quick, healthy, packed meals on-the-go, including low-carb, vegetarian and vegan options to cover any dietary requirements.
About Japan Centre
Founded in 1976 in London, Japan Centre is one of the largest and most influential Japanese stores in Europe. With a passion for supplying the best authentic goods, the Japan Centre has a range of over 3,000 products spanning food, drink, and lifestyle. In-store experts make Japanese sushi and hot souzai, and the fishmonger and butcher counters serve fresh produce cut the traditional Japanese way.
The in-store bakery serves a large selection of hand made and hard to find Japanese pastries and breads, which are baked daily.
Japan Centre now has three food halls in Leicester Square, Westfield White City and Stratford, where it sells a plethora of authentic Japanese food ingredients and food to go stands, alongside a huge selection of sake, and is expanding into the beauty and lifestyle area with cookbooks, crockery and Japanese skincare products.
The Leicester Square branch opened London’s first mochi bar in 2021, where it sells all things mochi including doughnuts, cookies, pan bread, ice cream, daifuku and dango.
The food halls have also been expanding in recent years. At Westfield White City, the brand launched a Sake & Oyster Bar in April 2022 to highlight how the umami flavours complement each other.
Japan Centre also has an online store with over 3,000 Japanese and Asian products sourced straight from Japan and across Asia.