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MOS Burger has become the first homegrown fast food chain in Japan to debut a 100% plant-based burger. Dubbed the Green Burger, Mos Burger developed the vegan dish in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce the carbon footprint of its menu offerings. While veganism has yet to become mainstream in Japan, the news certainly signals that plant-based is making significant inroads into contemporary Japanese food culture.
MOS Burger, the Japanese nationwide fast food franchise that popularised the rice burger “bun”, has just launched a brand new all-vegan offering on its menu. Called the MOS Plant-based Green Burger, the new burger imitates the classic MOS Burger, but does not contain any dairy, eggs or meat. It was developed in line with the SDGs as a more planet-friendly alternative option for consumers who want to reduce their carbon footprint.
Instead of a carbon-intensive beef patty, the meat-free version is made from a mix of soy-based protein, konnyaku or yam, and cabbage. It is served with freshly sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and a tomato sauce, sandwiched between a light-green coloured bun, which gets its natural tinge from spinach puree.
In addition to coming at a fraction of the environmental cost, the plant-based burger is also suitable for Buddhists, as it contains no alliums such as garlic and onions. It will be retailed at ¥548 (US$5.09) across 9 locations in Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures.
While MOS Burger’s previous menu already offered a meat-free soy-based burger, it was only vegetarian friendly as it still contained traces of egg and dairy ingredients.
With MOS Burger on board to offer Japanese diners a fully vegan option, it looks like the fast food world in the country is finally taking a plant-based turn. Recently, the curry restaurant chain Coco Ichibanya debuted a limited version of vegan soup curry earlier this year, while the convenience store FamilyMart released a vegan donburi.
Perhaps an even bigger sign that veganism is here to stay in contemporary Japanese food culture is the opening of an all-vegan konbini last December. Called the Vegan Store, the completely vegan convenience shop is filled to the brim with on-the-go plant-based snacks, onigiri rice balls, bento boxes and even 100% vegan soft-serve ice cream.
In an earlier interview with Green Queen, the “Rice Girl” Momoko Namakura, the author of Plant-based Tokyo shared that she believes this marks a return to Japan’s traditional plant-centric cuisine. According to Namakura, Japan is home to a long culinary history of vegan and vegetarian diets, based on the micro-seasonal calendar, local aromas and fermented plant ingredients.
Lead image courtesy of MOS Burger / Wikimedia / designed by Green Queen Media.