Yamazaki Bakery, one of the biggest bread and baked goods manufacturers in Japan, started selling entirely plant-based, vegan-certified bread in four savory and sweet flavors starting July 1, 2020. Although it is sold in just a few areas of Japan, this is a major step forward for plant-based baked products here.
Nearly all bread in Japan contains dairy products, making this the first and only option to enjoy this type of soft, fluffy white bread so typical here, let alone bread with fillings, which are also very common! Each bread retails for less than 200 yen, making it markedly cheaper than other vegan options out there, usually centered around very healthy options.
The savory flavors are soy meat & tomato sauce, soy meat & teriyaki sauce (shown above). My favorite is the soy meat and tomato sauce––the soy meat patty has a great texture and the tomato sauce, along with mayonnaise (soy-based, I think). The fluffy bread is dusted with flour. The second option, with teriyaki sauce, tastes similar, but the teriyaki sauce is markedly sweeter. For anyone looking for a junky bread experience–this is it! I highly recommend trying one if you come across them. I found these flavors at my local Inageya supermarket in Shinjuku.
For the sweet options, Yamazaki offers rolls in strawberry jam and margarine (top), and chocolate cream (bottom). I found these at the Don Quijote near Tokyo Dome. They were not sold with the savory hamburgers above.
This bread is also dusted with flour on the top and contain some tasty fillings. To my surprise, I preferred the strawberry and margarine (right), which has a great balance of salty and sweet flavors. The chocolate cream is a nice choice, but I found the cream to be just okay in terms of its flavor.
I’m very happy with the bread overall and to have a satisfying, inexpensive option. The veggie burgers make a nice supplement to a lunch or meal, and the sweet rolls are a great treat for dessert.
The vegan Yamazaki breads are sold at certain supermarkets in Tokyo, Nagano, and the Kanto area. When searching for the bread, be sure to look for the green vegan mark (if it doesn’t have this, it is not certified, and likely contains dairy and animal-derived products).
For more information on where to find the bread, see this website (information in Japanese): https://vegetime.net/yamapan-shops/