25 Jun Sora no iro
Welcome back to the second part of my Tokyo Travel series!
As I mentioned in last week’s post, Japan is busy readying itself for the Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympics. It’s a very exciting and interesting time seeing the city change and develop in preparation. There are many new business opportunities in the food industry such as catering for different dietary requirements. Lawsons is a popular convenience store chain similar to 7/11 and Family Mart. On my most recent trip I’ve come across ‘Natural Lawsons’ which tend to be larger than the traditional Lawsons and with a deli-style to it. I was super excited to nose around as they have a variety of free-from food, organic and natural skin care and other goods centred around a healthier lifestyle. There is a mixture of imported and Japanese products so prices are variable. I bought gluten free wavy ramen noodles (they have as many types of noodles as there are hair types!) and a sachet with ingredients for gluten free tonkotsu ramen. Keep an eye out on my instagram as I’ll post a review once I’ve tried them!
While there are many innovative changes going on, some people have been ahead of the game for years! Sora no iro is a noodle joint in the Akasaka district of Tokyo, a short walk from the beautiful Imperial Palace and Gardens. The restaurant opened in 2011 with a focus on produce from quality farms, helping agriculture and communities. They’ve been keen to provide delicious vegetarian, and more recently vegan, food as well as more traditional meat or fish based dishes. Staff wear cute T-shirts with cheery slogans such as ‘Happy Veggie Life’ and ‘I Love Vegan!’.
The set up is like your typical ramen shop with the ticket vending machine. Their pictures and additional English wording is super helpful and makes it easy to use. There is a wide selection of soup noodles, ranging from the Umami Soup Stock Soba based on chickens from Kumamoto in southern Japan to seaweed and clamshell broth with lovely fat noodles.
Once you’re seated, they bring you a paper bib in anticipation of much slurping! In Japan, slurping and making lots of noise when eating soup noodles is a good sign. The more noise you make, the more delicious you are finding it! Condiments are provided on the side including black pepper, Japanese seven spice and Himalayan pink salt. ‘Sora no iro’ translates as ‘colours of the sky’, but when my Vegan Soba bowl arrived it was more like colours of the rainbow! 🌈 The broth is bright orange from carrots and butternut squash, juxtaposed against verdant green salad leaves and cabbage, red peppers and a paste of paprika, celery and chilli. Providing balance both visually and in terms of flavour are Japanese sweet potato, white and brown long stemmed mushrooms and of course the noodles themselves. These are thick and flat ramen noodles, with a good bounce to them. All these vegetables add a variety of textures which keeps every mouthful interesting. The stock is packed full of flavour and hot with black pepper. Mr Munch got the Veggie Soup which seemed to be exactly the same as mine but without mushrooms. I’m not entirely sure what else is different as they tasted very similar too! Perhaps it varies depending on ingredients available that season.
Service here is very quick as you would expect of a ramen or soba restaurant. Staff are very friendly, you’ve got to love Japanese service! The motto here is ‘Japanese soup noodle free style’. Don’t go expecting your typical fatty rich ramen if you pick the veggie/vegan dishes, they are a different beast all together. Sora no iro is a fantastic place to go in a group with a mixture of dietary preferences as everyone gets an equally delicious meal. Sometimes eating out in Japan as a tourist can be lacking in vegetables as it’s so tempting to pick fried foods, sushi or grilled meats. If you’ve overdosed on those sorts of dishes, this could be a saving grace for you!
Join me next Monday for the final Tokyo Travel post – it’s time for a drink! 🍶 If you enjoyed this post please let me know in the comments, give it a like and share with your friends! 🙂
Total Receipt (2 people): ¥2185 (£15)
1x vegan ramen ¥1200
1x vegetarian ramen ¥985
Rating: 8/10 Happy slurping!