I purposely ate a light breakfast that morning, and A-chan and I hopped off the train early, so we got a good 30 minute walk on the way to the park. I wanted to make sure I'd have a good appetite for sampling the festival's offerings.
We hit up the ingredients/ cook at home section first, did a lot of browsing, and picked up a jar of my favourite organic peanut butter and a Viana "Picknicker" veggie pepperoni stick. I was also tempted to buy some agave syrup, as I see it pop up so often in tasty looking vegan recipes.
After heading over to the read-to-eat area, I couldn't resist trying a nikuman from the Loving Hut stand. I've noticed this item on the menu in the restaurant, but I think they don't actually offer it anymore. No surprise, it was delicious, with a soft, doughy exterior and chewy little chunks of salty-sweet mock meat inside. I'm always curious to hear how mock meat dishes compare to the original, and my omni co-tester said our nikuman was a convincing fake.
We did some browsing to see what other goodies were on offer. This stand had an interesting concept. Apparently aiming to cash in on 萌え (moe) appeal, these girls dressed as cheerleader/ furry animals would shake your karaage with spices while saying "furi-furi" (shake-shake) and flashing sugary smiles. It's not really my thing but I can see it working in Akihabara!
A-chan tried some harumaki (spring roles) from Chein-Fu's stand. This amazing Taiwanese vegetarian food company used to have a restaurant in Osu, Nagoya and one in Tachikawa, Tokyo. As far as I know both closed down. Did they open up new locations?!? I really wanted to ask the people working at the booth, but they were pretty busy serving customers. I'll have to research this, as the Chien-Fu restaurants served up some of my favourite veggie meals I've enjoyed in Japan.
My next order was a bowl of colourful taco rice from Blue Cafe, which featured a pickled beet and onion topping. I'd never heard of this restaurant before, but according to the flyer they gave me, this place is an Okinawan and Mexican food joint in Fujisawa, Kanagawa. As far as I know, the restaurant isn't actually vegetarian (though I imagine they offer some veg-friendly dishes), but it looks pretty cool and laid back.
Alas, by the time I saw this Indian place grilling up (what looked like) veggie versions of tandoori kebabs, I was already pretty full.
I also wanted to try these tasty looking veggie burgers from Ain Soph. Lucky for me, I bumped into a friend who was about to bite into one, and was kind enough to offer me a taste. Don't you love friends who share food? It was a pleasant bite, and I've put Ain Soph on my list of restaurants to try.
All in all, I was satisfied by my experience at the Vege Food Festa. It was great to see lots of public interest in vegan food, many happy faces of people chowing down on their meals, and also to pique my own interest in some new restaurants. For those of you who made it to the festival, I'd love to hear what you thought of it!