Vegetarian's Japan Guide

T’s Tantan: The Incredible Vegan Ramen Chain in Japan

One of the Japanese dishes that many international tourists want to try in Japan is ramen noodles. Although ramen restaurants can be commonly found in the country, vegan ramen is hard to come by. But the situation has changed since T’s Tantan (T’Sたんたん) from Tokyo‘s Jiyūgaoka (自由が丘) started expanding their presence.

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T’s Tantan’s History

T's Tantan Japan's Best Vegan Restaurant Chain

The owner of T’s Tantan is Shimokawa-san (下川さん). The fat was what she liked the most when it came to the sirloin steak. However, her preference changed after one of her friends became ill. That was when she started thinking about how to make healthy food for her family.

She wants people to experience delicious food even if they are vegan or vegetarian. So, as a full-time housewife, she spent a lot of time creating mouthwatering plant-based dishes. This led to the opening of T’s Restaurant (T’sレストラン) in Jiyūgaoka, where T’s Tantan’s tantan noodle soup was developed.

Interestingly, although JR’s train station isn’t in Jiyūgaoka, T’s Restaurant, many customers work for the JR East Group. Because they knew how amazing T’s Restaurant is, JR East Group approached Shimokawa-san about opening a store in Tokyo Station’s Keiyō Street (京葉ストリートエリア). This was just six months after Shimokawa-san opened T’s Restaurant. T’s Tantan was then opened six months later, in September 2011, after menu development was completed.

Then, as you all know, the restaurant went viral on social media and was one of the restaurants that was given the Traveler’s Choice Award in 2020. This means T’s Tantan was in the top 10% of restaurants worldwide. So, if you haven’t tried T’s Tantan, ensure it is on your itinerary next time when you visit Japan!

The T in T’s Tantan isn’t just taken from the Tantan noodles. It is also the T for sun, soil, eat, taste, dedication, connection, and much more. These words all started with T in Japanese.

T’s Tantan and Its Menu

As its name suggests, T’s Tantan’s signature dish is tantan noodles. Amazingly, the restaurant managed to come up with a recipe that tastes phenomenal without using any animal products. The noodle soup is rich and smooth, just like a normal meat-based tantan noodle. In fact, there are more ingredients inside the bowl than in regular ramen restaurant

Because the tantan noodle soup is plant-based, every meal at T’s Tantan will delight your mind and body. There is no need to feel guilty when you eat at T’s Tantan because their dishes are designed under the motto: Being healthy is the most important thing in life. The restaurant hopes to convey this message through the food it serves.

You can also add vegan cheese or vegan chashu (roasted pork fillet) to your noodles. The vegan cheese is made by the renown Gunma Prefecture‘s Tofu maker Sagami-ya (相模屋). Their vegan cheese is made using low-fat soy milk. You will be surprised to find that the vegan cheese tastes like real cheese!

The same applies to T’s Tantan’s vegan chashu. To the Japanese, chashu is a must when it comes to ramen. So, the restaurant used 10 years and created the soy chashu that will make you feel like you are eating real roasted pork fillet!

Tips:
☛ Stir well to increase your noodle soup’s flavor.
☛ Order a small bowl of rice and pour the leftover soup into the bowl to create a risotto!
☛ Try their pan-fried dumplings.
☛ There are Allium-free options for oriental vegetarians.

The Golden Sesame Tantanmen (金胡麻担々麺) and the Black Sesame Tantanmen (黒胡麻担々麺)

The signatory dish is the Golden Sesame Tantan Noodle. Although the soup is spicy, you won’t have an issue swallowing it even if you can’t take spicy food. If you are the one who thinks the spicier, the merrier, adjust the spice level by adding the red pepper and spice sauce.

The richness of the soup comes from peanuts. Besides the soy mince, the fresh and crunchy greens make the bowl more colorful.

Contrasting the Golden Sesame Tantanmen’s orange color, the Black Sesame Tantanen is black. This doesn’t mean the soup is burnt. The color comes from numerous black sesame and the right amount of black pepper. But it does have a smokier taste on top of the sweetness.

T’s Tantan’s Seasonal Flavors

Besides a couple of regular noodle dishes, seasonal noodles are also available.

For example, the Lemon Cold Ramen is a must-try in Japan’s hot, humid summer.

T’s Tantan’s Konjac Noodles

If you are on a diet or need gluten-free options, pay a little bit extra and substitute your noodles with konjac noodles. These jelly-like noodles are made from yams.

Make Your Noodle Soup a Meal

If you are hungry, we highly recommend making your noodle soup a meal. It is the most economical choice. With a few hundred yen more, you will also get a small bowl of rice and a dessert.

We weren’t particularly hungry on the day. But found the portion of the set was about right. The soy milk yogurt with brown sugar syrup and soybean powder was a nice finish.

White Sesame Tantan Noodle at T's Tantan Japan's Best Vegan Restaurant Chain

T’s Tantan’s Cup Noodles

You can also purchase vegan cup noodles from T’s Tantan. This is a smart choice if you plan to visit regional parts of Japan where vegan meals are hard to find.

The cup noodles are purchased through the ordering machine if the restaurant has one.

What to Expect at T’s Tantan

T’s Tantan’s restaurants all have a bright and welcoming atmosphere. The signs of No Meat, No Fish, No Egg, and No Milk are clearly written on the wall, giving you peace of mind that whatever you order here is vegan.

There might be a queue during peak lunch and dinner hours, but the turnaround time is usually quick. Thus, don’t give up and turn your back on it as soon as you see the line!

Efforts are also put into process improvement to reduce cooking time at T’s Tantan. So, even the restaurant is full of hungry customers, you wouldn’t need to wait for long to be served.

How to Order at T’s Tantan

How you order at T’s Tantan depends on which T’s Tantan you visit. Some have staff who take your order at the table, while others require you to put it through using a machine with a touchscreen panel or at the register.

If you visit a T’s Tantan where an ordering machine is used, remember to take the ticket that the machine prints out at the end of the ordering process (the 3rd photo in the IG post). Then, pay attention to the TV screen (the 4th photo in the IG post). Your number should show in the Being Prepared section (調理中).

When your order is ready, your number will be shown on the screen in the Ready to Be Picked-up section (出来上り). Please give the ticket to the staff when picking up your meal at the counter.

And don’t worry about the language barrier. There is an English menu, and the machine is multilingual.

How to Get to a T’s Tantan Restaurant

T’s Tantan has five restaurants. Except for their restaurants in Narita Airport, T’s Tantan’s restaurants are inside a JR train station. This means if you didn’t take the JR train to the particular station, you need to pay a small entrance fee to enjoy T’s Tantan. The restaurant isn’t hard to find except for the T’s Tantan in Tokyo Station.

If you want to visit T’s Tantan inside Tokyo Station, head to the station’s first floor and follow the signs for the Keiyō Train Line (京葉線). Then, look for the directory signs of the Keiyō Street Area (京葉ストリートエリア). It is a shopping street in Tokyo Station. T’s Tantan is at the end of the Keiyo Street Area, near the escalators on the right-hand side.

MOS Burger: Where You Can Find a Vegan Burger Across Japan

Mos-Plant-Based-Green-Burger

As you might have realized already, T’s Tantan doesn’t have many branches, even in Tokyo. So, where can you find a vegan meal in other parts of Japan? MOS Burger is a good option. The popular burger chain has at least a couple of branches in each prefecture. In addition to its plant-based green burger, it also has a few more vegetarian options.

Refer to our article on MOS Burger for more details!

Discover the Vegan/Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Japan

While at a slow pace, veganism is becoming increasingly common in Japan, especially in the big cities. And keeping the good fame of heaven for foodies, the food offered in these restaurants is amazing.

So, refer to our Vegetarian Dining category for more ideas about where to enjoy food in Japan without harming any animals!

Veggie-Meat-Shogayaki-at-Karakoma-Morioka-Vegan-Restaurant-Iwate-Japan

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