Sunday, April 29, 2012


Wagamama is a good chain restaurant option for vegans everywhere, where there is actually a choice from several suitable dishes.

The other great thing is that, with restaurants all over the world, you may have a chance of being able to get a vegan meal in places where they’re hard to find otherwise. I ate at the Wagamama in Malta and my meal was exactly the same as in England - not sure if they fly the same ingredients in to restaurants all over the world…

My favourite vegan option is the Yasai Chilli Men which must be modified to have either rice or udon noodles to make it vegan. I always opt for udon noodles which make a nice bed for the spicy, chilli sauce with crunchy stir-fried vegetables and huge chunks of deep fried tofu.

The tofu at Wagamama is special Japanese tofu - like tofu pockets - golden brown on the outside and light and airy on the inside. It’s delicious and soaks in the sauce nicely.

Second favourite option would be the Yasai Itame which is one of the soup options and vegan as is. It has all those best ever flavours in: lime, ginger, chilli, garlic, coconut. It comes with rice noodles which are good in this dish but they are very long and you have to dig to the bottom of the bowl to get at them - can be quite messy to eat!

There is also a relatively new addition to the menu which is a Yasai Pad Thai which is vegan without the egg and also very delicious. I have on occasion found it to be so spicy I could barely eat it without my mouth hurting although they may have modified the dish because the last few times I’ve ordered it, it’s been much milder.

Saien Soba is the other vegan soup option (change noodles to make vegan) but it doesn’t have half as much flavour as the Yasai Itame. I guess if you prefer a milder flavour to your food, this might be your cup of tea.

Other vegan options are the Yasai Yaki Soba which needs to be modified to change the noodles and remove the egg and possibly the pickled ginger (?) I do like this dish but Wagamama don’t allow replacement of items so once the egg has been removed, you can’t replace it with tofu which is a bit annoying. You just don’t get as much with this dish. Plus, it is teppan fried on an open hot plate and I’m not sure whether the meat teppan noodle dishes are cooked on the same plates or whether they reserve one for vegetarian dishes. Even then…. I suppose egg would be on the same plate. I guess it depends how strict you are.

Yasai Cha Han is the vegan rice dish (requested without egg) and you do get tofu, but I personally just don’t like this dish. I find it very bland and tasteless. Once, I even emptied the accompanying miso soup and pickles into the rice to try and pick it up a bit. It did nothing for it. Still boring. Update: the pickles now appear not to be vegan at all so you will need to order this dish without.

For starters I always opt for the steamed edamame beans. A bit pricey I find but they are so delicious and such a nice complement to any meal that it’s a bit of a healthy treat. I think they have a salad that can be made vegan as well and the Yasai gyoza (vegetable dumplings) are vegan if you opt to have them grilled rather than deep fried.

In (some of) the London branches, they also have sushi on the menu and the vegetarian sushi is vegan as well. I did try a sushi platter once and it was very good sushi, I think you can also order smaller portions as well if you wanted to give it a try. Just ask for the dietary book to check which are vegan.

Update: Just a quick note to really push for checking of the dietary book if you're a strict vegan, as Wagamama appear to be very strict about it too and even label which of their freshly squeezed fruit juices are vegan and which aren't. I can only assume this is due to shellac on the orange peel, which is an extremely detailed vegan observation to be made by a chain restaurant in my opinion!

I’ve always found the staff to be very knowledgeable and friendly about the presence of their dietary requirement book - I’d recommend checking in this if you’ve never been before - just to make sure you make the correct modifications to ensure your dish is made vegan.

I’ve also never had a problem with them getting anything wrong come to think of it. Wagamama operates a very efficient system and my modified dishes have always been spot on. Good effort Wagamama.


  1. Thanks for this information, my cousin has just suggested wagamamas for a night out and this is exactly what I need to give her an answer - yes! I have been vegetarian for 17 years now, but have become intolerant to cow's milk, so have just recently decided to look for vegan options as it's easier to explain haha. Thanks again,


    1. You are most welcome - I hope you have a lovely night out :) Don't forget to ask for the dietary book just to be sure!

  2. Well aparently there is one of these restaurants down in the city near me so I will check it out.

  3. Great post, but just so you're aware the pickles are not vegan, they contain milk x

  4. Thank you for your comment - I noticed this when I had a flick through their dietary book the other day actually. I'll modify the post now. I think this even includes the pickled ginger :( I'm sure they used to be vegan so perhaps this has been changed.

    As I eat there fairly regularly, I have stopped looking at the book every time but I noticed that they even note some of their fruit juices aren't vegan - presumably due to shellac on the oranges?! So probably worth checking the book every time.

  5. Does the yasai pad Thai contain tofu? I'm not a fan of tofu so looking for a vegan dish at wagamammas without it. I loved their chicken katsu curry before I was vegan!

  6. Yes it does contain tofu, although I'm sure they'd be willing to take it out if you asked :) The only vegetarian dish I know of that doesn't come with tofu as standard is the Yasai Yaki Soba.