When my friends came to visit me in Tokyo last July, we set out on an epic quest, a quest for an treasure so rare and delightful that at first we doubted it’s very existence: the vegan Tokyo donut. Sadly, as our primary destination was the fabled La Terre, our adventure was wrought with sorrow…
1. La Terre’s Donuts – NOT quite Vegan!
We’d heard that La Terre, located right across from T’s Tantan in Tokyo Station, had a pretty big assortment of vegan donuts. So, we hightailed it from Shinjuku Station, desperate for a bit of these amazing donuts.
Not everything was milk free, but surprisingly, 6 of their donuts listed only soy and wheat as allergens! We were ecstatic, and picked out our favorites. However, at the last second I started to wonder… what about honey?
Unfortunately, after asking the incredibly friendly and helpful staff about the ingredients, they confirmed that ALL of the donuts – including the rumored vegan donuts – contained honey. 😦 So, unfortunately, unless you’re a honey-eating-vegan, these donuts aren’t for you. It’s such a shame, they were SO close, and they looked so delicious!
My friends had to head back home, so unfortunately, they were unable to complete the mission. However, I was not to be deterred…
2. Doughnut Plant NYC “Bakery Donut” (¥260 Each) – sometimes VEGAN!
There’s been a lot of confusion surrounding Doughnut Plant NYC’s vegan-ness, so I’d like to set the record straight. Doughnut Plant NYC has branches in the US as well as in Japan, and they use different recipes. Doughnut Plant NYC (US) has no vegan options. Doughnut Plant NYC (Japan) used to have many vegan options, which were sold at Eat More Greens in Azabu-Juban and at Doughnut Plant NYC’s various Tokyo locations. However, in the last few years they’ve cut back on these options. The donuts served at Eat More Greens are no longer vegan. However, if you go to one of Doughnut Plant NYC’s shops, you may be able to find a vegan donut. They seem to only carry 1 or 2 soymilk-based donuts at a time, but when I visited in July they were available!
They revolve their flavors seasonally, so check their menu before you go to see what you can eat. Underneath each menu item, they list the allergens. For example, the Banana Pecan donut that listed currently has an allergy disclaimer that says: “※特定原材料：小麦 、大豆、バナナ”. No milk! Keep an eye out for 乳 (milk) and 卵 (egg) in the allergen section. If neither is listed, it’s probably vegan!
When I visited their Shinjuku Location (just inside the Kabukicho Exit of Shinjuku Station, up a short flight of stairs), they had a vegan Pistachio Donut. I asked when I ordered if it contained honey, and the lovely sales person checked the ingredients for me – no honey! I was ecstatic after my failure at La Terre, and happily devoured it.
I’ve had vegan cake donuts at Whole Foods and Pepple’s Donuts in San Francisco, but this was my first time in years I’d gotten to try bakery-style fluffy donuts (the only other place I’ve seen them is Voodoo Donuts in Portland). Sadly, it wasn’t jaw-droppingly incredible – I would have preferred more glaze – but it was still pretty good and satisfied my donut craving.
3. Mana Burger’s “Mana Malasada” ( ¥330 each) – VEGAN!
Mana Burger is a Hawaiian fast food restaurant located in Tama-Plaza, Kanagawa. It’s not technically in Tokyo, but it’s close enough to make the list (just 24 minutes from Shibuya Station). When I visited here I wasn’t expecting to find donuts, but when I saw them on the menu I knew I had to have one! I’d never had a Malasada before, so I was really excited to try it. And I can now safely say that the Malasada is quite possibly my favorite cinnamon-rolled member of the international donut family. It was increeeedible! Definitely not to be missed!
4. Pure Cafe’s “Homemade Cream Donuts” (¥420 each) – VEGAN!
Sadly, there is one Tokyo donut that I desperately wanted but failed to obtain – Pure Cafe’s absurdly deliciously-looking cream-filled donuts. They seem to release them only in the morning and only on certain days of the week (last I saw it was Wednesdays), and since I had to work Wednesday morning, I never made it there in time for one. Seriously, though, look at these things (photos from the Pure Cafe Facebook). How could they NOT be amazing?
So, in conclusion, while my quest to eat A vegan donut in Tokyo was achieved, I didn’t get to eat allthedonuts, which as you might expect is a pretty bitter disappointment. I hope you readers succeed where I failed! Good luck!
Note: Found another tasty vegan donut in Tokyo? Let me know!