(Class bell rings) Class back in session! Welcome back to another adventure with Vegan Discoveries where we bring you the 411 about the vegan eats within the depths of the historical streets of Kyoto. If you have been keeping up with the latest discoveries, our last discovery Kousagisha, the owner recommended I checked out a café he had been to because he said the food was phenomenal! Based on the experience my mouth had alone at Kousigasha, I knew I had to go check out this place for myself. Are you ready to get class started? Let`s begin!
Making my way to the cafe I was recommended to; I was surprised to find out it was next to Gion shijo station and I have never been there or heard of it. For those who don`t know Gion shijo, it is a station in a very popular area of Kyoto where you can go shopping, a variety of great restaurants, and bars. To say the least, I was very happy to stumble across another gem in an area of Kyoto I`m in frequently.
I reach my destination and I see the name of the cafe is “PELGAG”, I was very intrigued by the name of the cafe and was super excited to ask the owner of the cafe, Mr. Hashimoto why the cafe was named PELGAG.
I walk in and it had a very peaceful hip atmosphere with a lot of art everywhere. The café is on the second floor , it has windows letting in a lot of sunshine in the back with a nice view to see the street below, and tons of books for the customers interested in reading.
Mr. Hashimoto then greeted me and said I could choose anywhere I wanted to sit. It was a beautiful day outside, so of course I decided to sit window side.
You can really tell that Mr. Hashimoto is a fan of art and creativity by décor of this seating area. I was unsure of what I was in for but the previous restaurant giving me this recommendation sure kept me on the edge of my seat.
Here is the menu, there is both English and Japanese, and a myriad of options. Those who would like to drink during their meal they offer alcoholic drinks. Be careful with what you order, not all the options are vegan. They are clearly labeled but to attract a wide audience, PELGAG offers various dishes, but mostly all of them contain vegetables. I told Mr. Hashimoto to give me what he thinks would be the best bang for my buck, and that was the Daily ethnic plate. If you look at the menu, the Daily ethnic plate comes with 6 kinds of ethnic vegetable side dishes, soup, salad, and turmeric rice. I will tell you I had no idea at all what my mouth was about to experience!
BAM! Check this out guys! What makes this dish so different from any other vegan meal I`ve had in Japan is the seasoning! Each one of the different side dishes had their own unique seasoning applied to them. This amount of seasoning is not very common in Japan, I was so excited to dive into this meal. Let`s take a look at the different dishes up close.
Looks super good right? Let`s talk about what I devoured. The dish had falafel with an herb tartar sauce, tempeh covered in a peanut sauce, potato salad, beet soup, turmeric rice, a green salad, and fried broccoli, eggplant, and carrots. Again I felt like there was a party in my mouth like Kousgisha. So many different flavors and they all matched so well with each other. I`ll have to say my favorite was the turmeric rice though. The taste was very rich and the rice was the right amount of chewiness.
I was so surprised with how much there was so many different tastes on one plate. This is when I started chatting up Mr. Hashimoto. Mr. Hashimoto wants to give the customer the feeling of eating foods from various countries hence the name of the dish. Mr. Hashimoto started PELGAG about 2 years at this location but before this he was located by Kyoto University. Before started PELGAG, he had previous experience cooking at a vegan restaurant. He is not totally vegan himself, but he says he loves vegetables. Mr. Hashimoto wants to create a place where all people can come in and enjoy their time at PELGAG. You can come in and just order a coffee, you can order a meal, you can also rent out the 2nd floor of the establishment for a small fee per hour. Mr.Hashimoto is really into community and he is always happy to meet new people who come to his café.
Then the question I have been dying to ask him finally was brought to light about where he got the name of the cafe.
He said it really has no meaning, but he is really into music and one of the artists he loves listening to had a song named PELGAG and he thought it had a nice ring to it to name as his café.
I thought his shirt was so cool I had to take a picture of it. He was definitely one of the most creative store owners I have ever met.
After finishing my meal I looked for something sweet to end my meal with a punch. The one vegan sweet option was a chocolate cake with rum and Cuban mint.
A very nice moist chocolate cake with rum filled raisins on the side.
After demolishing the chocolate cake, I chatted with Mr. Hashimoto for a little more about PELGAG and what was his end goal for the café. He said he wanted a place where it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from, and what you eat, you can come to PELGAG and have a great experience. As I stated before, the second floor of the café can be rented out, but he also has events at PELGAG dealing with music, art, and even Zen meditation. I highly recommend if you are in the area to check out this gem PELGAG.
LESSON WRAP UP
If you are looking for a place to knock your socks off, PELGAG is definitely the spot for you. The seasonings on the food were like no other place I have ever tried in Japan. The café is vegan friendly and carries other options for people looking to eat other options. This place breathes uniqueness and it`s a space that has the potential to bring in an array of different types of people. Mr. Hashimoto is looking to connect with new people and learn from others, if you are interested in what events he runs, they change from time to time, check out his website where it will have all the info you are looking for! Until next time, stay tuned for the next adventure of Vegan Discoveries! (Class bell rings)
Looking for delicious foods that are made up of no animal products?
You have come to the right place! I am here to help you on your journey while you are here in Japan. I am here to tell you being plant-based in this beautiful country is possible! I, Zane Johnson will be your “sensei”, (Which means teacher in Japanese) who will guide you to the most delicious plant-based spots Kyoto has to offer.
Just to give you some background information on what I can bring to the table, I have been plant based for over a year now, but I have been on and off the plant-based diet for over 7 years! I look forward to seeing you guys in class!
Without further due, class is in SESSION!