Shojin Ryori in Tampere

Last Sunday I had a great opportunity to see what Shojin Ryori, Japanese Buddhist vegetarian diet, is like. An expert on shojin ryori, ms. Mari Fujii had prepared interesting dishes together with her daughter and another Japanese female chef.

Ms. Fujii making sushi

The event was organized by the Japanese embassy in Finland, and it is held also in Helsinki. The introduction to shojin ryori took 2 hours and was free of charge.

Everyone got to roll their own maki sushis

I love the Japanese ingredients and way of culinary thinking. Tastes should be in balance, and presentation is very important part of the meal. I know that most of the Japanese dishes include bonito flakes or dashi stock which is made from fish, and that veganism could be a challenge. It can be quite hard to be sure about the ingredients of a dish if you can’t event read the name! It would be interesting to visit a temple or a shrine where shojin ryori is offered, that way I could at least be sure that the food is vegan.

Some common ingredients in japanese cooking: different sorts of miso paste, mirin seasoning, roasted sesame seeds and kombu kelp
Shojin ryori meal: vegetarian sushi, miso soup with champignons, fried mashed potato cake, fried mushroom, sprouts with spinach and something jiggly

Frying mashed (or shredded) potato was interesting, but reminded me of the filling of the potato karelian pie (which I am not a fan of). I really enjoyed the sprouts and spinach, and the fried mushroom was, well, a fried mushroom (although simmered in teriyaki sauce). The jiggly thing, made from lotus powder, was not to my liking since I have some issues with jello-like texture. The vegetarian maki we made was good, although the simple ingredients (cucumber, carrot, tofu) do not compete with the seafood sushis.

This event was really interesting, and I would be more than glad to attend to more this kind of cultural journeys!

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2 thoughts on “Shojin Ryori in Tampere

  1. Thanks for stopping by, hiwyhi! The sushi on the left in the lower photo looks like futomaki. Have you tried the Korean version, called gimbap? Sesame seeds are sprinkled on it, and they might add perilla oil, but oh it can be refreshing in the cooler months, somehow.

    1. Your blog seems very interesting (I am currently reading your DPRK Jaunts, very enlighting)!

      I don’t think I’ve had gimbap – there is just one Korean restaurant in Finland, and I haven’t been there. When abroad, I’ve had something else in Korean restaurants. Gimbap just seems like sushi to me, which I think as being Japanese food. But it is basically sushi, right? Is it eaten with soy sauce, gari and wasabi?

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