I'm planning to visit Japan next month and am a bit concerned about eating. I've been a vegan for 11 years and I'm going to try my best to avoid meat, fish, eggs and dairy while I'm there, but because of the language barrier I'm concerned that I'll accidentally be given something with fish or fish sauce. I'm not so much concerned about the ethics of the Japanese food system (especially since as an outsider I don't think it's my place to judge), but I AM concerned that my body won't know how to process these foods it hasn't seen for more than a decade and I'll get sick. I do get sick in the US when I'm given eggs or dairy by accident (though no one has accidentally given me meat in about 10 years).

Is there something I can take (I'm thinking along the lines of how lactose intolerants can take lactid AC to avoid a bad dairy reaction) to make it so I don't get sick from eating fish?

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    I would hazard a guess your adverse reaction to eggs and dairy may have bee more along the lines of reactions to the hormone and treatments, rather than the dairy itself. Fortunately fish is mostly ocean caught and not raised on hormones or supplements. You could always try a small bit of fish at home to see your reaction so you can obtain the necessary combatants before you leave.
    – user13044
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 1:27
  • Is "iIdon't" a rare form of "I won't"? Or is this just a typo?
    – nic
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 6:39
  • 1
    I'm in Japan right now, avoiding meat and dairy won't be too hard but eggs and fish will be tricky
    – blackbird
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 6:47
  • Related question with tips for vegans in Japan: Can I get vegan sushi in Tokyo? Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 10:14
  • 3
    @Willeke, How is it off topic? i'm asking how to be safe and healthy in my travels. I asked a specific question about a concern i have exclusively when traveling. Would it be less off topic if i asked for suggestions for being vegan in japan? That didn't seem specific enough for stack exchange
    – Veg
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


You could acclimatize yourself to raw fish now.

I am not a big fan of fish and I do not find it hard to avoid fish products when I'm in Japan (although I suppose I could be consuming them unwittingly). In most large, commercial places the Japanese are quite accepting of foreigners' strange requirements, although in the smaller restaurants and bars where English is not spoken you will find it difficult.

You could try this website for more advice: http://isitveganjapan.com/ and I am sure Google can furnish you with many others.

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    Raw fish is relatively easy to avoid: in sushi, sashimi etc it's easy to spot, and a Japanese chef wouldn't waste some fine, fresh-enough-to-eat-raw fish by hiding it. Acclimatising to fish sauce/paste, however, is probably a good idea because that crops up in many dishes - sometimes such a common condiment staff might not even realise a dish contains it Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 10:07
  • @user568458 Valid point
    – Calchas
    Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 10:10
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    Probably a good way to acclimatise would be with non-vegan miso soup. Lots of Japanese dishes use dashi as a base - a kind of savoury stock which is based on fish among other things, and is almost as common as salt in western cooking. Miso soup contains lots of it. Commented Oct 13, 2015 at 10:26

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