Vegan Cheese Brands In Japan: Ranked & Reviewed
Let’s talk cheeze! Vegan cheeze.
The trend is slowly trickling into Japan and it’s a lot of fun seeing brands come out with vegan cheese products.
Here is my ranking of all the bigger vegan cheese brands (that I know of) available in Japan.
I judged each on four criteria: 1) Value, 2) Taste, 3) Availability, and 4) Meltability.
I then averaged out the scores of each criterion and ranked them accordingly.
Value: 3/5; Taste; 2/5; Availability: 3/5; Meltability: 1/5
This UK brand is available at Bio c’ Bon, a relatively accessible grocery store in Tokyo. Because of this, it ranks high in the availability category. However, it doesn’t taste very good (very bland, texture is off), doesn’t melt hardly at all, and is pretty expensive at ¥1000 per 200g.
I’ve only seen their classic and smoked cheese flavors in Japan so far. I prefer the classic over the smoked, so if you are going to buy one I recommend the former.
Value: 1/5; Taste: 5/5; Availability: 1/5; Meltability: 5/5
Sheese is a British brand that you can only find at limited grocery stores such as National Azabu or Green’s Vegetarian. It is not cheap—their slices will cost you ¥1850 for 200g. However, if you’re looking for some reliable, melty, western-style-vegan-cheese-goodness, then it may be worth to splurge.
I’ve also heard great things about their spreadable cheese, but have yet to try. It’s next on my list!
Value: 2/5; Taste: 5/5; Availability: 1/5; Meltability: 5/5
I love this cheese! It’s a shame that it’s only available online (Amazon, Terrafoods.co.jp) or at the Vegan Store in Asakusa.
It’s also pretty expensive, being ¥900 for 250g, but it does taste really good and it melts perfectly. I love putting it on toast, pasta, pizza, etc.
Value: 5/5; Taste: 3/5; Availability: 4/5; Meltability: 3/5
Shigezo is a relatively unknown specialty tofu store (at least to foreigners), with locations throughout Tokyo. Apart from the normal tofu products like age-dofu, goma-dofu, or yuba, it also sells soy karaage, tofu donuts (not vegan), dried fruit, and tofu cheese at reasonable prices.
Their tofu slices, which sell for ¥324 for 150g, are surprisingly cheese-like in their texture. It doesn’t spread very well, but melts quite well given that it is literally tofu.
Shigezo also sells “mozzarella” style cheese that is also quite affordable, but I am not a huge fan of the taste and it doesn’t really melt.
They also sell tofu cream cheese that does taste quite good, but I didn’t include it here since it’s not quite a true cheese alternative.
Value: 5/5 Taste: 4/5 Availability: 2/5; Meltability: 5/5
Marin cheese melts beautifully, tastes pretty good, and is cheap, but it loses points on its availability. You cannot find this at any of the “normal” grocery stores; you have to go to specialty food stores (National Azabu, Nissin), online, or vegan festivals for it.
Value: 5/5; Taste: 4/5; Availability: 5/5; Meltability: 3/5
I am not surprised that this came in at #1. This is by far the most widely available vegan cheese product—it can be found at Maruetsu, Rakuten, Coop, Daiei, and probably some others that I am not aware of. It is very affordable, with a retail price of around ¥300.
I also love the texture and taste. I usually put it on pasta or toast, and it melts pretty well.
P.S. Sagamiya has a beyond tofu block cheese product, but I have yet to find it and thus have not been able to try it.
P.P.S. They also sell a “burrata” style natural tofu product, but it tastes nothing like cheese. It is just tofu. Do not recommend it.