5 Tips for being Vegan in Japan

Never assume

You might think you can Google the kanji for “vegan” and use it to read labels on food items in supermarkets or to show waiters, but sadly, the word has spread incorrectly. Vegan is frequently used to mean “healthy” rather than “herbivorous.” The term “vegetarian” is also lacking and is typically understood to signify that one does not consume meat. However, fish is OK. Also, don’t assume “plant-based” may be an alternative because items bearing this label frequently include dairy or eggs.

Eating out can be difficult, but if you take the time to write down precisely what you can’t eat and have it translated, you can carry it with you and utilize it in various restaurants. This will make eating out a lot easier.

Supermarkets and konbinis, on the other hand, might be difficult for vegans to navigate. A veggie rice ball could make you feel safe, but they frequently have traces of meat or fish. Even some packs of nuts that seem to be safe have some risks. Currently, the only alternative is to arrive prepared in these locations.

Put social media to the best possible use.

Joining some well-liked discussion forums and groups on Facebook or Instagram will help you remain current on what items are safe for vegans. If it is vegan, The most well-liked and frequently updated website and Facebook group for keeping people up to date on supermarket etiquette is called “Japan.”

Using the appropriate hashtags, one can also learn about the numerous tiny independent enterprises operated by foreign residents in Japan. Not only will you be able to purchase genuine vegan goods, but you might be able to meet other vegan residents and learn how they’ve managed to make a livelihood in this area.

For those in the Kansai area, “_trick or treats_” bakes delectable vegan goodies and is very accommodating to all clients.

With a few fast hashtag searches on Instagram, you can easily find the many pop-up vegan events and stalls that are frequently located across the nation.

Shop wisely


There is always online purchasing, but knowing which websites to use can be challenging when moving to a new nation is challenging. The local ones will essentially have all the same issues as using a local store, while the ones you’re used to could have a financially alarming increase in delivery.

There is a well-known online retailer for foreigners in Japan since they frequently carry a wide variety of foods that are hard to find in the country and have a large selection of vegan snacks, baking supplies, protein powders, and other goods. Additionally, they offer free shipping on purchases above 5000 yen and typically deliver within a week.


There are some Western-style supermarkets all around Japan. Still, typically even a little bag of vegan-friendly jellies can increase in price, turning what was formerly a few dollars into a more significant outlay that might not be worthwhile.

Luckily, Costco is always an option. Although there won’t be as many selections as you’d find at home, they carry reputable brands to provide you with peace of mind when making purchases. They also release new vegan items for customers to test out nearly every month.


This is more of new development in Japanese convenience stores. It was a modification to prepare for the increase in tourism brought on by the 2020 Olympics. We all know it didn’t happen, but the bento options at 7/11s have changed. There are now some vegan alternatives accessible in regular bento lunch places, and they have vegan stickers all over them. Naturally, make sure to confirm what is truly safe with those vegan societies online, but I’ve heard there are some fantastic options now readily available.

Smart dining

Because it is simply not a part of their culture, Japanese cuisine is unlikely to be aware of a Vegan’s nutritional requirements. But other Japanese cuisines will comprehend. Keep in mind that restaurants serving Indian, Arabic, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, and American cuisine are frequently run by foreign residents who are locals and who not only understand your demands but are also likely to have solutions ready.

Naturally, finding vegan-friendly eateries in larger cities won’t be more challenging than conducting a quick google search.

Enjoy vegan Japanese cuisine.

Let’s face it, most of us are motivated to travel to experience new foods. Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to miss out on amazing culinary adventures. Fortunately, there are a few mouthwatering Japanese dishes that have been made entirely without using any animal products.

Here are a few samples of what you may anticipate experimenting with:

Frequently paired with a chewy Tofu skin are Udon noodles.
fried seaweed
Nato Miso Soup (a fermented slimy soybean product that holds the same debate as marmite in Australia)
types of sweet potato Mochi that resemble deserts! (This would be my preferred dessert, a rice dough often made with red bean paste.)
Once more, keep an eye on those forums for more fantastic suggestions!


Japan is undoubtedly not the world’s vegan-friendliest nation. Finding plant-based foods and items will be difficult. Still, maybe these five suggestions will be helpful to any vegans out there who dream of visiting temples, dressing in kimonos, and climbing Mt. Fuji but worry about going without food. You won’t go without food because there are always workarounds, and you’ll even get to try some new Japanese cuisine.

It’s also important to note that in the five years I’ve been in Japan, the cities have changed from having no vegan restaurants to having options, the shops have changed from only carrying meat, and I’ve even met a few Japanese vegans. The vegan community has come a long way and will only become better.

A Beginner’s Guide To Sushi Eating

An Introduction To Eating Sushi: We all have those people that are obsessed with sushi and will constantly gush about how delicious it is, the different flavors, the possibilities, etc. We are pleased that you are reading our beginner’s guide, regardless of what persuaded you to try the sushi—whether it was our blabbering or anything else.

Like anything you attempt for the first time, start with the safest selections and be aware of the game’s regulations to have a positive experience. We’ll explain what to order (for beginners), how to balance the flavors and a few other hints in this guide. So let’s get started!

Start With Options for Cooked Sushi

If you’ve never had raw fish, we strongly advise starting your sushi trip with prepared alternatives. Before you venture out and try the natural selections, learn about sushi and savor the ideal fusion of rice, vinegar, nori, and cooked seafood one step at a time.

Sushi does not necessarily mean raw fish, which many believe is confirmed along with a variety of vegetables, prepared fish, and beef, this Japanese delicacy. Smoked salmon sushi, spicy chicken sushi rolls, prawn tempura rolls, eel avocado rolls, and more prepared sushi options are available.

Know Your First Order

Don’t immediately order whatever appeals to you on the menu once you have it in your hands. It’s always preferable to begin with, lighter alternatives to get into the sushi mood before moving on to heavier fish or seafood. Start with a cucumber or avocado maki roll, as suggested by us.

Go on to prepared fish selections with less overt fish flavor next. Red snapper (tai), scallops (Bottega), halibut (Ohyo), and squid are milder fish for novices (ika). The black color of tuna gives the impression that it has a strong flavor, but it has a mild taste, except the fatty tuna, which has a rich, buttery texture.

Save dishes like an eel, saba, and tacos of octopus and mackerel for your next dining out experience. You’ll be more daring and self-assured when exploring new possibilities. You will at least be aware of some sushi varieties that you enjoyed on your previous visit, even if you don’t like them.

Correct Flavor Balancing

We believe the sub-heading should be changed to reflect what not to do to avoid distorting the delicate flavor balance that the sushi chef or itamae has worked so hard to create. To achieve balance and prevent one element from overpowering the others, the chef already adds a small amount of wasabi and soy sauce to the sushi.

On the other hand, when sushi is given to you on a plate, it usually comes with a small bowl of soy sauce and a dollop of wasabi on the side. Avoid the temptation to smother your sushi in wasabi or sauce without first taking a mouthful.

If you do need a little extra heat, sprinkle some wasabi over the fish or roll (caution: it’s very spicy). To eat sushi with soy sauce, pick up a piece with chopsticks or your hands, dip it slowly (fish portion first) in the sauce, and try to eat it all at once.

If the sushi is too large to eat in one bite, you can split it into two, but don’t take more than two bites—the sushi will break apart, and you won’t be able to savor the flavors together. Sushi is all about that exquisite interplay of flavors that leaves the palate with a lovely aftertaste.

Several Pointers For A Pleasant Experience

It is usual for a novice to experience some confusion and apprehension in a sushi restaurant. We advise you to go to your first sushi with a friend who has previously visited one. If not, follow these suggestions to ensure you have a good time.

The chef or waitress will shout “Irasshaimase,” which is Japanese for “Welcome to the store!” or “Come on in,” as you visit a sushi restaurant. It’s their way of saying “hello” to visitors. Respond by saying “Ojama shimasu” or smile warmly and say “Thank you.”

When you first arrive, take a seat at the table because you might not feel at ease placing an order or dining like a regular. You may start sitting at the bar for a more intimate encounter after being sure about what you like and what to order.

Request assistance with your initial order from the chef or server. Tell them you’re new and if you have any restrictions, such as only wanting vegetarian sushi or not eating raw fish, etc. They’ll be delighted to assist you in getting the most out of your experience.

Take a little taste of the pickled ginger (the pink substance) on the side of the plate after you have finished your sushi. Your palate will be cleansed with gari or pickled ginger produced from younger ginger roots, allowing you to appreciate the subtle flavors of the next meal that is brought to you.


A. Fugu chiri

Fugu chiri, also known as tetchily and cooked in the hotpot method, is a popular Japanese meal made with huge chunks of the deadly fugu fish and vegetables, including cabbage, mushrooms, and leeks. The meal is often made tableside, and after the delicate fish portions are cooked, they are removed from the broth and dipped in soy sauce before being consumed.

Sushi with unagi

Traditional Japanese nigiri sushi is known as unagi nigiri. Slices of generally cooked freshwater eel are placed on top of hand-pressed sushi rice. The food has a moderate flavor and a soft texture. The eel can be lightly seared using a blowtorch if desired.

It’s a good alternative for those who want to enjoy sushi but don’t like raw food. Traditionally, one mouthful of this kind of sushi is taken by hand. Wasabi, soy sauce, or pickled ginger (gari) are frequently served alongside it.


A straightforward Japanese meal called tekkadon comprises steamed rice with a vinegar flavor and raw tuna slices. Typically served with soy sauce on the side, the meal is frequently topped with nori seaweed strips and sliced scallions.

The phrase is occasionally used synonymously with maguro zuke don, a related meal that includes marinated tuna slices and is typically served without dipping sauce on the side. The donburi cuisine has tekkadon, which is suitable as a light main meal.

Sushi with maguro nigiri

Traditional Japanese nigiri sushi is called maguro nigiri. Slices of tuna are placed on top of hand-pressed sushi rice. Tuna is divided into three categories: otoro (fatty), chutoro (medium-fatty), and akami (red meat).

The meal is perfect for people new to sushi because it has a rich texture and a moderate flavor. Traditionally, one mouthful of this kind of sushi is taken by hand. Wasabi, soy sauce, or pickled ginger (gari) are frequently served alongside it.


Japanese food, unadon, is made up of grilled unagi (eel) fillets served over steaming rice. The eel is kabayaki-style, which involves cutting the fish in half, gutting it, butterflying it, cutting it into squares, skewering it, then dipping it in tare sauce before grilling.

Soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake make up the tare sauce. During the grilling process, it gives the essential fish caramelization. Spanish berries are frequently placed on top of unadon before serving. The eel is typically steamed in Kant before being grilled, giving the fish a more soft texture, whereas, in Kansai, the eel is grilled without prior steaming.

Sake sushi nigiri

Traditional Japanese nigiri sushi is known as sake nigiri. Salmon slices are placed on top of hand-pressed sushi rice in this dish. Although the flavor can be a little fishier than maguro (tuna) nigiri sushi, the dish has a delicate texture and a clean finish that makes it suitable for sushi beginners.

Traditionally, one mouthful of this kind of sushi is taken by hand. Wasabi, soy sauce, or pickled ginger (gari) are frequently served alongside it.

A. Saba Zushi

This type of pressed sushi has a foundation of sushi rice and a topping of marinated mackerel fillet, usually draped in a delicate, thin coating of kelp. Saba zushi is not prepared using conventional wooden tools like other pressed sushi kinds; instead, the entire dish is typically wrapped in bamboo leaves to give it its distinctive shape.

Saba zushi, also known as pressed sushi made in the Kyoto style, is regarded as the national cuisine of the city.


A traditional Japanese meal from Nagoya is called hitsumabushi. Histumabushi is made of sliced grilled eel served on top of steaming rice, much like unadon in terms of the majority of the components, but it also comes with a variety of sauces and garnishes.

Everything is separated into four halves, and the dish is prepared in a very particular manner. The first serving is consumed whole, while the second is accompanied with toppings like wasabi, nori seaweed, and chopped green onions. Except for adding dashi broth or green tea (consumed like soup), the third and final portions are identical to the second and can be finished in any way you prefer.


Temaki is a form of hand-rolled sushi distinguished by its conical shape. Rice, raw fish, and vegetables are combined in this dish and wrapped in nori seaweed. Temaki is most frequently prepared at home and is rather challenging to obtain in typical sushi restaurants in Japan because of how simple the preparation is.

Temaki is typically cooked for large family gatherings and house parties. Additionally, it is a fantastic method to introduce sushi to non-natives. Chopsticks are rarely used when eating temaki because this sushi style doesn’t require them. Pickled ginger, wasabi, and dipping sauces like ponzu and soy sauce are suggested accompaniments with temaki.


The word “kimono” in Japanese refers to various dried fish products. Smaller fish, such as mackerel or sardines, are frequently used in their preparation. These fish are typically butterflied, cleaned, occasionally marinated, sun-dried, or stored in the refrigerator.

The procedure evolved as a preservation technique that allowed for longer shelf life. While salt was mainly used as a preservative, it is now primarily utilized as a condiment. Fish that has been dried can either be preserved or eaten right away. Fish is typically grilled and coated with a savory soy-based sauce when eaten right away.

The Beginner’s Guide to Japanese Food

If you’re not from Japan, knowing where to begin when trying something new can be challenging! This post is for you if you don’t know what a California roll or sushi is!

This user-friendly guide will go over some fundamental sorts of Japanese food and dishes that are likely to whet your appetite for discovering an entirely new culture.


Because Japan has so wide distinctive and delectable varieties of fish native to its soil, sushi has become a mainstay of Japanese cuisine. Also, nations worldwide, including America, have modified and altered sushi.

The preparation of sushi varies according to the area in Japan as well! Ask your server if you’re looking for anything particular fish.

When eating sushi for the first time in Japan, keep these simple rules in mind:

  • Never combine wasabi and soy sauce.
  • Always dip the fish, never the rice.
  • Never top your sushi with pickled ginger.
  • Always eat it apart from the sushi.

Not a big issue, but it’s always polite to attempt to follow the customs in your community.


Yakitori, which translates to “grilled chicken,” is a dish that consists only of grilled meat, fish, or vegetables on a skewer. It is not rocket science.

But everything, from chicken thighs to mushrooms, is well-seasoned and typically drizzled with a sauce made of soy sauce using a paintbrush.


Ramen is a soup made with thick wheat noodles and salt, soy sauce, or miso. Although ramen restaurants may be found all across Japan, it is evident that Tokyo has the most significant number of them.

Ramen comes in various shapes and forms, but you should be aware of the two primary types: Shio (salt) and Shoyu (soy sauce). They can have thin or thick noodles, small or huge servings, meaty or vegetable, moderate or extremely powerful soups, and white or red forms. Regional varieties include, among others, Kyushu ramen (red broth, plenty of garlic), Hokkaido ramen (creamier white broth, thicker noodles), Hakata ramen (white, tonkatsu-based, thin noodles), and many more.


A thick wheat flour noodle is called udon. It can be dipped in a sauce or eaten hot or cold in a soup. This is a fantastic substitute if you don’t want something nearly as intense as ramen. The doughy noodles’ texture is ideal for slurping.


Buckwheat noodles are known as soba. Although they are often more biting than udon, they are thinner. Different toppings, cold foods, and hot broth-based dishes are all options for soba. It is available everywhere in Tokyo, just like ramen and udon.


A savory pancake called an “okonomiyaki” is stuffed with vegetables like cabbage and bean sprouts. It can be eaten alone or with sauce and bonito flakes on top. Your waiter or waitress cooks the pancakes on a grill in front of you at the table and adds each item to your dish one at a time as they finish cooking it.


Takoyaki is octopus dumplings in the shape of balls. They contain tempura crumbs, green onions, pickled ginger, and sliced octopus. One of the most well-liked street delicacies in Tokyo, these tiny balls of delight can be found throughout the city. Our preferred location to purchase these delectable treats is Takoyaki Wanaka, located off of Shinjuku’s Golden Gai.


This meal consists of beef cooked in a sweet sauce until it is incredibly tender. The meat is then served over rice (either in soup form or not), and onion or other vegetables, such as bean sprouts, are frequently added as a garnish. Both independent mom-and-pop eateries and chain restaurants like Yoshinoya, Matsuya, and Sukiya serve this meal.


In a Japanese dish known as tempura, vegetables and seafood are battered and deep-fried. It can be served with rice or on its own. Tempura is typically consumed with white soy sauce, green onions, and grated ginger. The batter creates a light but crunchy coating for the dish that puffs up beautifully. Restaurants of many types, from the most casual to the most upmarket, serve tempura. Of course, there are numerous tempura chains across the city, including Tenya, where you may find this popular dish (for some great deals).


A side of shredded cabbage and rice is served with tonkatsu, a breaded pork cutlet that has been deep-fried in hot oil until cooked through and golden brown. White soy sauce, green onions, and grated ginger are typical accompaniments to this dish. Most frequently, you may find tonkatsu in izakayas or other informal eateries where you can order a variety of meals for one meal (a great way to try many dishes at once).

Must-Try Traditional Japanese Dishes

1. Sushi

One of the most popular Japanese dishes in the world is sushi from the entertaining kaiten-sushi (conveyor belt sushi), where customers can enjoy sushi for a fair price of about 100 yen per plate, to the high-end, long-standing, traditional Edomae sushi (Edo-style sushi), where you will sit at a quiet counter to eat. In contrast, sushi is prepared right in front of your eyes.

Typically, “sushi” refers to a dish of pressed vinegared rice with a neta or piece of raw fish or shellfish. Wasabi is generally eaten with sushi along with soy sauce, although individuals who don’t like it much can request “Sabi-nuke” (meaning “without wasabi”).

Chopsticks or your hands can be used to consume sushi. There is one thing, though, with which you should use caution. Turn the sushi over and drizzle the soy sauce on the neta rather than the rice when dipping it in the sauce. This guards against the rice is soaking up too much soy sauce and obliterating the “neta’s” unique flavor.

2. Sashimi

Another dish you must try is sashimi. Sashimi is raw fish cut into bite-sized pieces and is similar to sushi but without rice. Whether you are in Tokyo, Kyoto, or anyplace else in Japan, the high caliber of the fish collected there makes it a great pick.

Sashimi comes in dozens of different kinds, just like sushi. Maguro and other tuna variations, salmon, mackerel, and sea bream are some of the most prevalent and well-liked varieties. Salmon roe, clams, uni, and sea urchin are more options. Order a selection of fish and seafood to discover what you enjoy the most.

Soy sauce is frequently used to flavor sashimi when it is consumed. Wasabi can be sprinkled on top of the sashimi for an added kick, but it’s unnecessary. In place of wasabi, some species, like horse mackerel, will be served with ginger.

3. Grilled eel called unagi

Eels, also known as unagi, are fish typically found in rivers. It is a specialty of high-end Japanese cuisine in Japan. Additionally, there are lots of fast food establishments that provide unagi meals. You can order kabayaki at unagi restaurants, which involves skewering the unagi and grilling it with a sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. These places also serve unadon, which is kabayaki served over white rice.

Another traditional meal you must try is hitsumabushi, a delicacy of Nagoya. Its unexpected appearance—cut-up kabayaki on top of white rice—may surprise people. Still, it may be eaten in various ways, including with toppings like green onion and wasabi or as ochazuke by drizzling warm green tea or broth. Due to its protein content and favorable digestive properties, unagi is also adored as a healthy snack to prevent summer heat exhaustion.

4. Tempura

A dish known as tempura consists of seafood, pork, and vegetable pieces battered and fried in hot oil. Typically, flour and eggs are used in the batter. Before eating, tentsuyu, a unique sauce, is dipped into tempura. Tentsuyu is a sauce created from simmered mixtures of mirin, soy sauce, and broth produced from dried bonito or kombu. You might add ginger or grated radish to your preference for a more energizing flavor.

5. Udon and Soba (buckwheat noodles) (Wheat Noodles)

Buckwheat flour, water, and flour are thinly spread and cut into noodles with widths of 1 to 2 cm to make soba, a noodle dish. The noodles are either dipped in cold soup or with hot soup poured over them after being boiled in hot water. The soba broth (tsuyu), commonly made from dried bonito broth or kombu broth and seasoned with soy sauce and mirin, is essential for enjoying excellent soba.
Since soba may be eaten hot or cold, it is a year-round favorite.

The typical meal udon is a staple of Japanese cuisine and is distinguished by its thick noodles. The dough is prepared by thoroughly kneading flour and salt water before being cut into noodles. After being boiled in hot water, udon noodles are dipped into seafood broth soup or served with soup and tempura as toppings. You can have udon hot or cold, similar to soba. Udon can be eaten in a variety of ways.

6. Rice balls are known as onigiri

The rice balls known as onigiri may be familiar to you. Although onigiri, also known as omusubi, appear to be nothing more than simply rice, they frequently contain a savory filling and are covered in a salty film of nori seaweed. Families prepare them as bento lunches, and you often see them being sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. This is a traditional option for a small snack or lunch.

Onigiri frequently comes in the tastes of kelp, salmon, pickled plums (umeboshi), and bonito flakes. There are other different tastes as well; visit a supermarket or convenience store to discover what’s available.

7. Grilled chicken skewers (yakitori)

Chicken is commonly sliced into small pieces for yakitori and grilled on bamboo skewers. It is frequently included on izakaya and casual restaurant menus, making it an excellent choice for a night out with friends in Japan. It tastes perfect when combined with alcohol. Additionally, there is a considerable probability that food stands selling this traditional meal will be present if you attend a Japanese event.

8. yakisoba

In Japan, sukiyaki is typically eaten in the fall and winter and is prepared in a shallow iron pan. In Japan, it gained popularity in the late 19th century. When you’re in the mood for something meaty, you should try this dish, prepared both at home and on the menus of restaurants.

Sukiyaki is prepared with various ingredients, including tofu, tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms, and thin slices of beef. The diner grills the items in the pan after adding a few drops of sukiyaki sauce. To consume sukiyaki the traditional way, you dip the meat or vegetable into a dish of beaten egg after the contents have been cooked thoroughly.

10 Quick Japanese Recipes You Can Prepare Right Now

Japanese food may initially appear challenging with all the unique ingredients, intricate equipment, and complex cooking methods. But don’t panic! Many dishes in Japanese cuisine are pretty easy to prepare, so it’s not as complicated as it first appears. In Japan, cooking at home is frequently simple. These dishes are the ideal way to learn about Japanese cooking, whether you’re an experienced cook or a total novice. They’re also excellent for anyone looking for a straightforward but tasty dish.

1. Renkon Chips

Due to their light, crispy crunch and excellent sauce drizzled on top, renkon chips are a shared appetizer at Japanese restaurants. Making them is simple and quick, especially if you buy pre-sliced frozen renkon from Asian or Japanese supermarkets.

2.  Yaki Onigiri

Japanese rice balls, known as yaki onigiri, are grilled and covered in a delectable sauce rather than wrapped in seaweed. These are amazingly easy to make and have a flavorful, crunchy crust.

3. Rice with Japanese Curry

It’s common to find Japanese curry served with fried chicken or pig cutlets, but it’s surprisingly simple to create at home. Add the meat immediately into the curry rather than frying it first to make it quicker and easier to prepare. You’ll have a delicious bowl of curry in no time.

4. Salted Salmon

I cannot emphasize more how simple it is to make. Salmon only needs to be salted before being grilled. It’s so straightforward but a staple that Japanese people eat with any meal and include in onigiri and bento boxes.

5. Yakitori

Yakitori is simple chicken skewers cooked and drenched with mouthwatering teriyaki sauce. You only need to grill the chicken skewers, add sauce, and serve yourself some delectable Japanese street cuisine.

6. Hamburg

Rissole-like Japanese Hamburg is superior to rissoles. They have a unique substance that keeps the Hamburg soft, juicy, flavorful, and high in protein. A delicious mushroom sauce should be served with them for a quick and straightforward Japanese midweek meal.

7. Salmon with Miso Glaze

Salmon is elevated and given a delightful flavor when miso is used as a glaze. It’s straightforward and provides a fancy supper that cooks quickly! Additionally, it is healthful, so there are no drawbacks.

8. Simple Asian Slaw Salad

This quick and straightforward Asian slaw salad can be prepared in about 15 minutes, giving you a fresh and nutritious supper on the table. Your preferred protein can be added, and an excellent and zingy sesame dressing is included with the slaw.

9. Beef Gyudon Bowl

Gyudon is a well-liked fast food dish in Japan since it’s filling and simple to consume. It is also elementary to make at home. Japanese rice that is cooked pairs incredibly well with thinly sliced, seasoned meat.

10. Japanese fried rice Yakimeshi

No complicated ingredients are needed to prepare Japanese fried rice, also known as “yakimeshi.” Since you can use whatever filler items you have on hand, it’s ideal for novices and a great meal to prepare when you feel like you have no food at home.