Stocking a Allergen-free Japanese Pantry

allergen-free japanese food

I’ve had a couple of commenters ask for gluten-free Japanese recipes and a couple of people ask for soy-free recipes. I started looking into what basic seasonings you can get for those with allergies. The common allergies that would cause the most problems seem to be soy, rice and gluten. Those of you with MSG allergies can use the gluten allergy guide. I’ve heard from several people with gluten allergies that MSG in Japan is usually derived from wheat and that they have reactions to MSG. All of the local products I’ve included will also be MSG free. Before you get started read Ashley’s post on food labelling and my post on allergy labelling on Surviving in Japan. I should warn you that allergen-free food is rather expensive. Luckily most of these staples last a long time. Most of the links below are for Amazon as they are easy to order from. I have also used A-soken (see a guide to searching in my post on allergy labelling on Surviving in Japan) as they seem to have a really good selection. If you do not read Japanese and would like to order from A-soken you can probably use Ashley’s post on signing up for a veggie box as a reference when signing up. If you order your groceries from a delivery service take a moment to look and see if they have a allergen-free catalog. Allergen-free products are becoming more available as awareness grows.

無添加 mutenka additive-free

This is going to be a key word for those of you with wheat or MSG allergies. When searching for products put this word before the name of the item you are searching for. Miso is 味噌 and additive free miso is 無添加味噌 (mutenka miso). If you search for 無添加味噌 you will find a lot of products available. You can also use this to ask the staff at the supermarket to show you additive free miso and then you can double-check the labels to make sure it is safe.

有機 (yuuki) or オーガニック (ooganikku) Organic, 無農薬 (munouyaku) pesticide free

Both the native Japanese word and the English word are used so you will have to do a search for both. The Japanese word seems to be more common for traditional Japanese products. You sometimes see 有機無農薬 which is the words organic and pesticide free together. You can search the same way with additive-free. Organic miso is 有機味噌 and most of it is also additive free.

Japanese pantry staples

mirin (みりん) - I wasn’t able to find rice free mirin
  • This mirin (味の母 ajino haha)  is made only from rice, malt rice and salt

soy sauce shouyu (醤油)

miso (味噌)

“sauce” as in as in they type used on tonkatsu and okonomiyaki (chuunou soosu 中濃) 

mayonnaise mayoneezu (マヨネーズ)

  • This mayonnaise is egg and dairy free (also none of the 25 allergens)
  • A reader pointed out that if you are gluten-free watch out for malt vinegar in mayonnaise as it can cause a reaction

mentsuyu (めんつゆ)(soup for soba/udon noodles)

  • This mentsuyu contains only mirin, beet sugar and salt (no traces of any grains)

Online sources for allergen-free food

  • A-soken (Japanese) – this site is dedicated to allergen-free food and has detailed information about ingredients and possible contamination. This site is in Japanese and since the product info is detailed I sometimes use it to find products and then look for them on Amazon.
  • Amazon – there are quite a lot of allergen-free products, even imported products. You can find some products searching in English but you’ll find a lot more if you search in Japanese.
  • Rakuten - You can find some products searching in English but you’ll find a lot more if you search in Japanese.
  • Yoyo Market
  • Tengu Natural Foods
  • Foreign Buyers Club
  • Gluten Free Foods (Japanese)
I’d love to hear from you. If you have anything I should add to my list, please leave a comment at the bottom.

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4 thoughts on “Stocking a Allergen-free Japanese Pantry

  1. Pingback: Stocking a Allergen-free Japanese Pantry « asianfoodeconomics

  2. Pingback: Kitchen Library – 2012.11.26 | I'll Make It Myself!

  3. A tip to add for your GF readers (though perhaps you’ve mentioned it elsewhere): watch out for malt vinegar in mayonnaise – there are some out there but most of the supermarket ones are off-limits (speaking from painful experience here!).

    As for online shopping, kenko.com has a supply of allergy-friendly foods; I’ve not tried but it seems you can browse in computer generated English, handy and entertaining in one go.

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