Losing the carbohydrates gains you a taste of Kyoto cuisine.
For travelers and residents like who’re looking for a quick, tasty meal in Japan, the Matsuya restaurant chain is almost always a good choice. Like rival Yoshinoya, Matsuya has branches all over Japan where just a few hundred yen will get you a filling, protein-rich meal.
However, Matsuya isn’t as attractive an option if you’re following a low-carb diet, since the menu consists primarily of rice bowls topped with beef (gyudon, as the locals call them)…
…or set meals (teishoku) consisting of strips of meat with, once again, rice, this time served in a bowl by itself.
However, as of this week Matsuya is starting a service where customers can replace the rice in a teishoku set meal with tofu. A 50-yen (US$0.44) surcharge upgrades your plain white rice to yudofu, a specialty of Kyoto made by simmering tofu in bonito stock. Not only does the yudofu lend an air of class to the meal, it contains 94 percent fewer carbs and 72 percent fewer calories than the rice that normally comes with the set.
To start with, Matsuya is offering the service in 73 of its branches nationwide. In Tokyo, you can make the tofu switch at the Shinjuku Ogado, Ebisu Nishi, Takadanobaba 4-chome, Akasaka 6-chome, Kandaogawamachi, Nakano Minamiguchi, Kinshicho Kitaguchi, Omori, Musashikoyama, and Sangubashi branches, and if you’re outside of the capital, the complete list of participating locations can be found here.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where his quality of life honestly improved when a Matsuya opened in his neighborhood.