All About Japan

Soy Man are Here to Sate Your Meat-Free Hunger

Vegetarian Convenience Stores

One very cool thing about Japanese convenience stores is that they’re not just a place to grab snacks like chips and cookies. They’re also stocked with all sorts of tasty food that you could eat as a meal. Craving a pork cutlet sandwich, beef bowl, or plate of meat sauce pasta? The convenience store has got you covered.

Vegetarian or vegan options are a little harder to come by, though, as even a lot of the salads sold at convenience stores have ham, tuna, or egg in them. But if you’re looking for a meatless offering, there’s a new convenience store hero on the way in the form of 7-Eleven Japan’s Soy Man!

While the name might sound like a superhero, the “Man” part is actually a shortened form of manju (bun). The Soy Man is a vegetarian version of the convenience store staple nikuman, or steamed meat buns. The Soy Man swaps out the niku man’s diced pork, though, and replaces it with a soybean meat substitute.

The rest of the fillings are the same as a standard 7-Eleven nikuman, with bamboo shoots, shiitake mushroom, and onion on the inside, promising a texture and taste on par with the meat version. The Soy Man's dough, though, gets a special bran infusion, giving the bun itself flecks of color.

The Soy Man is produced by Nakamuraya, the steamed bun provider that 7-Eleven has a long-running partnership with. The new meatless bun is 169 calories with 5.7 grams of protein and 3.6 grams of fat (compared to 223, 7, and 8.9 for a standard nikuman). It’s priced at 129 yen (US$1.25) and is on sale now at 7-Eleven branches in Tokyo, with expansion to other parts of Japan likely depending on how well it does in the capital.

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