Location: Nonoichi (near Kanazawa)
Type: Café, Lunch
Veg status: all vegetarian; vegan friendly
Language: Japanese (but most of the dishes are on display on the counter)
Some of you make be wondering how I find out about restaurants in my area. In addition to scoping out new places to try in Clubism and Kanazawa magazines, my friends who know my tastes in food have been great about suggesting places. In fact, Noppo-kun was the very first cafe I encountered in Ishikawa, and I was taken there by a sempai with excellent taste. Noppo-kun is located just outside of Kanazawa in Nonoichi, one of the local sleeper towns.
Like most of the vegetarian cafes here, Noppo-kun is charmingly quirky. Instead of ordering meals from a menu, customers take a small basket and fill it with tiny yarn balls that represent each of the day’s okazu (side dishes to accompany rice) offerings. There are paper slips for the brown rice (half-size or full-size), miso soup, or curry plate (also half-size or full-size); there are usually 4-5 small dishes with the colored balls in front, which might include a cold or hot salad, stir-fry, spring rolls, croquettes, or quiche. There is also quite a variety of coffee, tea, and juices as well as desserts, which you order when you take your basket to the register to order and pay. Thanks to the half/regular sizes and the okazu combinations, you can order as much or as little as you want without worrying about not finishing a meal (since take-away boxes are a rarity in Japan) or not getting enough food.
Recently, the cafe has introduced lunch sets, so for about 1000 yen, you can get a small bowl of rice, 3 okazu, and a dessert. You don’t get to choose which dishes you get, though, so if you have strong preferences or allergies, it’s better to select your own. There are also cake sets, a curry set, and a larger lunch set available.
Noppo-kun bills itself as a fair-trade and organic cafe. All dishes are vegetarian and change daily. For vegans–I’ve had quiche there before, but most of the dishes are free of animal products, and the drinks with dairy often include soy options. Although the desserts tend to have tofu cream instead of whipped cream, you should double check first.
In addition to the cafe, Noppo-kun’s first floor is an organic grocery that sells local produce and dairy; fair-trade chocolate; eco-friendly/SLS-free soaps and detergents; beauty products; books; and a variety of hard-to-find pantry items like chickpeas, maple syrup, peanut butter, quinoa, and agave. In addition to the cafe, the second floor has fair-trade items for sell, including clothing, jewelry, toys, tableware, soap, coffee, and packaged food.
2-21-24 Honmachi, Nonoichi-shi, Ishikawa pref.
Grocery and cafe open 10:00-19:00
From the JR Kanazawa Station (金沢駅) East-Gate (東口) bus pool stop #9, take the 40, 41, or Terai Public Bus to Nonoichi Chuuou (野々市中央)(closer to front entrance) or the 44 to Nonoichi San-chome (野々市三丁目) (closer to back entrance). 5-10 minute walk.
From the JR Nonoichi Station (JR野々市駅): 30-minute walk (2 stops from JR Kanazawa Station [JR金沢駅] on the Hokuriku Main Line [北陸本線])
From the Hokuriku Line (北陸鉄道) Nonoichikodaimae Station (野々市工大前駅): 5-minute walk (N.b.: this is a smaller private line used by people in the suburbs of Kanazawa and does not connect the the JR lines directly. The origin is Shinnishi Kanazawa Station [新西金沢駅].)
Park behind the Nonoichi Public Library (野々市市立図書館）and use back entrance. Limited parking available in the front of the shop.
Prices: lunch/sets: about 1000 yen; drinks: ~400-500 yen
More Veg* Out in Kanazawa