Giving parents in Tokyo peace of mind with their meals, but not everyone is impressed.

For parents of very young babies, something as seemingly simple as going out for lunch at a restaurant is suddenly not so simple. Is the baby going to disturb other customers? Will there be food on the menu that’s suitable for the baby to eat? Will the restaurant even be welcoming towards children?

Well, any parents looking for somewhere suitable to take their young children should look no further than soup restaurant chain Soup Stock Tokyo, who recently announced they would be making their baby-friendly menu completely free.

Soup Stock Tokyo is a chain of restaurants that offer freshly made soup, and pride themselves on their simple but stylish menus.

As of April 25, 2023, all Soup Stock Tokyo stores will begin offering free food suitable for babies aged between 9 to 11 months old — roughly the time in a baby’s development they begin eating solid food.

The menu rotates depending on the season, but includes four different kinds of baby-friendly meals —

● Minestrone with chicken and seven kinds of vegetables
● Chicken and sweet potato rice porridge
● Hokkaido corn stew
● Rice porridge with sea bream soup and tomatoes

The baby-friendly menu contains carefully prepared soup stock, and uses hidden ingredients and tastes that your baby might normally be reluctant to try.

For kids older than 11 months, there’s also a children’s menu for 650 yen (US$4.77) which includes a soup, a choice of bread or rice, and a small drink.

The soups available are corn and sweet potato, Hokkaido pumpkin, and minestrone, and each set comes with a fukuwarai, a traditional children’s game where you have to arrange the parts of the face on a mat. Soup Stock Tokyo’s fukuwarai includes parts of the face made of vegetables included in the soup for an added element of fun. It also doubles up as a chance to keep your child distracted and lets parents eat their meal in relative peace!

The announcement that Soup Stock Tokyo would be offering free meals to young babies was met with an incredibly mixed reaction online, with many people praising the initiative —

“There aren’t many places that offer baby-friendly food, and I’m excited I can share the deliciousness of Soup Stock Tokyo with my baby!”
“I don’t have kids but I’d be happy to hear the happy, healthy voices of babies at Soup Stock Tokyo.”
“It would be a wonderful service even if it weren’t free. I’d be happy to pay for this.

There were also a decent amount of voices speaking out in protest against Soup Stock Tokyo’s decision.

“Soup Stock Tokyo used to be a place where I could relax, but I won’t be able to if customers with children come.”
“I won’t go anymore. I wanted a place that I could get a nutritious meal and relax, but the atmosphere will be ruined if kids are there.”
“I feel bad for the workers. It’s a recipe for disaster.”

An online Twitter poll saw 75 percent of voters in favour of Soup Stock Tokyo’s baby-friendly policy, with 25 percent of voters against it. But Soup Stock Tokyo themselves don’t seem to be bothered by any of the negative comments, though, as they tweeted another statement the day after their original announcement —

“Thank you very much for all the positive comments! More and more families are visiting our stores with their young children, and our customers’ lives have changed for the better. We are happy to be a place where even the smallest of customers can enjoy a meal!”

If you have small children — or just want to enjoy the “happy, healthy voices of children” for yourself — head on down to one of the roughly 60 branches of Soup Stock Tokyo across the country.

Worry not if there’s not a branch nearby though — you can always try out ramen chain Ichiran instead, for more child-friendly fare!

Source: PR Times, Soup Stock Tokyo, Twitter (1, 2)
Images: PR Times
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[ Read in Japanese ]