5 Recommended Regional Curries from Japan! Popular Curries from Hokkaido to Kyushu and More!
People who travel generally want to taste dishes that are unique to the area they are visiting. Every region in Japan actually makes their own so-called regional curry (“gotochi curry” in Japanese) that is cooked using ingredients and methods particular to the area. This article will showcase five recommended regional curries. Even tourists who wonder how good the curry dishes are in Japan will surely be convinced if they only try any one of the curries featured here!
What is regional curry?
Japanese people love curry that much that it can actually be considered as Japan’s national dish. Did you know, though, that every region in the country has its own unique curry that is called “regional curry”?
Regional curry refers to curry that is unique to a certain region in terms of taste, appearance, and cooking method. This type of curry may be made using the region’s own ingredients, may be inspired by or based on history, or has become popular after being launched by a famous shop in town.
1. Yokosuka Kaigun Curry (Yokosuka, Yokohama)
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that the most popular regional curry in Japan is the Yokosuka Kaigun Curry. Why? Because the curry that was first created by the navy (“kaigun” in Japanese) around 150 years ago has become the base of this rice and curry dish that people in Japan love today.
Beriberi, the leading cause of death in the navy and army at that time, was a disease brought about by lack in vitamin B1. When Japan’s naval and armed forces modeled their food after the food provided to the British Navy as a precautionary measure, the incidence of beriberi drastically declined! Incidentally, there are apparently many shops serving Yokosuka Kaigun Curry that would pair the dish with salad and milk in reference to the food of the Japanese Navy at that time.
Out of many restaurants where you can eat Yokosuka Kaigun Curry, the most famous one is probably Wood Island that is located right beside the gate of U.S. Navy Yokosuka Base. Here, the Yokosuka Kaigun Curry Rice (1,480 JPY) that comes with large chunks of ingredients and a sweet taste is highly recommended.
2. Soup Curry (Sapporo, Hokkaido)
While the usual curry in Japan has a thick sauce, Sapporo’s regional curry called Soup Curry has a smooth soup base. It is eaten by dipping every spoonful of rice into the curry that exquisitely balances the aroma and sharpness of the spices with the delicious flavors of the slowly cooked soup. The taste of the soup considerably varies depending on the restaurant where you eat, so it would be fun to look for the taste that you like.
Soup Curry Maharaja in Sapporo City is a spot that is famous for its curry soup that is based on Thailand’s massaman curry. Try the Horopari Tori (990 JPY (excl. tax) that is made with coconut milk characterized by its a rich body, plenty of vegetables, and chicken that is crispy on the outside and almost melt-in-the-mouth tender on the inside.
3. Kanazawa Curry (Kanazawa, Ishikawa)
Kanazawa Curry is a dish of thick roux that is spread over rice, often accompanied by slices of katsu (pork cutlet) and shredded cabbage.
The popular Champion’s Curry has several outlets in the city, but it would be best to dine at Champion’s Curry Omicho Branch at Omicho Market that is also a known sightseeing destination. Its signature dish, L Katsu Curry (690 JPY for small and 790 JPY for medium serving), boasts the perfect match of moderately spicy and rich roux, and filling cutlet! When you’re done eating, enjoy shopping at Omicho Market.
4. Yaki Curry (Kitakyushu, Fukuoka)
Yaki Curry (baked curry) is basically curry put on top of rice, topped with cheese, and then baked in the oven. It is a specialty dish that was born around 60 years ago at Mojiko (Moji Port) in Kitakyushu City which has been gaining a lot of popularity as a tourist spot of late.
There are currently more than 20 restaurants that serve this dish, and one of the most recommended ones is Princess Phi Phi with its Mojiko Meibutsu! Osama Yaki Curry (1,000 JPY (excl. tax))! This dish is served with a heap of vegetables in season surrounding the plate to resemble a crown. The curry goes really well with cheese.
5. Aikgake Jindai Curry (Senboku, Akita)
The Jindai district in Senboku City, Akita is a fertile area where rice cultivation is popular, with the area known as the origin of the organic rice called Akita Komachi. Aigake Jindai Curry is characterized by the fusion of old-fashioned homemade curry that is cooked with flour and curry powder, and European-style curry roux with demi-glace sauce. It is topped with soft-boiled egg and Akita’s specialty pickled smoked radish called Iburi Gakko.
If you want to eat this curry, why not go on a sightseeing tour that will take you eating at the Dakigaeri Baiten/Shokudo, a shop located at the mouth of Dakigaeri Keikoku (Dakigaeri Gorge), and then touring the gorge after? Dakigaeri Keikoku is a picturesque spot with gorgeous blue water and the stunning Mikaeri waterfalls. You have to see the beautiful autumn leaves!
On top of the curries featured in this article, there are many other regional curries in all areas of Japan! Make sure to try the unique regional curries when you visit.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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