Breakfast is, nutritionally speaking, the most important meal of the day, and that goes double when you’re traveling. Your sightseeing itinerary might have you in places with limited healthy eating options, and so being able to start your day with some vegetables, especially at a reasonable price, can help offset a higher-calorie, more expensive meal later in the day.
But while breakfast is a chance to eat healthy, it’s also a chance to eat curry, which is an opportunity you never really want to pass up. So we were happy to learn that Coco Ichibanya (aka Coco Ichi), Japan’s most popular curry restaurant chain, offers incredibly affordable, healthy morning curry sets.
The breakfast curry sets are only offered at select locations, but thankfully for Tokyo the branches are in ultra-convenient neighborhoods, Shinjuku and Akihabara. We stopped by the Shinjuku Station West Exit Coco Ichi Branch, which offers five kinds of vegetable-focused “Vegetarian Curries” (although one definitely has some meat in it).
The least expensive is the super-affordable Morning Curry Set (414 yen), with the Morning Veggie Curry Set just a few yen more at 420 yen. Moving up from there brings you to the Morning Curry with Soft-Boiled Egg Set (486 yen), Morning Veggie Spinach Curry Set (523 yen), and finally the Morning Curry Sausage Set (533 yen), which still isn’t all that pricy, considering that each of the sets also gets you a salad and your choice of beverage (orange juice, hot or iced coffee, hot or cold cafe au lait, oolong tea, milk, or cola).
We settled on the Morning Veggie Curry Set, 150 grams (5.3 ounces) of rice with Coco Ichi’s delicious curry sauce poured over it, accompanied by sliced vegetables. While that makes for a lighter meal than a standard plate of Coco Ichi curry, it was still a satisfying portion size for the start of the day, especially when combined with the salad.
In addition to giving your taste buds more stimulation than a bagel or yogurt, Coco Ichi also says that the presence of the spice cardamine in its curry helps dissolve drowsiness and get your brain out of sleep mode.
Right now, a total of eight Coco Ichibanya branches offer morning sets: Shinjuku Station West Exit and JR Akihabara Station Showadori Exit in Tokyo, Kita-ku Taiyuji in Osaka, Fukuoka Minmi Bypass, Hakata-ku Chikushi-dori, and Tobata 3 Bypass in Fukuoka, Expasa Ashigara Kudari in Shizuoka, and Chatan Kokutaidoro in Okinawa. The morning sets are available from 6 to 11 a.m. (except at Expasa Ashigara Kudari, which starts serving the, at 7), and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that their availability expands to other branches too, so that we never have to cook breakfast again.
Related: Coco Ichibanya location finder
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