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Top recommendations for heat-and-eat curry in Japan

By cinnamonellie, grape Japan

When you think of curry, the Indian subcontinent, where it originated, surely pops into your mind. However, did you know that curry is also one of the most popular foods in Japan?

Millions of families in Japan cook curry for dinner, and it is a dish loved by all generations, from children to adults.

Compared to most curries served in the Indian subcontinent, the Japanese one is thicker, and most people eat it with rice (kare raisu カレーライス / curry rice).

You will also discover many combinations using curry, such as Japanese Pork Katsu Curry (カツカレー / katsu kare), Soup Curry, a dish that originated in the northernmost area of Japan, Hokkaido, but also curry rice balls and curry bread.

There are even unique combinations of apples and curry that are more frequent in Aomori. Why? Well, one of the interesting things about Japan is that every area has a local ingredient they are famous for, and Aomori Prefecture has the most delicious apples in Japan.

Of course, Japan is number one when it comes to convenience and comfort, and curry is no exception.

I am not a big fan of instant food, but I must say that Japan’s instant curry selection won me over with its variety and tasty options.

What is even better is that you can get it anywhere, at an affordable price. All you need to do is heat and eat it when you get back home.

How is easy is that?

Now, here are some of my top recommendations of instant curry that you can get in Japan:

1. Convenience Store Curry

You can find lots of curry products in supermarkets or konbini, and one of my favorite convenience stores to buy curry from is Seven-Eleven.

I like their 7 Premium Butter Chicken Curry because of its well-balanced flavor and mellow taste.

It costs 213 yen + tax, and you can see more information here.

They also have delicious Keema Curry and Beef Curry (medium spicy).

2. Muji Curry

Muji has a wide variety of curries, and a few of my recommendations are:

Apple and Vegetable Curry (small portion; for one person, not spicy).

It is good for those who have a sweet-tooth, and also perfect for children. The curry is not spicy at all, as there are no spicy peppers in the ingredients, and the sweetness given by the mix of apples and pumpkin is to die for.

Green Curry

I am a big fan of green curry, and the portion size for this one is perfect for one person. It uses six types of spices, and you can also feel the spiciness of the green peppers and the rich taste of coconut milk.

Soup Curry with Bacon

For those of you who want to try out soup curry, you can also find an instant version of it that it’s simply delicious. The ingredients include potatoes, carrots, and a creamy soup made of a mix of soy milk and cheese that go well with the bacon, too.

Mild Chicken Curry

The non-spicy curry uses 12 types of spices, however no spicy peppers. Some of the spices included are cinnamon and nutmeg, and it is a great match for those who love chicken curry, but who’d rather stay away from spicy dishes.

Muji sometimes has limited-edition flavors or sets available in their stores or online, so it might be a good idea to check it out now and then. You never know what unique flavor might come out.

Official Website

3. Kaldi Curry

For those craving Indian curry, I recommend Kaldi. They also have an online store so, you can purchase it online, too. One of my favorites is the Pork Vindaloo Curry (from the southwestern state of Goa in India). The spices, white wine vinegar, and pork are a match made in heaven.

I also recommend their Keema Curry, the Butter Chicken Curry, and the Chicken Korma Curry (you can find all three online on Kaldi’s Official Website).

These are my top recommendations.

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© grape Japan

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Compared to most curries served in the Indian subcontinent, the Japanese one is thicker, and most people eat it with rice

Not to mention, really sweet and totally lacking in spices. And always with meat. I don't think it's occurred to many here that curry doesn't always have to have meat, just as sandwiches don't always have to have ham and eggs.

Give me a vegetarian south Indian or Thai curry anytime (with basmati or Thai rice).

12 ( +13 / -1 )

I will say that the naan in Japan at Indian restaurants (run mostly by people from Nepal) is 100 times better than the bread masquerading as naan in the US. Never found an edible curry int he US. Guess I'll have to go to London!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Living in Kobe City with a large Indian community was always good for finding a restaurant. Also good Thai restaurant.

Near the north end of the Kyoto Imperial Palace there is a very good Thai restaurant with eat what you want, I can't remember if its 60 mins or 90 mins. Anyway, Thai cooks and good price.

Not so keen on Japanese curry, too oily. Prefer Indian and Thai. Make a good curry a couple of times a month. One of her favorites.

Out here in the sticks we can buy good Naan breads.

When living in London, would go to an East London hole-in-the-wall Indian house come restaurant for a real Indian curry. Unlicensed but always good and cheap.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I dig curry. When I go to an India restaurant I often go for lamb curry (which is spicier) or chicken curry. Add white rice and homebaked India bread and a TAAAAAALLLLLLLLL extremely cold soft drink or large fruit punch can and you have a delectable delight. YUM!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Don’t forget to try lassie which goes so well with curries. Milk, yogurt, cinnamon and a little salt or sugar.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Brick Lane London E1, was my favorite curry port of call most Fridays.

Japan, I cook curry from scratch, I find the selection above, consistency a tad gloopy and sweet, I enjoy a spicy ruby kick. Not fire breathing though

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Brick Lane London E1, was my favorite curry port of call most Fridays.

Some good places there. Just avoid the ones touting for business and getting in your face. Always preferred Tooting or Southall, myself, but it's all subjective.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

People mentioned London for curry? Indians will never agree. Well only those Indians in UK who has never been to India.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Japanese curry is sweet, has barely discernible spices and has a revolting glutinous texture. Make your own, it’s not difficult.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Toasted Heretic, few are licensed to serve alcohol and timing is of the essence.

Luddite, yes I grow my own spices and herbs, but it is costly, and insect infestaion require additional poly tunnels.

BackpackingNepal, I have holidayed in Chennai, the cuisine is culturally vegetarian, delicious.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You can get boil in the bag curries from about ¥80 if you're not choosy. Made in Japan variants invariably have MSG (look for アミノ酸等 in the ingredients). Thai-made curries are often additive free, but include chicken.

MTR has excellent additive-free, made in India vegetarian curries.

Many of London's 'unlicensed' (to sell alcohol) curry houses don't mind BYO, but ask first. Brick Lane is great for layers of immigrant history - its mosque was previously a synagogue, and a Huguenot church before that. It's great place for 24 hr bagels, too, but if you want an authentic Indian experience in London, go west to Southall.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Brick lane packs them in tight. yes I have eaten at Curry Restaurants in Southall, Ealing.

Need to book in advance due to there popularity.

The challenge living in Japan is sourcing ingredients, plenty to choose from, experimentation.

Mother cooks wonderful curry for Father tastes.

But keeps recipes a secret, its kitchen lockdown.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's great place for 24 hr bagels

They’re beigels, both shops have ‘beigel’ in the name. The curry houses in Brick Lane have deteriorated in standards in recent years due to them catering for the large influx of tourists to the area. That’s why the touts have got so aggressive, they are all baying for the tourists. I don’t know anyone who eats in them anymore. They must be on their uppers now, with Covid.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My favorite curry would be goat curry with yams, coconut cream, green bananas, buttermilk biscuits. Caribbean style. Mutton is a good substitute for the goat.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They’re beigels


1 ( +1 / -0 )

Curry is not curry in Japan, it is something else, like J-pop is not pop music, it is something else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

BackpackingNepalJan. 16  04:56 pm JST

People mentioned London for curry? Indians will never agree. Well only those Indians in UK who has never been to India.

The vast majority of curry restaurants in the UK are Bangladeshi owned anyway!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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