Japanese Curry - what is it, and where can you get it?


I'd never even heard of Japanese curry before living here - let alone tried it. To me, as soon as I thought of the word curry, I'd think of Indian cuisine served with delicious buttery naan bread, or super spicy Thai curries.
I think when I first heard about Japanese curry I was actually a bit confused. A land that I had previously associated with sushi and ramen actually had their own version of curry? Yup! Something I learned from Wikipedia about it, was that curry was introduced to Japan during the Meiji era by the British - since at the time India was under British Rule, which is how the Brits knew about it!
Japanese curry is a mix of curry powder, flour, oil and other seasonings, but it has a distinctly different taste to it than Indian curries do.
Feeling hungry? There's a few different ways you can get your hands on Japanese curry if you're wanting to give it a try...

The "do it yourself" method

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In basically every supermarket and convenience store here, you'll find packets of curry roux blocks, that look like this. There's a few different brands, but I chose to take a photo of this brand as they're commonly sold in other parts of the world with English writing on them - case in point below! It's pretty easy to follow the instructions (even in the Japanese only version) - it's really just a matter of adding the veggies you want, cooking the meat, adding the curry roux cubes and the water, and then letting that pot do its thing!
Even if you're not currently living or traveling in Japan, you can probably find packets like this at your local supermarket if you have an international foods aisle, or if you have a dedicated international foods supermarket in your area I have even more hope you'd be able to find some there!
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The "try it at a restaurant" method

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Probably the most well known of curry institutions in Japan for quick and easy curry is Coco's. They have a big range of Japanese curries from Chicken Cutlet curry (probably one of the most popular!) to hamburger curries (my personal favorite!) and vegetarian options. This chain lets you customize things like how much rice you want, the spice level you want from 1-10 (I'm a wimp and tend to not add any extra spice), and you can even do things like get half orders which is just a smaller size portion of the full size meal.
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Today I had the half order Hamburger Curry. Whilst not the most photogenic of meals (seriously, curry is HARD to make look good in pictures - props to food photographers out there!) it's delicious, I promise!
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The "grab some from a convenience store (or supermarket)" method


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Ah, the convenience store ready meal - my savior on many occasions when I haven't planned dinner or I just need something quick and easy. You'll find pre made Japanese curry with rice just about everywhere, 7-11, Lawsons, Family Mart - and also at a bunch of supermarkets that have these heat and eat meals available. They'll ask if you want them heated at the convenience stores, which is nice if you're wanting to eat it right then and there, rather than taking it home. 

Have you tried Japanese curry? What are your thoughts about it?


this is japan