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  1. #1

    What are your thoughts on Japanese curry?

    Imo it's even better than Indian curry, which is already amazing, and it amazes me how it hasn't gotten the international attention it deserves.

    My favourite is easily with tonkatsu, basically a deep fried pork chop without the bone.

    I really liked CoCo House during my stay in Tokyo, but my favourite place was a self-owned restaurant that specialized in curry in Shibuya.

  2. #2
    It's nice but thai curry is just lenghts ahead
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  3. #3
    The Insane Belize's Avatar
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    Katsu curry is one of my favorite things to cook.

  4. #4
    The Lightbringer Cerilis's Avatar
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    I love it.

  5. #5
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    While I was in Thailand I grew a bit bored of Thai curry and had Tonkatsu in a Japanese restaurant, it was extremely good. Thai green curry stays king though.

  6. #6
    The Unstoppable Force Puupi's Avatar
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    Never eaten Japanese curry, would love to try it though.
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  7. #7
    I am Murloc! Slacker76's Avatar
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    Thanks America! For introducing curry to a closed japan.

    Closing borders and denying your country awesome things like curry or tacos is silly

    PS, we still need some decent shwarma and doner kebabz.

  8. #8
    Herald of the Titans Katie N's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milchshake View Post
    Thanks America! For introducing curry to a closed japan.

    Closing borders and denying your country awesome things like curry or tacos is silly

    PS, we still need some decent shwarma and doner kebabz.
    Closing borders? What? xD

  9. #9
    Japanese curry is great. I prefer making the curry roux from scratch though, instead of using the store-bought bricks.
    I follow something along the lines of this recipe:

    I consider Thai and Indian curries in their own separate categories and don't really compare them to each other, but in general if it's curry I'll find a way to love it.

  10. #10
    I really like Japanese curry, mostly as I can't tolerate really spicy food, so the milder taste is a lot better for me.

  11. #11
    I am Murloc! shadowmouse's Avatar
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    @Katie N. Likely a reference to the American role in opening Japan in the mid 1800s

    Japan had been effectively sealed against foreign contacts for more than two centuries. Although previously well-disposed towards foreign trade and Christian missionaries, Shogun Ieyasu of the House of Tokagawa in 1603 began to expel all foreigners and suppress the alien religion. Ieyasu feared lest native Christians set up a fifth column for Spanish or Portuguese invaders. Japan was a feudal state at this time, and Ieyasu’s paranoia undoubtedly stemmed from this. While the House of Tokugawa became dominant, receiving the title of Shogun from the politically powerless emperor, Ieyasu did not establish a completely centralized state. Instead, he replaced opposing feudal lords with relatives and allies, who were free to rule within their domains with only a few restrictions. The Tokugawa Shoguns prevented alliances against them by forbidding marriages among the other feudal lords' family members and forcing them to spend every other year under the Shogun's eye in Edo (now Tokyo), the Shogunal capital, in a kind of organized hostage system. In 1638 under the third Shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, came the absolute prohibition of any contact with the outside world. Iemitsu believed that influences from abroad would shift the balance that existed between the Shogun and the feudal lords. Japanese nationals were not permitted to leave the country – even accidentally: sailors who drifted across the Pacific, carried away from Japanese shores by typhoons, were not allowed to return on pain of death.

    The severity of this self-isolation did not diminish with the passage of time. An influential argument was made in 1825 by the scholar Aizawa Seishisai in his book “New Proposals” (Shinron). His work had been triggered by a Shogunate decree that again banned foreign ships. Aizawa warned that Japanese weakness “for novel gadgets" could "lure ignorant people" to the spell of "treacherous foreigners." The result would be the internal corruption and the decay of Japanese society or outright foreign conquest. In 1839 one group of intellectuals was so active in learning from the Dutch and spreading the information that several committed suicide fearing that their activities embarrassed their daimyo master in the eyes of the Shogun. The tension illustrated by these suicides--the tension created between the seeking of outside news to protect Japan and the fear that spreading of such foreign influence could create disorder or even civil war--shaped the background that foreigners never understood. For 250 years the Tokugawa Shogunate maintained that internal order and Japan's very survival required cutting off the inherently disorderly and usually uncontrollable affairs of the outside world. Westerners were not welcome, and almost no one in Europe or America had ever met a Japanese. Foreign sailors who were shipwrecked in Japanese waters were badly treated. They were captured and sent directly to the port of Nagasaki to be shipped home. Nagasaki was the only place that Europeans, mostly Dutch, were allowed to live; here they existed in primitive conditions on the small island of Dejima in Nagasaki harbor. Except for a few Chinese, who also traded at Nagasaki, and some Koreans, who came on official diplomatic missions, Japan was largely cut off from the outside world.

    For Americans – who saw the Pacific as an extension of the “Manifest Destiny” that had carried them across their own continent – relations with Japan would provide a critical link in the chain of ports they had recently forged across the Pacific. It was hoped these bases would allow them to beat the aggressive British and capture the whole of the Oriental trade. In 1842, President John Tyler announced that Hawaii was to be treated as a special U.S. reserve – warning off other powers that might seek control of the island chain. In 1844 the Treaty of Wangxia opened Chinese ports to U.S. vessels. The 1846-48 Mexican War conquest of California gave America ports along the Pacific rim, saving thousands of miles over the existing routes around Africa or South America. Japan became increasingly important as a way station along the path from California to Shanghai. The opportunity was noted by Secretary of the Treasury Robert Walker in 1848: "By our recent acquisitions in the Pacific, Asia has suddenly become our neighbor, with a placid intervening ocean inviting our steamships upon the track of a commerce greater than that of all Europe combined.” Moreover the American Church, which possessed its own "mission" ideals of "civilizing and Christianizing Asia," saw Japan as a particularly important target for its activities. Missionary societies therefore joined in lobbying Congress for an expedition to Japan.
    Although Perry played a significant role in opening up Japan with the Treaty of Kanagawa (1854), it was the British Navy that introduced curry to Japan:
    Curry was brought to Japan by the officers of the Royal Navy at the end of the 19th century: the first recipes of rice curry appear in Japanese cookbooks in 1872. Five years later, curry makes its appearance in restaurants’ menus. At the beginning it was very expensive, a luxury that only rich families could afford: curry powder was imported from Britain. It was only after the great curry powder scandal of 1931, when cheap curry was sold in place of the more expensive British variety, that people realized that they couldn’t really tell the difference between curry types, and this gave a boost to the domestic manufacturers. The Japanese curry in bars we know today made its appearance in 1954. It contains spices and concentrate mean and vegetables to enhance the flavor. In 1969 a new type of curry was introduced, the ready-to-eat curry, especially convenient as it is stored in bags that can be quickly heated in hot water.
    There's an interesting twist on how curry became a popular dish though:
    The story begins thirty years after the rapid and almost entirely peaceful Meiji Restoration which saw Japan undergo sudden and rapid modernisation, having up until that point, been a relatively isolated land ruled by a Shogan and local samurai on behalf of the Emperor. In a very short passage of time Japan managed to transition into what was for the most part, a recognisably modern, westernised state. Japan had been so successful, in fact, that in 1902 Japan and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland signed the Anglo-Japanese alliance. The alliance was renewed several times lasting until 1921. During that time the UK worked closely with Japan, in particular there was considerable cooperation between the two countries’ respective navies.

    A major part of Japan’s modernisation effort was to build up its military forces, primarily to prevent colonisation by the world’s major colonial powers, including Britain, France, America and particularly Russia, against whom Japan fought a decisive war prior to its alliance with Britain. In building up these forces Japan needed to recruit lots of young men. One major problem the Japanese military experienced though, was with recruits suffering from the disease Beriberi, which causes a variety of debilitating neurological disorders. A British trained Japanese naval doctor called Takaki Kanehiro was able to determine that the cause was a deficiency of vitamin B1 due to a diet of almost nothing but highly polished white rice the recruits tended to eat. The government needed to ensure recruits were receiving adequate vitamin B1 and the cheapest, most easily available source was wheat grain. However Japanese sailors from poor rural areas didn’t want to eat bread which they regarded as snack food or have cereals added to rice which was too reminiscent of food regarded to be the staple diet of rural peasant farmers they were familiar with back home. What the authorities needed was a way to disguise the presence of wheat in the rice.

    At around the same time, Japanese naval officers were enjoying numerous liaison dinners with their British counterparts as the two navies improved relations and exchanged tactics and technological knowhow to strengthen their new alliance. One of the foods served aboard ship was a type of curry, a curry that the British had long ago adopted from India, which for more than a century had been a major British colony, and while most cultural flow resulted from the forced implementation of British education and administration systems, the British had conversely been the recipients of a number of Indian customs including elements of Indian cuisine, prime among which, was a taste for curry.

    It wasn’t long before Japanese officers realised curry could be the answer they had been looking for and a variation on the British recipe was mixed with wheat and ultimately served with rice to the men. The men soon developed a taste for Curry Rice and when they eventually returned home they retained their affection for the dish which eventually spread throughout Japan leading to its popularity today.
    So, Japanese curry went from being a dish for the wealthy to being a way to get Navy recruits to eat wheat in their rice and from there it spread to become the popular dish that it is today.

    Side note: To answer the OP, I've come to like Japanese curry over my years here in China. Japanese restaurants in the Midwest, particularly those outside of big cities, ran heavily towards sushi and udon in the 80s and 90s. There was probably curry somewhere, but I never noticed it. Here in China though, menus in non-Chinese restaurants tend to have lots of photos and I got curious enough to try it. It wasn't *bad* but it wasn't what I expected from curry, so I looked around on the Internet to find out what was up with it. I thought the story was interesting enough that I gave it a second try and attempted to see it as Japanese food that just happens to share some ingredients with curry. That worked, and since I'm fond of tonkatsu anyway it has ended up as one of my regular dishes. It also seems to have caught on in China, House Foods' curry bars seem to be everywhere now.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by bungeebungee View Post
    I thought the story was interesting enough that I gave it a second try and attempted to see it as Japanese food that just happens to share some ingredients with curry.
    That's generally how I've seen a lot of youshoku type foods, but curry especially. It doesn't tick the same boxes as say a Thai red curry, but on its own as a vehicle for root veggies and tonkatsu with a side of tsukemono, it's hearty and delightful.
    Last edited by Cinnamilk; 2019-12-10 at 03:55 AM.

  13. #13
    The Undying Doctor Amadeus's Avatar
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    Never had curry but I don’t like Chinese food. So I’m guessing no.
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  14. #14
    It's amazing and I make an amazing Japanese curry.
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  15. #15
    Moderator Rozz's Avatar
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    It's a nice comfort food, but I'd like to try Indian curry before I pick a favorite.
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  16. #16
    Legendary! callipygoustp's Avatar
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    Can't think of a curry that I ever met that I didn't like. I do like Japanese curry but I rarely have it. Usually I go for some kind of simple fish dish when I'm at a Japanese restaurant.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Deathknightish View Post
    Imo it's even better than Indian curry, which is already amazing, and it amazes me how it hasn't gotten the international attention it deserves.

    My favourite is easily with tonkatsu, basically a deep fried pork chop without the bone.

    I really liked CoCo House during my stay in Tokyo, but my favourite place was a self-owned restaurant that specialized in curry in Shibuya.
    If you liked coco house. You should visit that king kong looking curry place in akihabara. It looks very good, i havent tried it..but definitely will next time i'm there.

    There is also chicken katsu. Which is just as good! Japanese also put things like shouga on their curry, adds to the flavor.
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  18. #18
    Merely a Setback Trassk's Avatar
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    Never had it, but it looks really nice. I'm very hot or miss about curry in general, usually gives me indigestion. But this might be worth a try.

  19. #19
    Haven't tried it but Japanese gin is the bomb.

    Roku gin <3
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  20. #20
    The Unstoppable Force Ghostpanther's Avatar
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    Not a big fan of rice. But I tried some type of Japanese chicken once and it was excellent.
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