Japanese Curry

Today’s dinner is Japanese style curry and rice at Coco Ichibankan.

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Curry and rice became popular in Japan since it was adopted in the Emperial Navy’s menu, in early 20th century.

Curry, not only stays good for days, but also contains a lot of vitame B1.

So it has preventive effect against beriberi disease, that was raging in the navy.

Soldiers back home missed curry and taught their wives how to cook it.

In the early stage, Japanese curry powder market was monopolized in fact by C & B co.Ltd, a British company.

But in 1923, a domestic company(current S & B Foods) first succeeded in manufacturing quality curry powder.

It was the dawn of Japanese style curry.

In the past over a century of history, this spicy food originated in India has so deeply permeated in Japanese eating habits.

And starting from the British style, we have developped our own style with rich variation.

These days, you can have curry everywhere in Japan.

Majority of coffee shops and restaurants has curry on their menu list.

There are many speciality chain shops, too.

Coco-Ichi (an abbriviation for Coco Ichibankan) is one of the most successful curry chains.

I had dinner at one of its over 1,400 shops. (photo below)

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Why Curry in Japan?

Few foreigners know how curry rice is popular in Japan.

It is one of standard foods of Japanese domestic cuisine, and mothers usually cook curry more often than once a month for their kids.

There are many curry speciality restaurants in towns.

Almost every coffee shop has curry on its menu, unless it is one that serves only drinks.

Japanese standard curry is British style, but Indian style restaurants are also popular these days.

Most Indian style curry shops are run by Indians or Nepalis.

The photo below is Mutton Masala and plain Nan of  ‘Taj Mahal Everest’, a Nepali-Indian restaurant in the northern district of Kyoto City.

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This agreeable Nepali cook is a hard worker, and he hands out flyers at the nearby subway station when he does not work in the kitchen.

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Inside the restaurant, you will see signs of language cocktail, — Hindi, Nepali, English and Japanese.

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‘Taj Mahal Everest’ is located in a quiet residential area near Kitayama Street.

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Where can you find the best burger?

In the United States, the best hamburgers are found only in unsung small restaurants, and never in big chains like McDonald’s.

This law is true in Japan, too.

‘The Burger Company’ is situated in Kitayama district of Kyoto City, a tranquil residential area.

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Here you can have quality burgers with rich juicy meat and good bread.

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In Japan, root beer is not popular like Coke or giger ale.
Only a few Restaurants and cafes  have root beers on their menus.
But, here you can order Dr. Pepper and A/W.

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Today, my dinner is pepper burger and Dr. Pepper.

You can see the kitchen right beyond the counter.

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When you get a little tired of unfamiliar Japanese food,. you should visit this place.

It’s Takoyaki Time!

Takoyaki(octopus dumpling) is local fast food especially popular in western Japan.

It is roasted flour cake balls with octopus meat inside, served usually with Worcester sauce, mayonnaise, dried bonito shavings and dried sea weed powder.

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Most Takoyaki places are pap-mom shops, but there are some exceptions.

The photo below is a shop of Tsukiji Gindako, one of leading Takoyaki chain restaurants.

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You can see their kitchen from the street.

This must be something new and fun for foreigners.

Chinese Lunch at Osho

Today’s lunch is at Osho, .one of the most successful Chinese-style chain restaurants  in Japan.

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Chinese cuisine is very popular among Japanese, and you will find several restaurants even in the smallest town.

On such firm demand, Osho has established its success with more than 700 shops deployed all over Japan.

Here at Osho, the price  is reasonable and the quality of foods is very good for the price.

The most popular menu  is Gyoza(picture below), roasted dumplings, and you never can beat it!

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Osho is worthy of its brand name that means the king piece of Shougi, or Japanese chess.

Anyway, I am satisfied with tasty gyoza of full garlic flavor.

Soba with herring

Today’s dinner is Soba.

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Soba(brown noodle made of buck wheat flour) is the most pupular traditional noodle in Japan along with Udon(white noodle made of wheat flour) .

Soba is served both single and with cooked food such as tempura or age(fried soy curd).

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Today, I ordered Soba with cooked herring that is famous as Kyoto speciality soba.(picture above)

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“Yoshimura” is a stylish Soba restaurant located in the northern district of Kyoto City.

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This restaurant is new one just started last year, but adopts a lot of traditional architectural design.

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Across the cash desk, you see the open noodle factory through window, and this is very unusual and interesting.

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In Japan, not a few middle aged men are fascinated by making Soba noodle.

They go to school and learn how to make Soba noodle with brown flour, and open their own restaurants after retirement.

I just don’t understand what is so fascinating about manufacturing Soba noodle.

I prefer being a customer to being a Soba cook.