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Japan’s Take on Curry

Ewa Nowogorski

Curry is one of those things that Japan borrowed from another country and made even better. With literally thousands of different instant curry mixes and rouxs, and hundreds of different curry house chains across Japan, curry is easily one of Japan’s favorite foods. And it goes perfectly with rice, the staple that Japanese people consume more than any other one food.

Curry doesn’t stop with just rice though. There is also curry soba, curry udon, and curry bread, and curry became a more consumed meal than sushi or tempura by 2000.

Common ingredients added to Japanese style curry are some kind of meat, carrot, onion, and potato. In fact, it’s very common to walk inside a grocery store and find a pre packed “curry” bag in the produce aisle with carrot, onion and potato ready to be chopped and added to a small family-sized portion of curry. It’s an easy dish that is hard to mess up.

I remember my first experience with Japanese style curry. I was in an Asian grocery store near my home in New York, and I noticed boxes of curry roux in an aisle. I got excited because of the Japanese writing and decided to try it out. Adding some random vegetables into a pot of boiling water and finishing it off with the roux, I quickly fell in love. Who knew that such a small cube could pack such a punch. It’s no wonder that curry roux in Japan today are over an 80 billion yen industry.

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