Curry! Curry! Curry! – Where to eat the locals’ soul food

Curry rice

If you want to try out different kinds of food, Tokyo is the place to be. You’ll not only find excellent Japanese cuisine, but also countless kinds of local specialties as well as food from all over the world. The Japanese people just looooooooove to eat: There are magazines, TV shows and even manga – all about food. And of course you can have endless conversations on that one important topic: food.

One of my favorite Japanese dishes is curry. Yes, most of you will think of India when hearing the word curry – which is indeed where the dish originates – when curry arrived with the British about 150 years ago, it was quickly adapted and developed further until it became a staple family meals.

Curry rice

Curry rice with special pork meat and an egg at “Minami-aoyama Yasai Kichi ORIGINAL”

The most popular Japanese form of eating curry is “curry rice” (or, in Japanese pronunciation karee raisu). “Curry rice” is everywhere: it’s served for lunch in schools and you’ll find it at food courts in shopping malls, airports, highway service areas and so on. There are also restaurant chains that serve their curry with a fried chicken or pork cutlet.

At the curry restaurant

Hanging out with my friends at “Minami-aoyama Yasai Kichi ORIGINAL”. Our lunch sets included a coffee or tea

In fact when I asked my Japanese friends, what kind of dish they would take along to along to a desert island, if they only could choose one dish, many chose curry – just because “It would help me over getting homesick.”

Curries are delicious in the above-mentioned chains, but I would recommend you a more “gourmet version” of curry rice. There is a small restaurant in Minami-Aoyama called “Minami-aoyama Yasai Kichi ORIGINAL” where they serve homemade curry for lunch (11:30 – 14:00).

Entrance of "Yasai Kichi"

The entrance of the small restaurant in the middle of a quiet neighborhood

The curry they serve is made with organically grown vegetables. On top of that, with the lunch set comes a salad bar with raw veggies (again, organic) to pick your favorites from. They also serve curries with meat in them, but it’s a great place to eat out if you’re vegetarian (there’s less vegetarian restaurants in Tokyo than you may think). The curry has a soft texture, it isn’t too hot and you can definitely taste the sweetness of the veggies. Great!!

Organic vegetables buffet

Organic vegetables buffet

“Minami-aoyama Yasai Kichi ORIGINAL”
Minami Aoyama 2-10-11, Minato-ku, Tokyo
4 minutes walk from Gaien-mae station, 1b exit
Lunch:   11:30 – 14:00
Dinner:   18:00 – 22:00
(dinner is only on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday)
Closed on Sundays and national holidays

Curry pizza bread

Curry pizza bread (Shinbashi Bakery)

The next curry specialty is “curry bread” (karee pan). Curry bread is a popular snack that comes in the form of a fried (unsweetened) donut filled with Japanese curry paste. If you are in the Tokyo Tower or Azabu-juban area, make a stop at the “Shinbashi BAKERY plus Cafe” close to Akabanebashi station.

Curry bread

Curry bread is called “karee pan” in Japanese

Since they bake their bread in the bakery, it’s always fresh. You can also grab a coffee to-go or eat inside shop in their café space, where they offer different bread and cake sets depending on the time of day.

Curry bread

My curry bread was gone in seconds!

I bought a curry bread and a pizza bread made of curry flavored dough. Both were delicious! The pizza bread had a mild taste whereas the curry bread was very spicy.

Shinbashi BAKERY

The entrance of Shinbashi BAKERY. The cafe space is in the back part of the bakery

“Shinbashi BAKERY plus Cafe”
Mita 1-3-28, Minato-ku, Tokyo
3 minutes walk from Akabane station, C1 exit (on the South side of the highway)
Weekdays:   7:30 – 18:30
Saturday:   8:00 – 17:00
Closed on Sundays

Last but not least, try “curry udon” (karee udon). Udon is a type of thick wheat-flour noodle that is usually served as a soup. Udon is already great in its original form, but it get’s even better when you mix it with curry – trust me. My favorite udon restaurant specializing in curry udon is “Senkichi”.

Curry udon

Udon with “chikuwa”, made of surimi-fish, udon with a boiled egg and me with a apron! I chose the whole wheat flour udon (healthy and delicious!)

I love their curry because it has been mixed with milk to get its rich and mild taste. (If you don’t like milk, there are other options, too) When you order your udon, you’ll get some pickles and rice on the side. So when you finished the noodles, you can still mix the rest of the soup with the rice and eat it as curry rice. Two flies with one stone! It’s just perfect!

Rice and udon

Mixing the rice with the rest of the soup – sooooo good!

“Curry Udon Senkichi Omotesando-ten”
Minami-Aoyama 5-6-25, Minato-ku, Tokyo
On the left side of the famous “Spiral building”, exit B3 of Omotesando station
Open every day:   11:00 – 3am


The entrance of “Senkichi”

For me, Japan is the best place to eat curry anywhere on this planet, there is Indian and Thai curry, but also great Japanese curry which you won’t find easily anywhere outside Japan. So, as a curry lover, I feel that I actually am in curry heaven. Which type of curry is your favorite?

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I was born and raised in Kiel/Germany. When I was 16 I came to Japan for the first time. I fell in love with this beautiful country, so I returned after my university graduation. Since then, I have been living in Tokyo - and I don't plan to change anything about that ;-) My hobbies are taking a stroll around the city, taking photos and drinking coffee.

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