Japanese curry (カレー, karē) is a dish that is hugely popular in Japan. It is readily available at various restaurants, and many households cook it at home too. As the curry is usually served with rice, you would hear the term “curry rice” (カレーライス, karē raisu) mentioned often.
What is it?
The usual ingredients added in Japanese curry include potatoes, carrots, onions and meat. The sauce itself is usually made from curry powder or roux, which is a of a blend of basic Indian spices. The typical Japanese curry is thicker in texture and tastes sweeter but less spicy than its Indian counterpart.
The meat of choice is more often pork or beef, differing from Indian curry in which chicken or mutton is usually used. It has been observed that pork is the most popular meat for curry in eastern Japan while beef is more common in western Japan.
A very common variation of Japanese curry is katsu kare (カツカレー), which is a dish of regular Japanese curry rice plus a piece of tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) put on top.
Where to find it?
Establishments serving Japanese curry are ubiquitous all over Japan. There are specialized curry restaurants, often found around train stations and business districts. Family restaurants, tourist cafeterias and shokudo (Japanese restaurants serving a wide variety of dishes) also typically have Japanese curry on their menus.
How to eat it?
Japanese curry is usually eaten with a large Western style spoon. It is often accompanied with a garnish of fukujinzuke (a slightly sweet mix of pickles) or rakkyo (pickled Japanese scallion).