When I think about introducing Japanese food to North America, I always wonder why curry-pan is not here yet, in a major way. Most of the street-styled Japanese food, such as ramen, karaage, okonomiyaki, takoyaki have similar attributes. It contains high fat, strong UMAMI and sometimes it is rich in carbohydrates. Curry-pan includes this, but it hasn't been introduced enough in North America. I only know of one place where I can get authentic curry-pan, and that's J-town in Markham. I ate many curry-pans while in Tokyo, and I wanted to share some pictures of it.
Curry-pan means curry bread in Japanese. Bread is called "pan", a name which originated from Portugal.
To explain curry-pan, I need to explain Japanese curry. Did you know Japanese curry is a thing? Like so many foods in Japan, it was introduced by overseas culture, but developed into it's own thing overtime. Japanese curry is served with Japonica rice, so it's called curry-rice. Comparing it to Indian curry, it is thicker and contains a lot of UMAMI. All food become UMAMI rich in Japan.
Curry-rice was introduced by the British navy as a meal in the battleship during the Meiji-era, and it became a popular comfort food in Japan. I love it so much from childhood that whenever my mom asked me, "What would you like to eat for your birthday?", the answer was always curry-rice and watermelon.
So, curry-pan is fried bread with Japanese curry inside. It has crunchiness from fried bread, and spices and UMAMI from the Japanese curry. It's hard resisting the curry-bread! Especially the ones that are fried, they're just amazing.
You can find it in any convenience store or supermarket in Japan, and it's quite cheap. For example, this one from Seven Eleven is just 120yen ($1.50 CAD).
The really good curry-pan are the ones which are fresh. So I visited 天馬 青山店(Temma Aoyama). They're a curry store, but also sells curry-pan.
It was really popular and there was a line.
Temma Aoyama: 3-8-40 Minamiaoyama 1F Aoyama Center Bldg., Minato 107-0062 Tokyo Prefecture
It's sold like this on the counter. They have several flavours and it costs 250yen ($3.12 CAD) per curry-pan.
This is curry-pan with beef curry.
This is curry-pan with mozzarella cheese.
Both of them were fresh, and it was really good.
The second store I went to was Bakurry in the Shibuya scramble square. It sounds like it's not a permanent shop, but they have several stores in Tokyo.
This is Yaki-Curry-pan. Instead of deep frying it, it is baked. This one contains a soft boiled egg in it.
The pamphlet says, "Put water on the bread and toast it until it gets crispy".
*What??....Ok...I will try.*
So I did it.
And put it in the toaster.
And this is the result. It did get crunchy, but it also got so thin...Maybe I didn't do it right.
Overall it was tasty, but I still prefer the fried ones even though baked ones are healthier.
So, this is the end of my curry-pan experience in Tokyo 2020. Since it's still hard travelling to Japan, I am hoping some talented entrepreneur will make really good curry-pan business in Toronto in the near future!