The Origin of Japanese Curry Rice
Since you are reading this, you must be a fan of Japanese curry rice– but do you know when and how it was invented?
Back in the 19th Century, Japan had been in a state of national isolation for over 250 years. What that means is that the country could not do any import/export business with other countries except China and the Netherlands. That situation was finally broken in 1858 after long negotiations between Japan and the US, which was incited by the arrival of so-called “kurofune”, the US fleets led by Commodore Perry in 1853. Accordingly, the modernization of Japan began . Japanese people avidly imported aspects of western culture, and one of these was curry.
During that time, Japanese chefs learned how to make lots of western dishes and transformed them into something new and fitting to Japanese food culture. Take curry as an example. The curry dish they imported was different in taste and thickness from the one we enjoy now. Since Japanese love umami flavor that comes from dashi, chefs figured out ways to add more umami that they extracted from various ingredients to make a more savory curry dish. Also, Japanese rice is very sticky and fluffy, and the western curry’s thin texture didn’t go with it. So, chefs again created a thick-texture curry sauce that could coat each grain of Japanese rice. Thus they had the prototype of Japanese curry rice!
But this is not the end of Japanese curry history. Next time, I’d like to talk how the Western-inspired dish spread throughout Japan and became one of the most loved Japanese comfort foods. Until then, have fun and stay genki!
If you are considering owning a Japanese restaurant, please feel free to contact us. Go! Go! Curry! is happy to team up with you.
About The Author:
Tomoko Omori was born and raised in Japan. She came to the USA alone to become an actress, where she received an AA degree from college majoring in Drama. She received a scholarship to study music at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC.
After working for TV broadcasting and a publishing company, today, Tomoko is the CEO of Go! Go! Curry! America, a grab-and-go Japanese comfort food restaurant franchise. There are over 75 locations in Japan, and 11 in the USA. She says, “Our mission is to serve our tasty curry nationwide in the USA and Canada to enrich the lives of our customers, employees, franchise owners and the communities we serve. Our vision is to create millions of satisfied customers, contented tummies and miles and miles of smiles for everyone!” Tomoko received the Nikkei BP Woman of the year award in 2015.