Curry is a national food of Japan. It’s a delicious staple meal cooked in households all across the country and each city is dotted with curry specialty stores. Of course, Japan also has an amazing selection of heat-and-eat curry selections that will take your taste buds on a wild ride without the hassle of going out to eat or making the dish yourself!
Indeed, these little packages are so popular, their sales have surpassed the sales of curry roux for the very first time in 2017! Curry first came to Japan via the United Kingdom in the Meiji area and in 1968, the first heat-and-eat curry hit the markets as “Bon Curry.” Now, 50 years later, it’s as popular as never before! But what to buy? Let’s find the top 10 heat-and-eat curries at Keio Store to explore the world of Japanese curry!
1. The Ever-popular Classic: Bon Curry Neo Medium
It’s rich and thick, hard to believe that this is a heat-and-eat curry!
Otsuka Food’s Bon Curry Neo series was released in 2009. With plenty of domestically produced onions, potatoes, and carrots, it offers a wonderful taste and aroma without any preservatives or artificial coloring. It comes in the three versions of mild, medium, and hot, with the gentle pungency of medium being the most popular. The curry is based on thoroughly stir-fried onions, enhanced by beef roasted in red wine, the gentle sweetness of carrots...plenty of vegetables go into one flavorful serving! Bon Curry is made with the same recipe since its launch in 1968, and there are seven varieties to try in total, including the Bon Curry Neo series, Gold, Grand, and The Bon Curry.
2. Spicy and Peppery: Ginza Keema Curry
A flavorful serving of keema curry on top of white rice.
Meiji’s Ginza Curry series is a delicious revival of the original Ginza Curry of 1930. Back then, the company created six curry varieties under the concept of “satisfying the longing for Ginza curry” – at that time, only the rich could afford to eat curry in the upscale district of Ginza. Especially recommended is Ginza Keema, featuring a spicy, peppery roux that goes outstandingly well with the minced meat. This meat boasts the fragrance of a special twice-boiled bouillon while the onions bring a subtle sweetness to the mix. The taste is nonetheless refreshing and deep, and we especially recommend eating it with some egg yolk or a fried egg on top of the curry!
3. Mild Coconut and Pungent Spices: Thai-style Green Curry
With plenty of chicken, bamboo shoots, eggplant, and red peppers!
The Spice Resort series by major Japanese company S&B Foods is, as its name suggests, curry all about spices and herbs. Among the four varieties of the series, especially the Thai-style Green Curry stands out as especially delicious and thus popular. The exotic dish has a creamy yet spicy finish, thanks to coconut milk and generous use of red peppers. Compared to Southeast Asia and South India, Japanese curry has evolved into its own unique cuisine with a mild taste, but authentically spicy delicacies such as these ones are nonetheless found throughout the country.
4. Chunky Veggies: Indian Curry Vegetable
A rich vegetable curry with the delicious taste of tomato and pumpkin.
Nakamuraya is a restaurant operating since 1901 that has always been especially famous for its Indian-style curry. Today, you can savor their delicacies at home with the Indian Curry series. This heat-and-eat curry boasts an original blend of spices and ingredients, brought to perfection with cooking techniques that have been refined since 1927. That led to eight different curry varieties, of which we especially love the Vegetable one. Tomatoes and the aforementioned original spice blend is added to thoroughly fried onions for the base, while chunky cuts of veggies such as pumpkin, carrots, beans make this a vegetarian’s delight!
5. Kids’ Favorite: Pokémon Curry Pork & Corn
The sweet, corn-infused roux makes this curry 100% kid-friendly!
Heat-and-eat curry companies are known for their pop culture packages, enlisting characters from Pretty Cure, Kamen Rider, and Despicable Me’s minions to adorn their products!
Marumiya is one of them, a company not only famous for its curry but also for its seasonings and microwave food. Their Pokémon curry features wonderfully tender pork and corn as the two main ingredients but is also enhanced with plenty of potatoes, carrots, and onions. It’s incredibly mild and thus a prime choice for curry-loving kids’ lunch boxes! As an extra goodie, each box comes with glittering stickers of Pokémon, 40 varieties in total, so this is also a fun souvenir for Pokémon fans at home!
6. Five Varieties for a Reasonable Price: Bon Curry Gold Medium
The “three-layered circle of deliciousness” graces the packaging since the curry’s first release.
The Bon Curry Gold series was first released in 1978, featuring a luxurious selection of spices and fruits adapted to the changing palate of Japanese people. Its unchanging taste is loved by young and old even nowadays. Since the time of its launch, the “three-layered circle of deliciousness” is drawn in red and yellow on the packaging, an eyecatcher even nowadays. Mild, medium, spicy, extra spicy, and Mori no demi-glace curry are the five varieties of the Bon Curry Gold series. Especially medium is popular with its rich onion-based roux and deep beef flavor. Simply open the lid and pop the curry in the microwave – all done!
7. The Rich Flavor of a Long-Established Hotel: The Hotel Curry, Rich Medium
The packaging alone looks rather high-class.
The Hotel Curry series is a luxurious line of products by House Foods that brings the taste of a dish you’d enjoy at a long-established hotel – Vermont Curry is a prominent example. There are four medium varieties in total: Rich, Aroma, Mellow, and Thick. All of them are beef curry with a carefully made bouillon, onions, and a smooth sauce infused with curry powder. The company has also opened a curry restaurant in the United States and focuses on expansion in China in recent years.
8. The Authentic Pungency of Spices: Beef Curry Lee Spiciness x20
The flame-bordered logo already hints at this curry’s spiciness.
The LEE series by Glico is known for its spiciness and dates back to 1986, focusing on authentic “European curry.” The name is said to come from the last syllable of “beef curry,” turning “ry” into LEE, while another reason is that this curry will have people yell karaiii! (“spicy!”).
The spiciness indication is set by the amount of spicy ingredients in the curry sauce, such as chili and pepper. The current LEE curry lineup features products with a spiciness of x20, x10, x5 black curry, and so on, four creations in total. This is the perfect choice for everyone who likes it hot.
9. Celebrating the Taste of 50 Years: Bon Curry 50 Medium (Otsuka Foods, 208 yen excluding tax)
The 50th anniversary package has the same design as the very first one.
Otsuka Food’s Bon Curry 50 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the initial launch, just released in 2018. While remembering the nostalgic taste of the time, the amount of vegetables and meat has been increased to cater to a contemporary palate. As this heat-and-eat curry was developed, it came in a vacuum pack that was used for the portable meals of the US military. This aluminum pouch keeps food for a long time at room temperature, without the need for preservatives. The Bon Curry is a popular long-seller that is loved by several generations of Japanese people, achieving a total of 3 billion sold curry packs in the past 50 years.
10. Great Quality, Great Price: Karī-ya Curry Medium (House, 100 yen tax excluded)
Karī-ya Curry is the No. 1 top-selling heat-to-eat curry in all of Japan.
Karī-ya Curry by House tickles your taste buds with an authentic taste like that of a curry specialty store, blending 29 different spices and extracting their rich flavor and aroma. It doesn’t only come in the standard varieties of mild, medium, and spicy, but features ten varieties in total, such as rich demi-glace or aromatic masala. Compared to the products of other companies, these curries are surprisingly cheap, making a journey through the world of curry a rather reasonably priced experience. Since 2012, this series has stopped using milk and egg, making it a great choice for people with allergies.
Keio Store is a supermarket chain that is all about the daily life around Keio Electric Railway’s lines. As of right now, there are 33 individual stores including the affiliates Kitchen Court and Keio Store Express, all of them loved by the locals. We hunted for the best heat-to-eat curry specialties at the Sakuragaoka Store, right next to Sakuragaoka Station, and also recommend its other diverse product selection, ranging from fresh foods to alcohol and miscellaneous goods. Women are the main customers during the day while office workers crowd the shop in the evening.
Keio Store (Sakuragaoka)京王ストア 桜ケ丘店
- Address 〒206-0011 東京都多摩市関戸1-11-1 / 1-11-1 Sekido, Tama-shi, Tokyo, 206-0011, Japan
Seiseki-sakuragaoka Station (Keio Line), right next to the station
- Phone Number 042-337-2511
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. (2F is open until 9:00 p.m.)
Closed: January 1, irregularly twice a year
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