One of the staple meals in Japan is curry-rice, which is the perfect go-to dish for convenience, thanks to the popular curry cubes that are so widely available. However, for curry lovers who feel that even making curry from an instant curry cubes is to much trouble, the easiest and the best way to enjoy tasty curry is the iconic retort pouch curry. First introduced in Japan in the 50s, the retort pouch is the most convenient option for curry lovers. Simply drop the sealed pouch in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes and voila! You have instant feast, ready to eat in minutes!
1. Convenient Ready to Eat Meals
The retort pouches are extremely popular with young singles, and working class people who live by themselves. After a hard day’s work, it is the most satisfying feeling to come home and enjoy nice hot comfort food within minutes, without worrying too much about cooking or cleaning up. And the pre-packed meal portions in these plastic pouches are perfect for the Japanese, who hate to waste food (or anything else).
2. Curry is Serious Matter
The Japanese take their curry seriously, and contrary to popular opinion, many Japanese have curry rice more than sushi and Ramen noodles. It is said that the Japanese eat curry rice out of a retort packet almost twice a week. No wonder then, that almost everybody has their own personal favourites when it comes to instant curry packets, depending on the flavour of the curry, the spice levels and sometimes, even the nutritional value. And of course, the price!
3. Which Curry Should I Try?
With so many brands of curry to choose from, it becomes difficult for new curry lovers to choose which is the best retort curry to try. In order to help newbies explore the wonderful world of Japanese curry, I have listed down my top 5 personal favourite curry packets. This is not a comprehensive list, but only a short list of my personal favourites, among the ones I have eaten. The curries that have made it to my list have all passed my two criteria : how flavourful the curry tastes and how costly it is. So, here is my Top 5 Retort Curry List
4. Heinz Beef Curry
This beef curry has a nice flavour of vegetables and tomatoes, and goes well with rice. It is a nice thick gravy, with a good amount of beef pieces. Sometimes, I like to add a few more chopped vegetables to the gravy, just to give it an extra twist. It is quite cheap, and for the price is a very good choice.
5. Lawson Select Premium Beef Curry
Lawson’s Select Beef Curry is flavoured by a mix of 24 different spices, and fruits making it a perfect combination of slightly sweet, slightly spicy curry. It has a nice complex flavour, and good amount of meat in the curry, so you can truly enjoy the beef cubes along with the rice and the curry. It is slightly expensive, around 500 yen, but when compared to some of the bland curry served in restaurants, I think it’s definitely worth it.
6. Muji Fond de Veau Beef Curry
素材を生かした フォン・ド・ボーのビーフカレー １８０ｇ（１人前） | 無印良品ネットストア
This is a French style curry, wonderfully flavoured with veal and beef bones. The curry is rich, creamy and scrumptious, with a natural fruity sweetness that balances the complex flavours perfectly. Thanks to its fruity flavour, it is not too spicy, but it is very tasty nonetheless.
7. Seven Eleven Gold Beef Curry
The pouch says that it contains beef, with four different kinds of grated and stewed vegetables. And there is no surprise about that. The curry is thick and has an amazing veggie flavour, which is refreshing and not something you would expect in a retort beef curry. The curry balances the richness of the beef with the sweetness of the vegetables quite well, and this is what gives this curry a unique flavour. It is slightly more expensive than the other curries, but for an occasional treat, this is the perfect choice.
8. Meiji Ginza Curry
The Meiji Ginza Curry is a premium curry that brings back the taste of the curry served in the Ginza region of Tokyo served in the 1930s. It is very complex in flavour, and has almost 30 different types of spices to give it a refreshing flavour and aroma. The pouch is packed with generous helping of beef and onions. This old-styled curry is so good, that if you are not careful, you may just get addicted to eating this curry on a regular basis.
I love curry tremendously, but even I cannot think of eating almost every type of curry variations that are available. So, this is a fairly short list of my personal favourites. But, you can use this list as a starting point, and then dive in to the amazing world of curry, and find your own personal favourite! Go on, and explore!
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