Curry based on Japanese military rations is a lot better than it sounds!

All-you-can-eat curry isn’t that hard to find in Japan. In fact, we’ve been to two restaurants that offer it already: one that primarily served all-you-can-eat yakiniku as well as one that also offered unlimited udon. But truth be told, most of the places out there that offer all-you-can-eat curry simply provide it as a side option, and the curry they serve feels like it comes out of ready-made pouches. As (self-)certified food connoisseurs, this doesn’t suit our sophisticated palates, so we at SoraNews24 have yet to find a place that truly knocks our socks off.

Until now.

Our own Chief Restaurant Tester Mr. Sato discovered an amazing curry buffet in the bayside town of Yokosuka, about an hour south of downtown Tokyo, which is host to Navy bases of both the Japanese and U.S. maritime forces. Despite being a buffet, this restaurant serves really high-quality curry, so if you’ve ever felt disappointed by the curry offered at a buffet, he’s telling you now: Go try this place!!

The restaurant is called Yokosuka Kaigun Curry Main Branch Bayside Kitchen, with “Kaigun” meaning “Navy”. The Naval theme of this restaurant is strong; the outside is super cool and looks like a naval destroyer, and the inside even has a large-scale model of a Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) submarine on display. It’s a brand-new restaurant that just opened on October 23 on the first floor of Yokosuka’s new bayside shopping center, Coaska Bayside Stores.

Beware, though; there’s a ”Main Branch (honpo 本舗)” and an “Original Branch (honten 本店)” of Yokosuka Kaigun Curry, but the honten branch doesn’t offer all-you-can-eat curry, so don’t go there by mistake (like Mr. Sato initially did…) if you want to eat from the buffet.

At the honpo restaurant, you get 90 minutes to eat as much curry as you want, and it costs 1,980 yen (US$19) for adults, 1,280 yen for junior high and high school students, and 680 yen for kids in elementary school. Kids under four eat free.

When Mr. Sato went to visit, they had four different types of curry available: Yokosuka Kaigun Curry (“Navy Curry”), Yokosuka Kaiji Curry (“Maritime Self-Defense Force Curry”), Tokyo Ongakutai Chicken Curry (“Band Chicken Curry”), and Bayside Kitchen’s “Adult Keema Curry”.

A buffet of fried toppings, like “Soraage” fried chicken, as well as salads and vegetable sides were also available, and for dessert, there were delightful treats like “Port Entry Zenzai” sweet bean soup.

Naturally there was also a drink bar with free refills, and, of course, an ice cream machine.

Mr. Sato felt overwhelmed by the choices and had a hard time deciding what to eat, but eventually he settled on starting with the Tokyo Band Chicken Curry. For his toppings, he chose two kinds of fried chicken: the “Seaweed Soraage” fried chicken, which is apparently based on a recipe original to the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) base at Matsushima; and the  “Shin-komatsu Base Kuji Soraage” fried chicken, based on a recipe from the JASDF base at Komatsu. For good measure, he also added some onion rings, sautéed spinach, a small salad, and some zenzai. All for round one.

At first bite, this curry was sweet on the tongue, and full of the tasty aroma of chicken. The spices and kick come in after, and the lingering flavor of it stirred Mr. Sato’s appetite, making him take bite after bite. This was the kind of curry that could easily become a favorite, he felt.

Fellow reporter Seiji Nakazawa, who came along for the ride, selected the Navy Curry for his first round, which is apparently based on a recipe found in the Naval Cooking Manual of the Meiji-era Imperial Navy.

This curry is quite mild, safe for kids and people who don’t like spicy food. It’s also chock full of vegetables like carrots and onions, making this a hearty meal sure to give you energy to get through the day.

For his second helping, Mr. Sato chose the Maritime Self-Defense Force Curry. This curry is a faithful concoction based on one of the recipes created by the head chefs of the JMSDF warships, distributed by the JMSDF Yokosuka Regional Commissioner. 16 different curry shops in Yokosuka have different Kaiji Curry recipes; at this restaurant, they serve a pork curry derived from a recipe made by the chef of the minesweeper ship, Hachijo.

In addition to having tasty cubes of pork, this curry is also made with cheese and demi-glace sauce, making it a very thick curry with a strong pork flavor. It had a dynamic flavor that you could never get tired of eating. Compared to the other two options, this curry had a much greater depth of flavor.

By then Mr. Sato had eaten too much and was already close to bursting, so unfortunately, he didn’t have the chance to try the Adult Keema, even though he still had an hour left to eat. But even so, he was still very impressed by the quality of the curry available at this buffet. Each one had a high-level flavor; to be honest, at this standard, he’d have been happy even if they’d only served one kind of curry. The fact that they had as many as four makes this one of the best curry buffets you can find!

So if you like Japanese style curry, don’t hesitate to check this place out. Of course, for everyone’s safety they do require you to sanitize your hands when you enter and undergo a temperature test before you can sit down. And don’t forget to wear a mask when you go to the buffet….that way everyone can continue to enjoy 90 minutes of all the curry they want!

Restaurant information
Yokosuka Kaigun Curry Main Branch Bayside Kitchen / 横須賀海軍カレー本舗 ベイサイドキッチン
Address: Kanagawa-ken Yokosuka-shi Honcho 2-1-12 Coaska Bayside Stores 1F
Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

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