A unique store filled with curries from around the country, featuring unusual local ingredients.

Japanese curry is one of our favourite meals, and one of the best ways to try a wide variety of them is with convenient retort curry packs.

Retort curry refers to prepared curries, which are sold in pouches that simply need to be popped in boiling water for a while to heat them. There are thousands of different types to be found around Japan, and nobody knows them better than Sanae Inomata, the representative director of the local retort curry association, who also runs a retort curry specialty store called Curry Land.

Located in Tokyo’s Asakusa district, Curry Land is a must-visit destination for Japanese curry fans, as it’s stocked with a huge range of unusual curries sourced from all around the country. Inside the store, the products are all organised by region, making it easy to pick and choose your preferred style, with different regions known for different specialties.

▼ These shelves contain packs from regions in and around Western Japan

▼ While these shelves are dedicated to varieties from Hokkaido, and the Tohoku and Kanto regions.

When we visited Curry Land, we wanted to buy everything in the store, as there were a lot of unusual options here you generally won’t find outside of their respective regions. However, after speaking with Inomata, who’s eaten over 2,500 retort curries nationwide, we ended up walking away with only one special curry, as it came highly recommended by the curry connoisseur.

“I heard your reporter Seiji Nakazawa likes big chunks of meat so I definitely want to recommend this one!!”

As it turns out, Inomata had read our recent article where Seiji reviewed Curryland’s original curry and commented on his preference for big chunks of meat. Inomata told us that this gorgeous-looking box of curry with a dragon printed on it was a chunky meat lover’s dream, so we wasted no time in purchasing it and taking it back to the office to see if it met with Seiji’s approval.

▼ The “Tropical Dragon Curry” 1,650 yen (US$14.97) hails from Tottori’s Akamaru Beef Shop, which is famous for Tottori Wagyu beef.

Tottori Prefecture is so famous for beef it’s been dubbed “the Japanese beef kingdom“, and the wagyu bred here belongs to the Kedaka bloodline, one of the country’s oldest and most famous breeds. Seiji nodded in approval when he saw that the wagyu in this curry amounted to half the weight of the total package, but the real proof would be in the tasting.

▼ Once he’d prepared the meal, it looked like this would be a curry to remember.

The first thing Seiji noticed were the two big chunks of meat that popped out of the bag. His eyes opened wide with delight, but then they narrowed as he put on his taste-testing hat and squinted to assess the details.

▼ Just because the meat is large and chunky, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be soft and delicious.

Dipping his spoon into the mix, Seiji found that the meat really was thicker than any he’d ever seen in a retort curry, and he was incredibly impressed to find it gave way with the slightest of nudges, due to its meltingly soft texture.

Lifting a hunk of meat to his mouth, Seiji found it had a softness beyond his imagination. This was as soft as a marshmallow, if a marshmallow tasted like meat and was covered in gravy.

▼ There was a lot of it too, as the 300-gram (10.5-ounce) curry contains 150 grams of Tottori wagyu beef.

While the beef was melt-in-the-mouth fantastic, it wasn’t the only star of the meal, as the curry itself was absolutely delicious. The sauce was rich and mellow, and it also contained dragon fruit for added sweetness, with the seeds from the fruit visible in every mouthful.

▼ It’s not every day you get to enjoy a perfectly well-balanced curry with super soft, expensive wagyu and a hint of dragon fruit.

Seiji was grateful for the curry connoisseur’s recommendation, as this was an unforgettable curry experience that his taste buds will remember for a long time. Kind of like that time he drank curry bread cider. Only this time, it’s an experience he’s eager to have again.

Store information
Curryland / カレーランド
Address: Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Nishi Asakusa 2-24-7
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. (Closed Tuesdays)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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