New topping can be had with vegan or meat-based roux.

There’s a lot to love about CoCo Ichibanya, Japan’s favorite chain of curry rice restaurants. One of the best, though, is the huge variety of toppings they offer, with dozens of tasty and filling options to choose from.

That doesn’t mean CoCo Ichi is out of ideas, though, and this month they added a brand-new offering to their menu: vegan hamburger steak.

Since March 1, CoCo Ichi has been serving soybean-based meat hamburger steaks, or daizu meat hamburg, if you’re ordering in Japanese. They can be ordered with any kind of roux, but the chain especially recommends them for customers getting CoCo Ichi’s vegetraian curry, which is made with no animal-based ingredients, so that’s what we ordered.

We also added a regular hamburger steak side order, so that we could compare the soy meat to its original inspiration. In the above photo, the soy meat hamburger steak is the one on the left, and while you can tell the difference if you’re looking at them side by side, the soy meat is still pretty tasty-looking, and the visual gap was even smaller when looking at the cross sections.

▼ Soy meat hamburger steak (left) and regular meat (right)

For example, this mouth-watering morsel…

…is, in fact, the soy meat.

Taste-testing was handled by our Japanese-language reporter Takashi Harada, who started off with a bite of each hamburger steak by themselves. In terms of texture, the two are remarkably close, as even the soy meat has the proper density and weight to it. However, it doesn’t match the real meat in terms of juiciness, and the difference was big enough that Takashi noticed it right away.


…CoCo Ichi’s soy meat hamburger steak has a curry rice topping, which means you’re not going to be eating it by itself. The curry roux made the juiciness gap between the soy and regular meat a non-issue, and when he had the full team of rice, roux, and topping all in the same spoonful, the collaborative mixture of flavors made the soy hamburger pretty close to indistinguishable from the standard meat one.

“Honestly, if I went to CoCo Ichi and they told me that all they had was the soy version, I’d be OK with that,” says Takashi, and we can’t help but wonder if he’d be even more ready for a repeat meal if he’d remembered to use the special CoCo Ichi curry spoon.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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