Japan’s favorite curry chain serves up plant-based comfort food.

Between her educational and professional endeavors, our Japan-born reporter Yui Imai has spent a lot of time in Taiwan. Sometimes she gets cravings for her home country’s cuisine while she’s overseas, though, and that recently led her to visit a branch of Japanese curry restaurant chain CoCo Ichibanya in Taipei.

Like many Japanese chains that have found success in other countries, CoCo Ichi often adapts its offering to suit local tastes. With an estimated one in ten people in Taipei being vegetarian, there were a lot of meat-free options available for Yui to choose from, with both the roux and the toppings being vegetarian-friendly.

With close to a dozen pre-set types of curry rice plates to choose from, Yui gave it a lot of thought and eventually settled on the Plant-based Hamburger Curry for 255 Taiwan dollars (US$8.50).

After a short wait, a server brought Yui’s curry to her table, and it was doubly impressive to look at. Not only did it look just like the menu photo, it also looked just like a traditional made-of-meat hamburger steak.

Taking a big bite, Yui felt the distinctive soy meat flavor for a faint fraction of a second, but it soon gave way to straightforward deliciousness. What’s more, the plant-based hamburger steak was juicy and tender, with none of the crumbly dryness some people imagine when they think of meat substitutes.

The vegetarian roux can also be paired with other toppings from the CoCo Ichi menu as well, and you can even use it as the sauce for the chain’s curry rice omelets which are so popular in some Asian markets. And while the plant-based hamburger may not convince anyone to give up meat all by itself, for those who are already incorporating vegetarian meals into their diet, it’s a hearty and satisfying choice.

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]