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Japanese Curry Query

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Born and raised in Toronto, I never knew of Japanese Curry. Japanese food had always just meant sushi and udon to me. However, after living (and eating) in Asia for two years I've learnt that it encompasses a whole whole lot more. I particularly got addicted to Japanese curry, especially tonkatsu. It was readily available all over the place, and for cheap. I've been able to find curry at a few (very few) sushi restaurants in Toronto, but none of it has been very good. I once luckily happened upon a place in NYC that exclusively served Japenese curry and it was outstanding, albeit $15 a dish, however, I've never seen such a place here. Wondering if any Asian foodies out there have any suggestions for Japanese curry in Toronto.

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  1. Manpuku springs to mind as a good place for this, plus a lot of other Japanese things you won't find elsewhere.

    1. ematei, tokyo kitchen, rikishi, j-town etc...

      Go to places that specialize in cooked food instead of sushi. The problem being most people only think of Japanese food as sushi hence the glut of sushi restaurants in the city.

      1. Japanese curry Tonkatsu ? J-Town is the best in Toronto (it is in Richmond Hill/Markham), cost less than $10 CAD.

        1. I have found Japanese Curry in the package...just add to chicken,fish etc...Sanko Trading Co on Queen West at Claremont...relatives of mine lived in Japan and became hooked on this and now of course so am I...Miranda

          10 Replies
          1. re: miranda

            J-town is the place to go for 'home-cooked' curry and udon. It is located on Steeles between Woodbine and Warden. You can also buy sushi and fresh pastries there.

            1. re: miranda

              Ramen also available in a package (ie. instant noodle). It just that if you want package stuff or house-made recipe stuff. WIth that being said, most if not all of the ramen and Japanese curry you found in Toronto restaurants are made from package stuffs anyway. But if you want a piece of nice Tonkatsu to go with your curry, mostly won't be able to make it at home.

              1. re: skylineR33

                It's not that complicated to make from scratch (it just takes a while; tonkatsu is fairly easy to make at home). The curry roux bricks are what you are getting at most restaurants anyways (it takes a bit of dedicated to make a homemade curry, due to the time it takes to make one properly). I agree that the one at J-Town is probably the best I've had in Toronto.

                1. re: tjr

                  Tonkatsu is easy to make, but I just prefer the super thick one I had in a restaurant. It is not easy to control the temperature to perfection for that thickness, that's what I call a 'nice piece'. It depends on where you go, the ones I went all have their own curry recipe.

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    The ones you go to in Toronto have their own recipe? Most places are using bricks, not making it from scratch. In Japan, though, it's a different story!

                    1. re: tjr

                      No, as already mentioned in my first post, I am not aware of any. The one I mentioned in my second post are not in Toronto.

                      1. re: skylineR33

                        I should have known; just wanted to make sure.

                        1. re: tjr

                          J-town uses bricks, I'm sure. Konnichiwa is from scratc. There is another one I know of but can't remember which one. Most places in Toronto uses mix, however it's usually what else that goes in that makes the difference.

                          BTW went to Mampuku today and didn't like the curry-don that much. There was a meat choice of beef and pork. I choose the beef, it was one of those thin sliced meat that was cooked and placed on top, so the meat didn't have the curry flavour. The curry itself didn't have any body, but then again for $7 what can you expect? I prefer to pay more and get more. I'll stick to Tonkatsu curry at Ematei with fatty slice of pork.
                          Regarding Mikado? on Laird, haven't been there for a couple of years but customer can choose the spiciness of the curry when they order, found that out after eating.

                          1. re: katana750

                            I agree. I had a decent Tonkatsu curry at Ematei as well. It's kept fairly simple but great flavours. Thinking of it makes me hungry... and it's not even 10am yet.

                            1. re: katana750

                              I'd have to agree with Katana750 that Konnichiwa (on Baldwin St) is made from scratch and my Japanese co-worker (big time curry fan) and I says this is probably the best curry we've ever had in Toronto.

              2. I was also told that Mikado on Laird does it from scratch.

                1. Tokyo Grill on Yonge just north of Wellesley makes a fantastic Japanese curry, and you can get it with meat on udon or with tonkatsu on rice.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: vorpal

                    I often go to Ichiban on Spring Garden (by Yonge and Sheppard) and like their sushi. It' s nothing spectacular, but very reasonable prices and always fresh. Anyway, they have curry on the menu (a large variety of types, all served on rice), but I only tried it once, and didn't really like it. I found it quite bland, especially compared to the Indian and Thai curries that Iove. What is the difference between Japanese and other curries? What sort of spices, etc go into a true Japanese curry? Would Ichiban's curries be comparable to most other places in town? (for those who have had it there)

                    1. re: FresserGuy

                      I haven't tried the curry at Ichiban, but Japanese curry is pretty much nothing like Indian or Thai curries (though you can get authentic Indian curry in Japan, prepared by Indian chefs). Japanese curries are roux-based; they can be spicy, but they aren't really the same as you'd expect from an Indian curry. It's more like a curry gravy than an actual curry.

                      1. re: FresserGuy

                        Here's a link that explains Japanese curry style, with a bit of history and a posted recipe as well. Makes me wish we had a Go Go Curry in Toronto.

                        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/26/mag...

                        I've had the curry at that Ichiban on Spring Garden and thought it was pretty good. The cooked dishes there tend to be better than some of the other sushi joints near by. If you are interested, you should also try the curry at Ajisen noodle place a little north on Yonge. The ramen soups are ok, but the curry was better.

                        Neither of these places are as good as what you can get at J-Town. I've tried most of the commercial roux cubes and I didn't think the curry I had there tasted like them. They may be using them, but as several posters noted, you can always use the cubes and then modify to taste. I find that adding a little S & B curry powder usually increases the intensity. If you're not a fan of how thick the cubes make the curry, you can add some stock or a few cherry tomatoes and let them cook down into the sauce.

                        1. re: FresserGuy

                          I have had the curry at Ichiban on Spring Garden. It definitely hit the spot, but not outstanding. I would reorder if in the mood for Japanese curry.

                          Most recently, I had the curry at Guu. It was a special with beef tongue and udon. It was fairly good too, but I much prefer my curry with rice.

                      2. When I was in U of T, I went to Konnichiwa on Baldwin St all the time - it was homemade quality (made by a Japanese grandmother). I haven't gone there in a few years so I don't know if it's as good anymore, but give it a try!

                        http://www.gokonnichiwa.com/