I laughed many times seeing curries sold in Japan as “European curry.” What a ridiculous idea, like a Swedish taco. I later learned that this term refers to the original curry in Japan, imported by way of Britain during the Meiji period. You can find it in many nostalgic 1970s style “western” restaurants that are distinctly Japanese, and it’s also evolved into many supermarket take-home mixes and fast food joints. The Muji label makes this comfort food seem somehow modern and new. This one scores just 3 out of 5 chiles, and is beef based.
And now for some Western spirituality. This video was noted by both Dan Savage and Joe.My.God. Dan taunts, “Bill Donahue! To the Batshit Mobile!” But I am not sure Catholic extremists care about salt-n-soda makers the way they care about the gays.
I don’t often post photos of food, but I liked the presentation of both these meals. And they are oddly different and alike. Above is sanma (さんま), a fish dish at Hinaya, our favorite izakaya in Nakano. Served whole, the fish was delicious with a simple lime and radish garnish. The fish is translated into English as “saury.”
At the bottom is a hamburger lunch at a Ginza restaurant that specializes in “Western-style” food, or youshoku (洋食). Youshoku are dishes that any post-war Japanese instantly associates with foreigners, yet they are so thoroughly Japan-icized so that they become simultaneously familiar and exotic to us foreigners.
Note that the hamburger is served without a bun, one perfect watercress garnishes the baked potato, the mustard has its own ceramic holder, and the whole meal is served on a cast iron pan. But the best part is the soy sauce in the white dish, which is meant to be combined with the grated radish and green onion as a dipping sauce.
I was also reminded of the difference between regular “rice”– called gohan (ご飯)– and “ra-i-su” (ライス). The same substance but the former is in a bowl, while the latter is flattened out on a plate, and considered more Western-style.