Curry Cuisine and Food Diversity in Japan
It has been almost a year and a half we started with the idea of GoCurry as a platform that lets users explore the richness and diversity of curry cuisine. While our goal is to make this platform popular worldwide, we chose Japan as our beachhead since the team members are based in Japan, and curry cuisine is gaining a lot of popularity over the last few years.
I had a chance to talk to a lot of people about GoCurry and got a number of comments, opinions, and questions. I want to highlight some of these through this article as well as present my opinions.
Question: Why is the service named “GoCurry”? Indian food is not just curry — you should change the name to something that clears this myth among non-Indians!
My Answer: Agreed that “curry” is a term coined by Britishers as an umbrella term for South Asian cuisine. Also, I understand the sentiments of some people that curry is connected to British imperialism. However, curry today is no longer just South Asian cuisine. Different regions and countries across the globe have adopted curry cuisine in their own form. For example, Japan has its own curry dishes, like the Hakkoido originated Soup Curry, with comes with large chunks of vegetables and meat, in a spicy soupy broth or the Katsu curry, popular in the Kansai area. Similarly, there is a European-style curry that has a thick texture and is usually served with a boiled potato and bread. At GoCurry, our goal is to promote the diversity of curry cuisine, which today has taken its own form in almost all parts of the world.
Question: What do you mean by “curry cuisine” and how do you decide if something is “curry cuisine”?
My Answer: It is difficult to define “curry cuisine” since it doesn’t have any formal definition. At GoCurry, we consider dishes with spices (such as turmeric, fennel, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, red chilies, green chilies, mustard seeds) as the main ingredients related to curry cuisine.
Question: What do you mean by “diversity of curry cuisine”?
My Answer: As I mentioned above, curry cuisine, though said to be originated in South Asia, has taken many new forms in different parts of the world. From complex curries of Thailand; the exuberant curry/rotis of the Caribbean; kari/raisu, Japan’s favorite comfort food; Indonesian gulais and rendang; Malaysia’s delicious Nonya cuisine; and exotic Western hybrids such as American curried chicken salad, German currywurst, and Punjabi-Mexican-Hindu pizza, curry is a worldwide cuisine now.
At the same time, we have different dietary styles depending on one’s religion, personal and health preferences. This is very well described in this blog by Chef Braakman
Through GoCurry we wish to help our users explore the diversity of curry cuisine, in culture and dietary preferences.
Question: So your target customers must be foreigners living in Japan?
My Answer: We are targeting all residents of Japan who love curry cuisine. Although the majority of members of GoCurry team are foreigners, our app is available in both Japanese and English. “Curry Boom” is actually a thing in Japan, which can be seen through the Gurunavi data and the growing popularity of curry focussed SNS groups and handles. Thanks to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, the Japanese were exposed to food diversity and various dietary preferences. With the onset of covid, more and more Japanese are looking to change to healthy diet and lifestyle. As a consequence, there has been a rise in vegan, halal and vegetarian restaurants, and a lot of these provide such options in the form of curry cuisine.
In summary, curry cuisine is not just an Indian/South Asian cuisine type anymore. Also, food diversity and curry cuisine are on the rise in the world, especially in Japan. Through GoCurry we wish to provide a platform to our users to explore the richness and diversity of curry cuisine, create a strong community as well as reward them of their dining choices.
We are looking for advisors and product managers who are interested in this idea. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn
Do check out GoCurry app and SNS!
If you are a curry restaurant in Japan and want to list on GoCurry: https://forms.gle/nN11yb5kLkcmAeb9A
For any Questions & feedback- please email: firstname.lastname@example.org