Irresistible Indian Cuisine in Japan

If you could only have one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would you choose?

I’ve been asked this a bunch of times, and my answer often depends on where I am at the time. If I’m traveling in South Asia, I tend to seek out Japanese foods. When I’m in Japan, I crave Indian spices. And, when at home in Vancouver my diet tends to gravitate towards the Mediterranean side of things. I’m not sure why…maybe I just enjoy the challenge of hunting for obscure ingredients!

So, how about you? What would you go with?

The other day, I went to another Indian restaurant. Every time I go for Indian food in Japan, I tell myself that I won’t go again. Don’t get me wrong, the food is usually quite good, but I always think that I should make the most of my time here and experience Japanese cuisine to the fullest. And yet…I always find myself wandering into every Indian and Napalese restaurant that I see. There’s something that’s just so irresistible about the aroma of roasting spices, especially after relying for so long on soy sauce and miso as my main seasonings.

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veggie curry
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daal
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huge, fluffy naan
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mango juice

I tried out the vegetable curry, daal, naan, and mango juice. The daal was unlike any I’ve had before. I’m used it being a soupy dish made with brown lentils, but this daal was very thick and made with big split yellow peas. The mango juice was so syrupy, almost more like mango nectar than juice. All in all, it was an incredibly filling and generous meal.

Like most Indian restaurants in Japan, they offered unlimited free refills of fresh naan, but the servings were so massive that I was more than satisfied with just one!

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39 thoughts on “Irresistible Indian Cuisine in Japan

    1. I’m with you there! Especially since I just got done with taco night for dinner haha. 360 days a year, I’m all about foods with spices and herbs, but oddly enough whenever I’m under the weather, simple Japanese foods like rice and miso soup are my lifeline.To be honest…maybe I can’t live without either!

    1. Aw thank you so much! Indian restaurants in Japan really are a new and unique experience. Delicious Indian style dishes…but with a Japanese twist!

    1. Definitely worth a try! It’s not authentic, but the flavours are delicious and unique. Plus, it’s just always such a neat experience to step into a bit of South Asia in the middle of Japan.

    1. Yeah the naan is always the most fun bit! I’ve never seen naan like that anywhere else, and certainly never in India haha! But, everyone loves it and it’s in every Indian restaurant in Japan. Much sweeter than regular naan…it’s pretty good!

  1. I love fusion places. It makes food more fun – so many flavours and options. Soup and bread are definitely comfort food on a fall or winter day.

    1. Exactly! Fusion places make it not only about the food, but the overall experience as well. There’s something so fun about being a westerner in Japan, dining at an Indian restaurant run by a Napalese family!

  2. It’s funny how cravings are. 🙂 Can’t say that I share the same luring but it’s definitely interesting to see the interpretations of one cuisine in another country.

    1. I totally agree. I’m always intrigued to see how local ingredients are adapted into foreign recipes, and how other cuisines get altered to suit local tastes. That’s the best part about going to places like this!

    1. Ah, see that’s so neat to me because the second you say Italian cuisine, it strikes me that I adore Italian food and was brought up with a fair amount of it. And yet, it never would occur to me to put Italian near the top of my list. I guess for me it’s only partly about taste, but mostly about habit!

    1. Yes, I was surprised to see how popular Indian food is in Japan! I don’t remember it being like this last time I visited. I wonder if it is a recent trend? Either way, I’m very happy about it!

  3. Mmmmmm….. Indian. I love it almost as much as I love Japanese. I’m from Australia and found Indian in Japan very sweet, but very delicious. Trying to choose one cuisine to live on forever would be a terrible form of torture!!! Great blog ☺️ thanks

    1. Haha agreed! A terrible form of torture for sure. I know what you mean about the Indian food in Japan being very sweet. The naan that I’ve tried elsewhere is a very thick, doughy, buttery bread. But, the naan in Japan is almost like kashi pan. Good, but in it’s own unique way!

  4. The two times I’ve had Indian food in Japan it was delicious. However it was nothing like Indian food in the US. This makes me wonder, is it food more similar to a different region in India? Or maybe its either MORE authentic or LESS authentic than it’s American counterpart? I have no idea. I guess it doesn’t matter since it’s all great. But it definitely makes me wonder.

    1. Interesting thoughts! After going to India, I realized that both North American and Japanese versions of Indian food are both inauthentic, but in their own unique way! In Japan, it’s sweeter, milder, and they use Japanese rice. In North America, they tend to be mild and heavier on cream and meat. That being said, it’s possible to find authentic Indian in both countries. In Vancouver, there are loads of places. And, in Shin Okubo, I discovered this place called Barahi with both a shop and a restaurant where you can get real South Asian cuisine and ingredients. It’s the only place I found in Japan so far, though! Here’s my post on it if you want to check it out: https://ellesite.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/travelling-japan-harajuku-and-indian-spices/

      1. This is great to know. I kind of suspected as much! I wonder if I’ve ever had authentic Indian? haha. I’m not hung up on authenticity, but i think it’s nice to know it for frame of reference. Will definitely check our Barahi if I’m ever in that area. 😉

    1. Same! I love these restaurants not just for the food, but for the whole atmosphere. The places with Bollywood music videos playing in the background are the best haha

  5. What a nice post! I’m living in Japan right now and also enjoy the Indian food here. I haven’t had any in a while, but this post made me want to get some again. Thank you!

    1. Thanks a lot! I really do love the whole atmosphere of Indian restaurants in Japan. The staff are always so friendly and you inevitably strike up some very interesting conversations in a mishmash of Japanese and English haha. (Not to mention the awesome food!) It’s always a fun experience. 😀

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