According to a survey by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT), American tourists have voted Indian curry as the country’s most delicious food. The disappointing survey results has made a spokesman for MLIT lose faith in humanity because Americans visiting the country did not understand Japanese cuisine.
Japanese curry is a well-loved dish because not only is it easy to make at home, but it’s also delicious. Curry first came to Japan in the 1800s thanks to the British bringing in Western-style stews mixed with curry powder. Unlike its counterparts, Japanese curry is known for its mild flavour. This means that no particular ingredient stands out, and the whole dish is well-balanced. The stew is thickened with flour, and it goes well with rice.
American tourists did not understand this nuance between Japanese curry and Indian curry. One survey-taker even described her surprise when she found this “secret menu item” in Japanese restaurants; she described it as “Japan’s best-kept culinary secret.” She loved the dish so much that she made it a point to highlight it as Japan’s best: “hands down the most delicious food I ate in Japan.” When Reo Oikawa, a spokesperson for MLIT, learned about this, he couldn’t believe the Americans’ response: “honestly, I can’t believe I’m even dignifying this with a response. Americans are truly the scourge of the earth.”
The Americans defended themselves by stating that they invented French fries, and it is called so even though it has nothing to do with France; Indian curry in Japan must be the same thing. Oikawa emphasized that Indian curry didn’t appear on Japanese menus because their curry is not Indian curry—Japan’s is a distinct dish all on its own. He even admits that it’s not even distinctly a Japanese food.
The purpose of the survey was to see what foreigners love most about Japan so the ministry can know what to focus on and promote. With so many distinct dishes in Japanese cuisine, it’s no doubt that the choice of Indian curry by the Americans shocked authorities. At least the Japanese know that their American tourists love their version of curry?