Soup Curry: Sapporo’s Famous Local Food


What is Soup Curry?

Since becoming a full-fledged trend in Sapporo in the 1990s, “Soup Curry,” a specialty of Sapporo, has remained a staple gourmet dish. Here we introduce everything about soup curry, including how it differs from Japanese classic/regular curry rice, the history of soup curry, and recommended restaurants!

Curry Rice vs Soup Curry

Japanese “Curry Rice” is loved by a wide range of people, from children to adults, and is a popular menu item not only at home, but also in school lunches, restaurants, and curry specialty stores. With its simple yet profound flavor, Japanese curry rice has become one of the national dishes. Now, what is the difference between such curry rice and soup curry? Let’s take a quick look at the differences!

What is Curry Rice?

Curry, which originated in England based on Indian cuisine, was introduced to Japan in the mid-19th century and evolved uniquely in Japan. As a result, a wide range of variations in spiciness and flavor are now available, using a variety of ingredients and spices. Among these, meat, potatoes, onions, and carrots are the standard ingredients. These ingredients are stewed in a curry-flavored sauce, thickened to make it easy to eat with rice, and served over rice.

What is Soup Curry?

This gourmet dish originated in Sapporo and is made by dipping rice in a soup-like curry. The ingredients used vary from restaurant to restaurant, but the standard ingredients are meat such as chicken legs, pork, and lamb chops, and seasonal Hokkaido vegetables cut into large pieces. The spices are stronger than in regular curry, and the emphasis is on the sharpness of the spice aroma and spiciness rather than on a mild sweetness. It is a dish that is smooth and light on the palate but satisfying.

History of Soup Curry

The prototype of soup curry is said to be “yakuzen curry” served at the Sapporo coffee shop “Ajanta” in the 1970s, in which herbs and spices were added to the soup to improve customers’ health. Initially, it was simply a kind of medicinal soup without chunks of ingredients to nourish and aid digestion, but customers began requesting soup with ingredients because it was a waste to throw away the ingredients, and it gradually evolved into the current form of soup curry.

Over the next 30 years or so, soup curry restaurants developed mainly in Sapporo City, and became a big hit in the 1990s and 2000s. Sapporo is a battleground for the best soup curry restaurants in Hokkaido, and each restaurant has its own special menu, so finding your favorite soup curry is one of the ways to enjoy Sapporo!

How to Enjoy Soup Curry

The most important and most exciting part of soup curry is customizing it! When ordering, you customize the curry to your liking, including the main ingredients you like, the type of soup, the spiciness, the amount of rice, and any other topping ingredients you wish to add.

4 recommended soup curry restaurants

Magic Spice Sapporo Main Shop (マジックスパイス 札幌本店)

Picante Sapporo Eki-mae Shop (ピカンティ 札幌駅前店)

Soup Curry GARAKU (スープカレー GARAKU)

Soup Curry Suage+

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