Affordable curry chain Coco Ichibanya now serves vegan soup curry

Kasey Furutani
Written by
Kasey Furutani
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January in Tokyo is frigid, with temperatures hovering in the single digits and the sun setting before 5pm. When you're out and about looking at illuminations or taking advantage of winter activities, your body will definitely be screaming for some warmth. Thankfully, the ubiquitous and affordable Curry House Coco Ichibanya chain of restaurants has created a limited-time soup curry menu featuring a vegan soup curry that is free of animal products.

A culinary fusion of Indian, Thai, Chinese and Japanese curries, soup curry is a healthy, spicy dish perfect for warming bodies and clearing sinuses. A relatively new Japanese dish, soup curry originated in Hokkaido in the 1970s and has since gained a cult following with restaurants in the Tokyo area. While a traditional soup curry includes a piece of meat (usually roast chicken, pork or beef), Coco Ichibanya's Vegetable Soup Curry stands out for being one of the few hard-to-come-by vegan offerings in town. You'll be glad to know that since this is a popular restaurant chain, it is now easier for you to find a vegan meal in the city.

Photo: fb.com/cocoichicurry

We set out to try the curry on a cold and rainy day for a lunchtime pick-me-up. The curry comes with nine vegetables: okra, carrot, potato, lotus root, kabocha pumpkin, cabbage, red bell pepper, eggplant and cauliflower, in addition to a boiled corn tofu ball, much like a vegan meatball. The toppings swim in a plant-based spicy and fragrant soup, made from Coco Ichibanya's signature roux, extra curry spice and garam masala, strong enough to ward off any cold. The soup is spicy without being too fiery and the chunky vegetables provide a respite from the intense yet multi-layered flavouring. Best of all, the dish is affordable at ¥966 a pop.

Get your vegan paws on this dish soon as the limited-time menu will end in February. 

Want more affordable vegan cuisine? Check out the new vegan convenience store in Asakusa.

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