Japan is full of trains. The famous shinkansen (high-speed trains) fly through the country like bullets. 55 train lines crisscross into and above the city of Tokyo, and another 6 lines travel in the subterranean depths. It only makes sense–a city of 13 million people need various ways to get around. Can you imagine if they all drove?
Unsurprisingly, all kinds of shops and eateries have sprung up around the train stations. From a concession stand selling water or soda for that quick second in between connections, bento boxes for those arriving just a tad early for their shinkansen or perhaps wanting to dine on the train, to full service restaurants for those who are on their way home and would rather not cook, the train stations have various kinds of dining options.
We ate a LOT at train stations. But my favorite for this last week was something we dubbed “curry in a hurry.” You see, something I realized when I came to Japan is that while sushi is indeed amazing there, it’s just one small thing in their repertoire of delightful food. And by far more common than sushi restaurants is Japanese curry.
And when it’s Japanese curry combined with tonkatsu, that deliciously breaded fried pork cutlet… well. It’s quite heavenly.
This meal was an example of typical Japanese efficiency. The diner, called Spicy Masara inside Kyoto Station (good luck finding it, best I can offer is that it’s near the JR lines), had a small footprint, so stools around a bar. Off to the side by the entrance was a delightful Japanese invention: a vending machine for food ordering. Yup, you choose your meal, press the button, enter your money, hand the resulting ticket to the server, and await the food at your table.
I kid you not, no more than five minutes later, our food arrived, piping hot and, to all appearances, freshly made. The curry sauce was likely already made in a large batch, and the tonkatsu was probably already cooked and just needed to be crisped up–no big deal, the meal definitely didn’t suffer in taste.
We finished the food just as quickly–it was delicious! And for 860 yen (under $8) for a meal big enough for two to share, you can’t really go wrong. We were in and out of there in less than 15 minutes total!
I’ll have more to share about Japanese food and all the cool (sometimes strange) stuff we encountered on our trip. But for now, I’ll be dreaming of curry katsu and looking forward to the day I recreate it! =)
Sorry for barely meeting the deadline on this Tasty Thursdays post– hope you all had a delicious week!