Japanese love Indian food and one of the cuisine you should try while in Japan is the Japanese version of Indian food. I was quite surprised to find out how popular Indian Ryori/Indian cuisine was in Japan when I first came to Japan as a student many years ago.
The Indian curry restaurants that I went in Kyoto after my visit to Kyomisu Dera is a small independent shop run by people from Nepal and India. Usually, Nepalis run Indian restaurants because Indian food is more popular than Nepali food. I think the waiter in the restaurant is a Nepali as his skin are quite fair.
The curry Japanese people enjoy at home is very different from the Indian curry at the restaurant. The Indian curry in Japan adapts the original recipe but sweeter which suits the Japanese palate. The curry paste is also thicker. The color is also different from Japanese curry which has bright coloring -orange and reddish color.
Order the set meal if you don’t know how to order Indian food
If you are not sure what to order and unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, the safest way to order is ordering their set meal. The menu usually contains a few types of set meal to choose from. It is also very good in value as it has all the popular items included, such as naan, few types of curry and tandoori chicken.
How hot you want your curry to be? 1-10 spiciness
When you order the meal, the waiter will ask you how hot you want your curry to be, indicate from 1 to 10 times. Japanese people cannot eat too spicy so they usually order 2-3 times level of spiciness but people from South East Asia countries like us would prefer to have 8-9 or up to max 10 for the level of spiciness.
If you are vegetarian, the Indian restaurant is the right place as it also offers vegetarian dish and you can just dip the naan with the vegetable curry.
Indian Restaurant Setting
The Indian and Nepali restaurants are small but very cozy. Traditional music can often be heard in the background and the interior has some posters of Himayalan mountains or Mount Everest. Sometimes the restaurant has an open kitchen where you are able to see how the chef tosses the naan bread.
For naan bread, there are several options to choose from; such as butter, garlic, sesame seeds, and sweet but plain naan works and tastes best. By the way, the naan tastes sweet even is the plain one. The chef who makes the naans are Indian or Nepali as I can see them tossing the naan at the kitchen.
Just like Japanese Chuka/Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine has adapted to suit the local palate. Indian cuisine in Japan is never too spicy. The Indian restaurants are all over Japan, usually run by foreigners; the Nepali or Indian as they are huge population residing in Japan. The menu is usually both in Japanese and English and the most important factors of all are super delicious and budget-friendly. A lunch set usually from 900-1400 yen (USD 8.10 -13.50). Since Indian restaurants are all over in Japan, pop in any restaurant you encounter and experience the Indian cuisine. You will like it, trust me.