When one thinks of Hokkaido, one usually thinks of ramen noodles and seafood. However, the food that is most representative of Sapporo is soup curry.
Apparently the famed soup curry is a fusion between Indian curry and Chinese soup invented by the owner of a small café in Sapporo. He later added leftover ingredients, creating the soup curry filled with vegetables and meat that Sapporo is famous for today. The soup curry today is filled with fresh produce from Hokkaido and is nutritious as well as tasty!
My first experience with soup curry was at Rojiura Samurai Soup Curry located near the Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade. It was recommended by Yuki-san of Enishiya Guesthouse. The waiter recommended me to try the monthly special for November - the Herb Salt Chicken Curry. The menu described the dish to be very suitable for the cold approaching winter as it warms up the body very well.
The thing I love most about soup curry restaurants is the ability to tailor make your soup curry. At Samurai, not unlike other soup curry restaurants, you can choose to mix and match your vegetables, and also add toppings like cheese, prawn, and radish, among many others. You can also select the spiciness of the curry, as well as the amount of rice you’d like to have.
The interior of the restaurant makes for a cosy and warm atmosphere. The entire restaurant spans three storeys, but each floor is small in area, making it look incredibly cute, like a little hut stretched vertically. The floor and ceiling were made of wooden planks and the walls were filled with colourful hand-drawn menus of the toppings available. Each table has a little bell to ring for service.
My Herb Salt Chicken Curry turned out to be extremely delicious! Rojiura Samurai is extremely generous with the ingredients and each one of them is fresh and tasty. There was lotus, pumpkin, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potato, potato and capsicums; it’s certainly a dish passable by any mum’s or doctor’s standards. The chicken was also tender and juicy. Even though I ordered a smaller amount of rice, I found my belly filling up with the ingredients alone.
For the level of spiciness, I chose level 4 out of the 10 available levels. Being Singaporean, my taste buds are well acquainted with spices. I consider myself to be able to handle much spiciness, so I was surprised that soup curry at level 4 actually sufficiently excited my taste buds. I wondered how level 10 (and above) would taste. Additionally, the spiciness certainly is characteristic of the Indian style of curry that instead of the sweeter Japanese curry. As the curry's texture is not as viscous as the regular gravy curry, it's very light and easy, giving your stomach more space for the fresh ingredients.
I left Rojiura Samurai feeling completely full from a healthy meal and warm from the inside. When winter arrives and Hokkaido becomes colder, I’ll definitely be visiting again for that warmth in your belly feeling that results from having a spicy, nutritious bowl of soup curry!