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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Go Eat Coco Ichibanya

I've talked about fast food chains in Japan that people should go try. Well, Coco Ichibanya deserves its own spotlight because it's that good! It's considered fast food in Japan even though it tastes like real food (America, you know what I'm talking about) and you sit down to eat it. It's a fast, cheap option for a meal that tastes delicious.

Coco Ichibanya is a Japanese curry chain in Japan. You can find them all over Japan. It is commonly known as Coco-Ichi. Japanese curry is different from all other curry because it has a thicker consistency, almost like a stew. There are two states in America that have a Coco-Ichi: California and Hawaii. So if you'd like to try Japanese curry from a Coco Ichibanya, now you can. I've been to the one in Los Angeles, California, and I can vouch that it tastes just like the one in Japan. There are chains also located in Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China. Coco-Ichi is a big deal because my husband LOVES it. He literally eats it everyday when we are in Japan.
Landed in Japan, and the first place we ate at in the Tokyo Bay area was a Coco Ichibanya.
Why is Coco-Ichi so special? It's a pick-what-you-want restaurant. There menu is split into two sections. The first section is of curry combinations that they have set on the menu. They have plenty of curry options such as your standard pork or chicken to more adventurous items on the menu such as squid and natto curry. The you have the option to make your own curry dish. You'll start by setting your portion of rice. Then, you'll pick you level of spice from level 1 to 10 which is supposed to be 24x hotter than the regular curry spice. And lastly, you'll pick your toppings from meat, vegetables and cheese. You can get as adventurous as you'd like. I personally just get the standard regular spice chicken katsu curry.

Not a big fan of curry but you're tagging along with someone who is? Don't worry because They have other options such as salads, side dishes, and sometimes even udon. They give you water with your meal in a pitcher at the table but you can also order another drink from the menu at any time during your meal. When you're ready to order your food there will either be a button to press on the table or you'll have to signal for a staff member with "sumimasen," like all other Japanese restaurants.

You won't be spending too much money at Coco-Ichi. The side dishes start at $1 and meals can go up to $12. I'm sure if you add all the toppings you could then you may get to the $20 mark but I would imagine that would be disgusting.  The big thing about Coco-Ichi is challenging others to try the level 10 curry. I remember when I was studying abroad in Japan (read about my study abroad experience here) a guy actually accepted the challenge and ate level 10 spice curry. I can tell you he was not enjoying his curry at all. He couldn't taste a thing and he was tearing up and sweating through the whole thing. After finishing his meal he went straight to the bathroom. So if you won't feel bad about wasting about $6 on a meal from hell, then you can try the level 10 challenge if you're up to it. If you are not feeling the things my friend was feeling, then the workers probably ordered a level 6 or 8 for you. I've known people who ordered a 10 level but ended up with a 6. This is because the Japanese staff doesn't think that you really wanted a level 10 spice curry. I think they get afraid for you. 

And that's what Coco Ichibanya is all about. I hope you consider trying it if you haven't already. I love the curry so much.

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