Monday, September 12, 2011

Kitami City White Curry Soup

Sorry that I don't have a picture of the soup dissolved in a cup. It's just a white, semi-translucent fluid. It doesn't resemble any disgusting bodily fluids or anything. Nope.

Kitami City is in Hokkaido and this is a souvenir package of instant consomme soup. You might ask yourself if I have been to Hokkaido lately. The answer would be "no". You might ask yourself if one of my students has gone there and kindly given me this soup. The answer would be "no". You might ask yourself if I pawed through the trash of someone who recently went to Hokkaido and discovered a discarded bit of food. The answer would be "no" as I'm not quite that far gone yet.

Like many special regional souvenirs, this is sold in Tokyo. I was taking a break-time walk at work and walked around the Shinjuku Southern Terrace area (famous for its Christmas lights and Krispy Kreme). It seems that it's a mini-Mecca of places that stock regional souvenirs. One was for Miyazaki prefecture and another for Hokkaido. I went into the latter and perused their stock. I was familiar with a lot of things already from a bit over a decade of office work and being the recipient of obligatory souvenir treats from traveling salesmen. The "corn choco" was always a crowd pleaser. I wasn't going to buy anything because it's all pretty expensive and sold in portions meant to allow your whole office to partake. However, the soup looked like it'd make a good companion to the sandwich I'd brought for lunch and I debated buying the instant gobo (burdock) soup or this white curry. The choice I made is obvious. I do wonder why white curry is in any way representative of Kitami City. It may have something to do with their winter festival because, you know, snow... white...white... curry. Yeah, it's a pretty tenuous link.

The company that makes this, "Greens Kitami", makes several different packets of dehydrated consomme soup. Their own web site link was dead or redirected, but they appeared on an aggregate site and it appears their specialty is onions. Since most soup has onions, this makes sense, though you don't really see any in this powdered mix.

This was an expensive  bit of soup at 315 yen ($4.07) for 10 packets of consomme powder. Each sleeve makes 150 ml. or three-quarters of a cup of soup. That's not much for your money, but at least each serving is only 15 calories. I had to guess how much water to use the first time since I was at work and there were no measuring cups. I believe I made it too strong, but that was still good.

The smell is very good. It is not exactly the same as conventional curry. In fact, it lacks that telltale scent of cumin or generic curry powder. The first ingredient is pork extract followed by a lot of other extracts, which is to be expected from consomme. The flavor is definitely that of curry, but it is less "heavy" and overbearing. It's not very hot, but has enough of a kick to make it interesting. In fact, this has a deep savory edge and is quite delicious. It's definitely a cut above your usual powdered soup mix.

I liked this soup very, very much. In fact, it's safe to say that I'd consume it regularly if it weren't so expensive and available in a rather limited fashion. The bottom line, however, is that this would have to be the food equivalent of cocaine for me to buy such small portions for 32 yen each on a regular basis. However, I would buy it again as a special treat, and can definitely recommend trying it if you come across it in your travels.

1 comment:

Japan-Australia said...

Looks very interesting and would love to give it a try. White would have to be the colour of Hokkaido :)

Japan Australia