Perhaps the most portable curry ever developed can be yours for a mere 30 yen.
Many will agree that when it comes to Japanese curry, locally adapted food never tasted so good. This lighter and sweeter version of the cornerstone of the Indian diet has mass appeal to spare. However, it’s not without its drawbacks.
For example, as it’s a sauce, it’s not the most portable food in the world, often seeping out from the plastic containers we carry it home in. This weakness however was solved by Japan’s fried curry bread, also called kare pan or kare donatsu (curry donut) locally, which encases a delicious burst of curry inside some crispy fried bread.
However, curry is so delicious that it’s not unreasonable to get a sudden urge for it during business meetings or weddings, but at these times even kare pan can be too ungainly. And at these times the human race was forsaken… until now!
The chocolate magicians at Tirol, a brand famous for their cheap tiny chocolates often sold next to the register at convenience stores, have somehow managed to harness the awesome power of kare pan in a square inch of chocolate!
Wanting a taste of this curiosity, I headed down to the 7-Eleven, where this flavor is exclusively sold (except in the Kanto region according to their website), and purchased a few for 30 yen (US$0.27) each.
The Kare Pan Tirol is curry paste covered in what appears to be chocolate. However, upon eating it seemed to taste a little more like caramel but that might have been the color and curry messing with me. There’s also a crispy little crouton inside to give it a texture similar to a Kit Kat.
The most surprising thing about these is the spiciness of the curry. It’s not in a large enough amount to send you running for a glass of water, but these little squares pack a surprisingly potent kick, definitely more than you would expect from a chocolate.
▼ I probably should have noticed the big “WARNING SPICY” label on the bottom.
The second most surprising thing is that these actually tasted really good. The curry paste tasted exactly like normal curry but somehow managed to blend well with the chocolate.
I admit I had written those opening lines prior to eating one and was sort of goofing on why someone would possibly make such an abomination of flavors. But the Kare Pan Tirol turned out to be exactly as I described it: A convenient and cheap way to get a little curry fix wherever you are.
Not only that, these are more than just a novelty flavor that you would want to try once for the experience. I’m sure I’ll be craving them tomorrow or some time soon. So if you have a chance and don’t mind a little spiciness, I highly recommend these, both because they’re weird and very delicious.