Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sapporo Food: Soup Curry Samurai

I knew that there were a bunch of branches of Soup Curry Samurai around, but I didn't know until recently that one of my friends rates it as the best place in Sapporo. Since in actuality I needed no incentive to go and check the place out, that was all the incentive I needed to finally go to the one I spotted in Susukino and see if it was any good.

It's very good.

Soup curry for beginners - curry in the form of a soup that's served with lots of meat and vegetables in the soup and with rice on the side that you can do with what you wish. It originated in Sapporo and as yet there's no massive nationwide chain, or in fact much similarity at all between the different shops. Some shops use vaguely Indian spices, while a lot of them have a hint of Indonesian or Thai flavour to them. But it's always grounded in a uniquely soup-curry taste. I can probably stop doing this spiel whenever I talk about soup curry can't I? There are some small chains with multiple shops in Sapporo and a few have even opened in Tokyo I think, but I find that sometimes flavour can vary between different branches of the same chain so I'm reluctant to review all of one company's restaurants on the basis of visiting one. Anyway, this was the Odori/Susukino Samurai I went to, accessed via street level but spread over the second and third floors of the small building it's in.

The place was nice and cozy and the soup curry was excellent. The soup was nice and thick in comparison to many other places, and it had a very full, rich flavour. Yuki had the monthly special which was this chicken pumpkin thing, pumpkin soup too!

Her comments afterwards were that she was blown away by the first six mouthfuls, but that after that it was maybe a bit too rich and there was too much chicken. I hardly need say that this won't be a problem for others. I went for the buta kakuni (slow cooked pork) which is something I really like trying everywhere. There's a choice of six curries but I had the regular and it was pretty wonderful. In fact the soup was so good, and so flavoursome that I regretted getting the mozzarella cheese topping for it since it really ended up confusing the otherwise wonderful taste. Then, choosing spice levels and toppings are part of the fun of soup curry. Next time I'll keep it simple.

I had spice level 4, the highest you can go before they start dropping chillis in and charging more, and it was nicely spicy. Nothing to worry about if you like spicy food. The vegetables here were crisper and less cooked than a lot of the places I've been too recently, and to be honest I prefer them softer than this with soup curry. But the pork was cooked to perfection, so I assume that's the way they do their veg here and some people will love it. There was certainly a nice selection as you can see.

I don't know that this is the best place in Sapporo, but to be honest considering the number of Soup Curry places out there I doubt I'll ever find that holy, curry-filled grail. It was great though, and I'd love to go back. There are four branches scattered around Sapporo that you can find from their website that I've linked to at the top, and I'll put this city centre one on my map. Ahhhh, I love soup curry.


  1. I have been trying to find the best soup curry in sapporo for ages and I'd say my top two are ;
    Legon (Miyanosawa area) and Fat Bamboo (Kanjo Dori Higashi)... that's as much info as I have for you! It is embarrassing how awful I am at remembering directions, but next time I drive past, I will check out the street numbers.
    I actually thought Samurai was the worst soup curry I'd ever eaten. Maybe I caught them on a bad night?

    1. Wow, thanks! I'll definitely check both of those places out (if I ever get the chance to leave Kita-ku and Chuo-ku). Actually I was in Odori today and I saw that there was a Legon branch East of the river so I tried to go, only to find it had closed down (and to remember at that point that I had actually tried to go there before and found that it had closed down). I ended up going to Kanako which was... quite nice.

      I'll definitely stand by rating Samurai very highly. I've been there three or four times since this post and I've always liked it - but I don't think it's the best place in town by any means. I took a whole bunch of people there a couple of weeks ago and everyone thought it was great, but I've also read a few people on the internet that don't like it. The soup is REALLY thick and rich, not at all like many other soup curry places, and if you're not careful you can end up with some kind of soup/ingredient combination that's a real assault on the senses. In fact I have to be specifically in the mood for 'Samurai-style' soup curry to think of going there. Maybe you caught them on a bad day, but you might just not like their curry. I really think that soup curry is a very subjective thing.

      I don't actually have a favourite soup curry place. The best soup curry I remember having was at Lavi Lavi in Kita 24 Jo, but it's never been as good when I've been back. I should do some kind of Soup Curry list post maybe...