Murdering curry in Japan


Do you like curry rice? graph of japanese statisticsI think it might just be Scottish slang, but “I could fair murder a curry/Chinese/Mick Jagger” indicates a not inconsiderable desire to consume said item, and of course the second slang meaning fairly describes how people feel on first tasting Japanese curry. This survey from DIMSDRIVE Research looked at how the Japanese consume curry rice.


Between the 23rd of July and the 7th of August 2008 9,921 members of the DIMSDRIVE monitor group completed a private online questionnaire. 52.7% of the sample were female, 1.3% in their teens, 13.7% in their twenties, 34.0% in their thirties, 29.6% in their forties, 15.1% in their fifties, and 6.3% aged sixty or older. In addition, 14.0% lived alone, 64.1% were married, and 51.9% had children.

The name “curry rice” helps differentiate from “proper” curry; this Japanese invention, served at countless restaurants up and down the country, is usually half a plate of standard Japanese short-grain sticky white rice and half a plate of spicy stew. At home the stew is usually prepared from dehydrated blocks of sauce.

My wife cooks lovely curry with lots of potatos, but what most of the prepared mixes lack is a complexity of flavour. I was over in the USA last week and had a curry at a cheap food court, but just to get long-grain Basmati rice and a complex blend of spices that had soaked through the ingredients over many hours was heaven!

Research results

Q1: Usually, about how often do you eat curry rice? (Including naan or other rice substitutes) (Sample size=9,921)

Almost every day0.3%
Three or five times a week1.0%
Once or twice a week13.6%
Two or three times a month44.4%
Once a month28.5%
Once every two or three months8.6%
Less than that3.0%
Don’t eat curry0.6%

Larger family sizes tended to eat curry once a fortnight or more slightly more than smaller families.

Q2: Usually, about how often do you yourself make curry rice? (Sample size=9,921)

Almost every day0.5%
Three or five times a week0.3%
Once or twice a week4.7%
Two or three times a month19.7%
Once a month23.1%
Once every two or three months12.2%
Less than that13.0%
Don’t make curry myself26.5%

The majority (55.3%) of people with children made curry at least once a month, versus 40.9% of those without children.

Q3: Do you like curry rice? (Sample size=9,921)

Love it44.1%
Like it47.8%
Can’t say either way5.1%
Don’t really like it2.6%
Hate it0.4%

Q4: Usually, what kinds of curry rice do you make, prepare? (Sample size=9,858, curry eaters, multiple answer)

Make it myself from purchased sauce59.2%
Family make it from purchased sauce41.5%
Heat up boil-in-the-bag sauce35.4%
Eat out25.4%
Buy pre-made, order take-out9.6%
Make it myself from curry powder, spices7.8%
Family make it from curry powder, spices5.9%
Heat up microwave curry4.6%
Don’t know1.3%

52.8% of those living alone boiled in the bag, versus just about a third for all other family sizes.

Q5: When do you make curry rice? (Sample size=7,288, curry makers, multiple answer)

When I want to eat curry rice78.8%
When family want to36.5%
When I want a simple meal32.5%
When I can’t be bothered with much preparation27.5%
When I want something spicy19.3%
When I have no appetite, when I want some energy13.5%
When I little time to prepare food12.7%
On a hot day10.3%
When I want some vegetables9.4%
When I’m camping, having a barbeque, etc7.0%
When a lot of people are present6.9%
When I’m watching TV, etc3.8%
When I want to sweat3.7%
Don’t know2.0%

Q6: When using purchased sauce, do you blend different types together? (Sample size=5,832, purchased sauce users)

Often blend35.3%
Sometimes blend32.5%
Almost never blend31.6%
Don’t know0.6%

Q7: Which is your most favourite purchased sauce? (Sample size=5,832, purchased sauce users)

Kokumaro Curry (House Foods)20.3%
Vermont Curry (House Foods)18.6%
Java Curry (House Foods)14.2%
Golden Curry (S&B Foods)8.9%
Two-Layer Juku Curry (Glico)7.7%
Dinner Curry (S&B Foods)3.8%
Torokeru Curry (S&B Foods)3.3%
The Curry (House Foods)2.4%
ZEPPIN (Glico)2.0%
Premium Java Curry (House Foods)1.9%
Indo Curry (House Foods)1.5%
Premium Vermont Curry (House Foods)1.2%
LEE (Glico)0.4%
Hokkaido White Curry (House Foods)0.3%
Demi Curry (S&B Foods)0.1%
Prince of Curry (S&B Foods)0.1%
None in particular11.4%

Note that Vermont curry contains apples, thus the name.

Q8: When purchasing sauce, which points are important to you? (Sample size=5,832, purchased sauce users, multiple answer)

Ease of control of amount used19.6%
Maker, brand19.4%
Amount of contents17.8%
Ease of dissolving16.8%
Thickness of sauce16.0%
Ease of storage15.4%
Spices used11.0%
Colour of sauce5.6%
Western curry, India curry, or other kind4.9%
Nothing in particular3.8%

For the following two questions, only the top fifteen answers are reported.

Q9: What one ingredient would you recommend to add to make curry delicious? (Sample size=9,858, curry eaters)

Rank Votes
2Aubergine (Eggplant)462
5Soy sauce368
7Fresh tomato, tomato sauce, puree, tin tomato295
9Brown sauce244
15Raw egg159

Q10: Other than curry rice, what is your most favourite curry-based food? (Sample size=9,858, curry eaters)

Rank Votes
1Curry udon noodles3147
2Curry bread roll1795
3Dry curry, curry pilaf, curry chahan1164
5=Curry pasta183
5=Curry soup183
7=Curry naan180
7=Curry doria (rice gratin)180
9Curry stir-fry101
10Curry ramen86
11=Curry-man (Chinese dumpling)54
11=Chicken boiled, grilled with curry54
13Tandoori chicken52
14Curry chicken nuggets46
15Curry flavour cup noodle40
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1 Comment »

  1. May 19, 2009 @ 18:46

    i have read somewhere that japanese hate basmati rice aroma…is it really so…. can i get any specific related data for this along with some published reference papers..

    i am a rice researcher and need the information for proceeding with my work and compiling it in the from of a review article.

    pls help.

    vinita pachauri

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  1. September 6, 2009 @ 00:42

    […] survey from MyVoice into curry is marked as their third time of asking. I’ve previously done DIMSDRIVE on curry, […]