Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Retort Report: Bon Curry Gold 21 (Medium Heat)

Got a heads up from my Big Sis recently that more pouch curries from Japan were on their way. So here's another Retort Report from my current stash that was purchased beginning of the year. Today introducing the O.G. of O.G. retort curries produced by Otsuka Foods, Bon Curry.

By adding a foil layer to plastic films used in meal pouches, OF had discovered the shelf life of sealed foods could be significantly increased and even stored at room temperature (so says ja.wikipedia anyway...). Essentially 19th Century canning technology brought up to the 20th. The first product launched back in 1968 would be the Bon Curry (Classic) where the rather unusual name is said derived from the French word 'bon' meaning good or great.

I'm still partial to the original package with kimono wearing lady. The product's current iconic orange and yellow circles came out sometime in the late 70's when the Gold label was introduced with better quality ingredients and advertised by then Japanese baseball celebrity Sadaharu Oh of the Yomiuri Giants.

In early 2000 was updated again as the Bon Curry Gold 21 which aside from the name improvements were unclear. (Could've been a content increase to the current 210 grams.) The newest Bon Curry Neo however is with even larger, substantial veggies, selected ingredients and packaged in the latest vented microwavable pouch (that so far seems to be catching on slowly).

I assume being the pioneers of the product helped the brand establish its archetype status in look and flavor of Japanese boxed retort curries found today. Blindfolded, a person might not be able to tell the difference between it and say, S&B's Golden Curry (sold here), or even House Foods Kukure ("cookless") series. Though I bet I could. The original pouch curry flavor that is safe to say embraced across all nihonjin demographics. For me also known as, "Dinner when mom was too tired to cook." It's simple, but better than good. It's 'bon' good.

Wow, Bon Curry Vending Machines with rice.(!)


caninecologne said...

ooh, i've never tried instant curry before. which brand do you recommend? i find it interesting that it is called 'retort' becuase i keep thinking it is a 'snappy comeback' instead.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

I'm totally with you on that. That's why I have huge spaces with no posts. Well, that and real life gets in the way and blogging just seems like one more chore.

I was Googling Japanese restaurants in Torrance because I wanted to check out a Japanese fabric store down there and figured I might try a new restaurant too. I came upon mention of Kotohira Restaurant. I'm surprised you've never blogged it before. They have Okinawa soba, not the buckwheat kind. And handmade udon. Just an FYI.

Dennis K. said...

Hi CC! There aren't many choices here but probably can't go wrong with S&B's Golden Curry (recommend the Hot since it's not that spicy to begin). I always keep a couple in my cupboard.

Hi WC! I'm not sure if it was Kotohira but I've read up on Okinawan places up there. Thanks for the heads up. Maybe I should take a break on ramen next time and head out. Yeah, blogging should never feel like a chore. Definitely got enough of those! :)

caninecologne said...

hi dennis - thanks for the rec's. i'll look for that brand next time i'm at nijiya or mitsuwa (maybe kyoto since it's closer to me).

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Drove down to the fabric store today and passed by Shin Okinawan Izakaya. So one more to add to your list. :)

Dennis K. said...

Ah, that's the one I remember reading about.. My list just keeps getting longer!