Saturday, March 23, 2024

Discovering Soup Curry Magic at Garaku Richmond

Happy Saturday! This weekend promised a solo adventure, with my husband away on a retreat. My initial plan was to visit Eggspectation in Richmond, BC, where my sister works. Filled with excitement for brunch and sibling bonding, I hopped into an Uber and sent a quick text announcing my arrival. But fate had other plans. A phone call from my sister revealed a tech glitch – their network or app was down, rendering the kitchen unable to receive orders. The prospect of brunch evaporated faster than my morning Uber bill!

Undeterred by this setback, my adventurous spirit kicked in. A quick bus ride later, I found myself at the doorstep of a relatively new Japanese restaurant in Aberdeen Centre – Soup Curry Garaku! Now, as a self-proclaimed Japanese curry aficionado, I'd had my fair share of the classic stewed goodness. But soup curry? This was uncharted territory.

Soup Curry Garaku boasts a rich heritage, hailing from Hokkaido, Japan. Intrigued by the concept of a "soup" version of my beloved curry, I decided to take the plunge. The menu recommended the Fried Chicken Leg, a classic take on their signature soup curry. This dish featured a slow-cooked chicken thigh, promising melt-in-your-mouth tenderness. Fueled by a touch of competitive spirit, I opted for the 7 spice level. Looking back, this might have been a rookie mistake!

Fried Chicken Leg Garaku's Soup Curry

The curry arrived steaming hot, with vibrant colours and textures. The first spoonful was a fiery explosion – the 7 spice level was no joke! While the initial heat wave temporarily overshadowed the subtler flavours, I persevered (stubbornness is a virtue, right?). As the curry cooled slightly, the magic began to unfold. The rich, complex broth revealed a beautiful balance of savoury and slightly sweet notes. The slow-cooked chicken lived up to its promise, offering a delightful textural contrast to the soft vegetables – carrots, broccoli, potatoes, and mushrooms – perfectly cooked and bursting with flavour.

The fluffy five-grain rice (which, according to tradition, is meant to be dunked in the soup before taking a bite) provided a comforting base. Although the initial spice level threw me for a loop, once it subsided, I found myself appreciating the unique flavour profile of Soup Curry Garaku. It wasn't your typical Japanese curry stew but a delicious exploration of spice, savoury goodness, and fresh ingredients.

Five Grain Rice from Garaku Soup Curry in Richmond

While I wouldn't say this experience converted me into a full-fledged soup curry evangelist (my heart still holds a special place for the classic stewed version), it definitely opened my eyes (and taste buds!) to a new and exciting culinary adventure. Plus, with the abundance of unique dishes waiting to be explored in the Aberdeen food court, I'll be back for a return visit (at a slightly lower spice level, perhaps!).

So, if you're in the Richmond area and looking for a unique and flavorful Japanese dining experience, look no further than Soup Curry Garaku. This hidden gem offers a taste of Sapporo right here in British Columbia, and its friendly staff is always happy to guide you through the exciting world of soup curry. Just remember, when it comes to spice levels, know your limits—you might want to start a little lower than a fiery 7!

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