CoCo Ichibanya (CoCo壱番屋) is notorious for being Japan's largest curry restaurant chain. It is also a prominent fast-food franchise that continues to grow worldwide.
The restaurant opened back in January 1978 in Nagoya. By the '90s, it was a force to be reckoned with. The curry house chain had opened over 300 restaurants covering every prefecture and opened its first international branch in Hawaii.
CoCo Ichibanya has proven to be a powerhouse, surpassing over 1,400 outlets worldwide with 170 branches in Tokyo alone.
Known as CoCoICHI among locals, what makes CoCo Ichibanya a phenomenal enterprise is how customisable their dishes are. You can customise your curry from the curry base (meat or vegetarian), the quantity of rice, spice level and toppings.
With so many options, the vast combinations at CoCo Ichibanya can be slightly intimidating.
But never fear! This list will showcase some of the 10 best toppings for anyone to order and enjoy eating.
Handpicked by an ex-CoCo Ichibanya employee, this list will help you order the most delicious Japanese curry. Some may be full of flavour, and some may be plentiful. We should also mention, it's a very cheese biased list.
Pork cutlet with cheese
A popular classic among many and highly recommended having for a beginner to the CoCo curry club.
Any cutlet in a curry is always a plus. This combo lets you dive into the dish with the familiar taste of pork loins and the oozing cheese mixed in. A bite from this would have you addicted to the taste and only want to order it every time at the curry house!
Fried fish and lightly crispy chicken
This nice combo brings together fish and meat toppings for a mouth-watering mix.
The fried fish and the lightly crispy chicken are similar because of the batter. It makes everything more manageable when you devour it in the curry sauce. A crunchy exterior, tender meats and a delicious savoury sauce make this dish so moreish!
Seafood scrambled egg and shrimp cutlet
Scrambled egg in curry may seem like a hit or miss. However, if you combine it with mixed seafood, a shrimp cutlet plumped onto the rice, it'll blend perfectly together.
What can't be overlooked is the seafood curry that consists of shrimp, clams and squid. The shrimp cutlet is a bonus for providing a crispy taste to the curry instead of the egg or seafood. A must try!
Hamburger with cheese
This is one of the most popular combos and is just as delicious as it sounds.
Adding hamburgers and cheese to a dish is quite common in Japan. However, CoCo Ichibanya heightens that taste with its addictive curry base. It's hard to resist the urge of getting this every time.
It's no wonder it's a favourite among CoCo Ichibanya fans because everything complements the toppings together in one dish.
Minced meat cutlet, cheese and vegetables
What sets this combo apart is the minced meat cutlet and its juicy taste.
Because it's a mix of meat in the cutlet, it's got more of a succulent flavour to it. It's hard to describe, but the added cheese and curry sauce on top makes the dish even tastier that way. Add the vegetable topping (consisting of potatoes, carrots and green beans) to it, and it has the feeling of a good home-cooked meal.
Omelette with seafood
The style of Omelette curry or "Omucurry" has become quite trendy in Japan because of companies like CoCo Ichibanya, and it shows.
It's now one of the chain's most popular toppings in Tokyo and outside the capital. The Omelette with the additional seafood topping packs a punch to the curry for a tangy and chewy flavour.
Fried chicken and squid
Less is more usually, but in this case, more is perfect!
The combo of crispy fried chicken and the squid rings means there are many individual pieces to eat. However, this works well as you get a good crunch of fried chicken with some soft yet chewy squid in one bite. It's a nice contrast of flavour to relish with a few added slices inside the curry.
Thin-sliced beef with scrambled egg and cheese
The mix of these toppings might be familiar in sandwiches or a part of fine dining. However, it is also one of the most distinctive but delicious combos on this list.
The slices of beef and cheese coated into the curry base has a flavoursome impact on it, while the rice and scrambled egg wrap everything up nicely to make a curry so filling to finish.
Omelette with chicken cutlet and seafood
This dish is a feel-good mood booster. Omelette with chicken cutlet and seafood is another must-try omucurry combo from CoCo Ichibanya.
The added chicken cutlet allows a more crunchy layer to combat the drizzly seafood and the soft Omelette covering the rice and curry. It's something to be recommended after a long day of leisure or work to dig into!
Tonkatsu with cheese and vegetables
The key ingredient in most curries is tonkatsu but add some cheese and vegetables from CoCo Ichibanya, and it immediately heightens the dish to god tier.
What makes this combo such a heavenly taste is how the three ingredients merge so deliciously. Like the mincemeat cutlet combo, it has a home-cooked meal, but this one is more detailed. The cheese and vegetables hit differently with this deep-fried pork cutlet as the tonkatsu is rich from the breadcrumb, crispy batter to the tangy but tender taste of the pork.
Which combo of toppings will you be adding to your next CoCo Ichibanya curry?
You can visit CoCo Ichibanya in Japan or in their London chain.
Next up, learn how to make your own chicken katsu ramen bowl at home.