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The Oldest Curry Shop : Nair's Restaurant @Higashi-Ginza

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Just above HIGASHI-GINZA Station on the Metro line or a ten-minute walk from Ginza, there is a cute two-story house surrounded by tall buildings. This is NAIR'S RESTAURANT, the first curry specialty shop in Japan, opened in 1949. Its founder, A. M. Nair arrived from India in 1928 and made the acquaintance of R. B. Bose. They had been devoted to modernising both nations, and in the end, took crucial roles in introducing genuine curry cuisine to this country, Mr Bose as an adviser for Nakamuraya and Mr Nair as a founder of this restaurant. Now this restaurant is owned by G. M. Nair, the second generation, who is squarely keeping the founder's curry taste and its concept.

The concept is unique. You'll know exactly what I mean the minute you walk in. As soon as you sit at a table, or even before you do, a waiter comes to you and asks if you want ''Murugi Lunch'. Murugi is chicken in Indian, so Murugi Lunch means Chicken Curry Lunch Set. You have virtually no other choice but to say 'Yes'. Looking around, you'll find all the customers are eating Murugi Lunch, even in the evening. Don't be misled by the name. It's served throughout the day.

On the dish are a chicken leg on the bone, spicy curry sauce, turmeric rice and mashed potato. Without asking, the staff skillfully takes the chicken meat off the bone. Is it ready to eat, then? Not yet. The staff STRONGLY advises you to mix all the ingredients, thoroughly & completely. Don't hesitate to take their advice. This is the tradition this restaurant has been keeping for 70 years.

When curry sauce is thoroughly mixed with turmeric rice, you are ready to eat. Sweet mashed potato combined with spicy curry sauce makes the taste more complex, and small pieces of chicken meat crisp in your mouth. All thanks to the instruction to mix. After being thoroughly mixed, Murugi Lunch gets milder, but spicy enough to make you all sweaty.

On your way out, with spice lingering in your mouth and a handkerchief in your hand, you're already determined to order another Murugi Lunch on your next visit.

English menu available? Actually, I've never seen a menu.

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