When I first discovered karēpan (curry bread) existed in Japan, I was very happy. My dad is a keen sandwich maker, and a typical after-work snack for him is to use leftover Indian takeout as a filling. So if anything, karēpan is somewhat a taste of home.

Karēpan combines two staples: karē (curry) and bread. Curry was first introduced to Japan in the late 19th century by the British (via the Indian subcontinent), who had by this point in time had their own nascent affinity for Indian food. Japanese-style curry retains that antique (some may say inauthentic) curry-powder taste, and has become a comfort food across the country; it’s a popular school lunch menu item and a weekly tradition for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

You’d be hard pressed to dream up a more convenient delivery system than bagging that curry up in dough. Traditionally, karēpan is deep-fried and covered in panko breadcrumbs for extra crunch, and is therefore not the healthiest of snacks out there. But to satiate a stomach yearning for grease, dough and curry, there’s nothing quite like it. Evidently many people feel the same way: The Japan Currypan Association has held a Currypan Grandprix since 2016 to determine the best of the best.