OSAKA (Kyodo) Something unusual is happening to curry rice.

The cheap meal so popular with children and college students is now being offered at expensive Japanese and French restaurants at premium prices, including one dish for 10,000 yen.

Semba Kitcho, an old Japanese restaurant in the Shinsaibashi district in Osaka’s Chuo Ward, began selling a special curry rice dish — only 20 plates for 2,100 yen each — for lunch in September.

The curry is made with a roux of Japanese seasoning, including tuna and seaweed soup stock; “saikyo” miso paste; sirloin of Sanda beef from Hyogo Prefecture cattle; and more than 10 kinds of vegetables, including sweet potato from Kagoshima Prefecture.

The restaurant said it sells out every day.

“It is popular with women, couples and many other people,” said Semba Kitcho manager Noriyoshi Kawaura, 43.

At the Yokohama Curry Museum, a mall of curry eateries, one restaurant, A la Bouffe! Syun, offered a curry rice dish for 10,000 yen.

The curry was made with expensive Yonezawa beef, 40 kinds of spices and an award-winning wine. The restaurant began selling the dish in September, intending it to be a monthlong special, but it was so popular they kept it on the menu until early January.

“Even the rich like curry rice now,” said a museum spokeswoman, who developed the pricey curry with the restaurant’s owner and chef, Toshinori Minehara.

In Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, French restaurant Commme Chez Vous offers two courses for lunch, one priced at 2,300 yen and the other at 3,465 yen. Customers can choose the usual beef or fish as their entree, or they can opt for curry.

A roux, wine and spices are added to a broth that has been made by boiling a leg of beef and more than 10 kinds of vegetables for eight hours.

“It is not a curry but an excellent sauce for French dishes,” said Yoshihide Koga, 43, chef and owner of the eatery.

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