December 20, 12 | Takako Chiba
Gotoken, a western style Japanese restaurant in Hakodate, was established in 1879. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Gotoken’s traditional curry.
Early on, Hakodate was known as a high-collar, modern port city. As a restaurant that has continued business from the Meiji era to present day, Gotoken is Hokkaido’s oldest western-style restaurant.
The Gotoken Curry was born during the Taisho era (1912-1926), under the 130-year-old restaurant’s second owner who trained at the Imperial Hotel. Using his training and acquired skill, he continued to improve upon the dish little by little until he created the recipe that is used today.
When I asked shop manager, Nakamura san, why it’s called “English Curry,” he explained to me that when it comes to curry, the essential spices are mostly from to India but, since India was once an English colony, Gotoken tries to bring an English touch to this westernized cuisine.
Though it is popularly known as “English Curry,” the dish’s official name is English Style Beef Curry.
There is a lot of attention paid to the original, homemade bouillon. As much as possible, only fresh, Hokkaido-grown ingredients are used for this curry. The roux melts into the vegetable blend and gives the curry an elegant flavor, with just the right touch of spice and sweetness.
Most importantly, the curry is served from this silver gravy boat as part of the curry tradition of this long-standing restaurant. This detail only adds to the English experience.
Condiments served with this dish include Japanese leeks, pickled ginger, pickled vegetables, peanuts, and fried onions. You can use these as toppings or as a palate-cleansing side dish to enhance the flavor of each bite.
With such a classic-modern-retro feel, you can really the whole dining experience at this east-meets-west restaurant.
▲Original Gotoken Building
In 1998, the original Gotoken building was registered as Hokkaido’s first nationally protected cultural heritage site. Today it seems it is often used for private parties and events.
Gotoken’s English Curry can be eaten at the adjoining restaurant, Yukikawatei. They also sell pre-packaged curry, which makes a wonderful Hakodate souvenir.
Mail orders are also available. Just check the Gotoken homepage for details!
▲Stairway in the original Gotoken building. The stained glass window really adds to the retro atmosphere.
● Gotoken (五島軒)
Hokodate City, Suehiro Town, 4-5
● Restaurant Yukikawatei
■ Shop Hours
※ January～March／11：30～20：00（last order）
(Hokkaido Likers writer Chiba Takako)
(Photography by Makoto Semboku Professional Photography)