I love Kyoto’s many food offerings, and especially its splendid kaiseki meals above all. But after more than a week of one amazing Japanese meal after another, I yearned for something “spicy” - most probably because of the old Singaporean habit in me (the sort of who packs spicy “sambal belacan” in jars if I know I’m going on an extended trip to Europe or America).
I suddenly yearned for something “spicy” on Day 10 of my trip to the Kansai region last week. I was in Kyoto then, staying in a hotel across the road from the behemoth Kyoto central train station. With dozens of dining choices inside Kyoto station, I started my search for something that can give a chilli kick. (Un)surprisingly, most of the dining places in there offer various types of Japanese cuisine: sushi/sashimi, tempura, tonkatsu, teppanyaki, ramen, okonomiyaki, various types of yoshoku (“Western” dishes by way of Japan), etc. Turns out, there is only one place in there which offers something which closely approximates what I was looking for: Japanese-style “Indian” curry spot, Spicy Masara (sic).
Wedged in a corner near the escalators going up to the main Japan Rail/shinkansen concourse, if you’re coming from the direction of the Kintetsu Kyoto Station (Hachijo-dori side), Spicy Masara (スパイシーマサラ ) offers a variety of tonkatsu with curries, served with plain steamed rice, together with pickled onions and radish on the side.
In a typical Japanese-style quirk, you first order from a vending machine at the entrance - inserting your bills and coins, and making your choices. You get your order slip which you hand over to a server when you get your seat at the counter.
It took only a few minutes before I got my pork tonkatsu with beef curry.
Pickled radish and onions:
Best accompaniment to Japanese curry? Some fizzy Japanese beer, of course!
Spicy Masara Kyoto Station
Tel: +81 75-352-6555
Opening hours: 7am-8.30pm daily