Article By Mike Leaner
B1-4, Zhu Jiang Time Square, Ginwa, No.336, Huang Cheng South Road, Beilin District
(029) 8935 8900
10:00am – 9:30pm
Average Price per Person /人均消费: 50-60 RMB
PROS: An interesting change of pace for those accustomed to Indian curries; good service; good food
CONS: Price points seem to be a bit inflated
When people think “curry,” they think of India, but that’s not the only place where curry is common. The dish was introduced to Japan by the British about 100 years ago, when India was still a British colony. The Japanese originally considered it to be western food, but in the 1960s curry became widely available in restaurants and supermarkets, and it eventually became something of a national dish.
So, what’s the biggest difference between Japanese and Indian curry? The former tends to be less spicy and seasoned than the latter, and more of a stew style. But you don’t have to settle for my bad description of the difference, you can discover for yourself with a trip to South Gate to eat at Shirokuma Curry.
Shirokuma is located in the Century Ginwa mall on the east side of the South Gate loop, on the outside of the city walls. Subway surfers will be able to get there easily by just getting off at Yongningmen Station, but there are a number of buses that also go there, not to mention the fact that one can just hail a taxi, shout “NAN MEN!” at them and then yell to stop when you see the mall. Also, if you’re just going to eat and not to shop, definitely make sure you go down into the basement floors and not up into the main floors.
The restaurant itself has a funky, but nice atmosphere. It’s a very small place, but it manages to impart a sense that I’m in some tiny hole-in-the-wall in Japan, which definitely helped me get over my shrinking personal space bubble. My companion and I had literally no problems with the setting, but I just thought you should be warned about its size.
Onto the food, the menu had a nice variety. As implied by the name, if you want curry, they got curry. You can DIY some curry by choosing a flavor and some toppings to go with it, or you can try one of their predetermined curry dishes on the menu. I ended up having what they called a “lava rice curry,” which was an omelet-covered dome of white rice with a blob of curry in the center, a sort of currying of the lava cake. It was enjoyable, but not quite as satisfying as my companion’s more traditional curry rice dish, which included a giant meatball and a bit of cheese sauce swirled into the meaty, savory curry sauce. If you’re not into curry there is an array of cheaper snacks you can order that hover between 10RMB and 20RMB per serving, and range from “pretty good” (the Japanese-style fried chicken) to “okay but needs some work” (the takoyaki). We ended with some vanilla and green tea ice cream, a nice, light way to finish off the meal.
While the food is pretty good, you should be warned that, like a lot of the places in the South Gate Ginwa, you’ll be paying a bit more than you might like for what you’re getting. For one person, a curry rice plate and a Coke will probably run you about 50RMB. It’s unfortunate that the price point is a little high for what is essentially a hearty plate of comfort food, and I’m willing to bet that higher price point is you paying to keep the 金 in Ginwa. But, if you’re looking for a unique little place for a date, or you just want to try the dish that enamored itself to an entire nation, Shirokuma Curry is a sure bet.
Mike Leaner likes to get dirty but not for free. He can be reached at