Curry Nanban vs Curry Udon: What is the Difference?

The seasonal soba “Kamo Nanban (鴨南蛮)” is enjoyed for the cold winter day in Japan. It is a buckwheat noodle dish served in a soy sauce-based dashi-rich broth whose main toppings are pieces of green onions and sliced duck meat.

Speaking of Kamo Nanban, a noodle soup dish called “Curry Nanban (カレー南蛮)” was created in the late Meiji period (Meiji: 1868 to 1912) by combining Western curry with the noodle soup that was loved by people at that time, Kamo Nanban.

Curry Nanban (カレー南蛮)

Kamo Nanban (鴨南蛮)Kamo Nanban

Curry Nanban originally consists of a bowl of soba noodle soup topped with curry sauce, together with pieces of green onions and duck meat slices, and today it has become a popular noodle dish.

Therefore, in recent years, many soba specialty restaurants in Japan offer Curry Nanban, which, in some restaurants, actually can also be served with udon wheat noodles. Besides, the curry topped noodle soup may be served with chicken instead of duck meat.

From the above, many Japanese can’t clearly tell the difference between Curry Nanban and Curry Udon, one of the most common udon noodle soups also topped with curry sauce. Then, how are they different from each other?

The Difference: Curry Nanban vs Curry Udon

Curry Udon

To get to the point, “Nanban (南蛮)” in the name Curry Nanban refers to green onions, so the noodle soup dish is definitely garnished with green onions. (But Curry Udon also often contains green onions in the soup.) 

By the way, I have never heard of the noodle dish named “Curry Soba”, even though Curry Nanban is literally a kind of curry soba.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 鴨南蛮, 杉本商店, RICOH )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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