While walking in the portside Verny Park, you’ll see U.S. Navy and Japanese sea forces located on each side of the naval port of Yokosuka sharing the facilities. American ships are being piloted by Japanese boats while Japanese submarines are maintained in the dockyards on the American side. Get on a cruise boat weaving through the warships and survey boats in the docks, and you’ll get a glimpse into the unique Navy roots of the idyllic town. With the history of cooperation between the two navies, Yokosuka City proudly produces unique food menus originated from the recipes used aboard the warships: “Navy Burger” from U.S. Navy, and “Kaigun (navy) Kare (curry rice)” from Japanese sea force. Getting off the boat, let’s get your fill of navy cuisine.
You’ll find some restaurants with flags of a burger icon around the port. Those “bemedaled” shops offer Navy burgers cooked faithfully to the U.S. Navy’s official recipe. So the burgers feature a half-pound patty of 100% lean beef while fatty meat is generally preferred in Japan. It’s served with classic garnishes: a large leaf of lettuce, a slice of tomato, and pieces of onion. Help yourself to add some ketchup and mustard, and then bookend all the stuff with thick buns. Complemented with a side of french fries and a glass of Coke, the plate is ready for your attack.
You’ve also locked on to another plate, “Kaigun Kare”. It may be worth knowing that when “Kaigun Kare” was developed in the kitchen of Japanese warships about 100 years ago, the shipboard chefs came up with the idea to add extra flour to curdle the curry soup into paste so that it couldn’t have been spilt on the ships yawing on the bumpy water. Today “civilian” chefs on land artistically add that original texture to their Kaigun Kare while keeping the rich curry flavor. So you may find your Kaigun Kare is stickier and pastier than what you’d expect from general image of curry. Let’s have it with a glass of milk, the traditional accent on the kare.
You may want “rescue force” to finish all the plates. Then ask local people dining in the same restaurant to join your table. They’ll gladly help you, and you’ll make new “brothers-in-arms” with them. That’s how the navy cultures have taken root in the town to bear fruits of friendship.