Press & Reviews
Date: October 16, 2014
By: Christina Cheung
Kaiju is a small fast-food stall hidden away in a dismal, mostly empty basement food court that’s part of the new Shops at Aura under the Aura condo building at Yonge and Gerrard. The eatery’s been there for about a year, but it’s highly unlikely you’d come across it unless you were purposely looking for it, and it seems a lot of office workers and students are, as a steady stream of people stop by while I’m there.
If you understand Japanese (or have seen Pacific Rim), you’ll know that the name of this place means “strange creature,” and they do make quite a monster of a Japanese curry here.
“Kaiju Toronto, they do make quite of monster of a Japanese Curry here.”
Affable owner/chef Brian (Siak Khoon) Chen, who’s originally from Ipoh, Malaysia, learned to make this popular Japanese comfort food in Singapore, where it’s caught on as a fast-food takeout dish. He makes the curry from scratch, using a blend of over 14 ingredients that are slow-cooked for two days over a low heat. What makes Japanese curry different from other Asian curries is that it uses a roux, which gives it a thicker, more gravy-like consistency, and it tastes a bit sweeter.
“Japanese Curry gives a gravy-like consistency and taste sweeter than other curry.”
The thing to order is the katsu curry ($8). A panko-crusted chicken or pork cutlet (you can also choose shrimp or a fish fillet instead) is deep-fried to order, and served with steamed rice, salad and of course, Chen’s addictive, umami-riffic curry. I could eat a vat of this stuff.
“Umami-riffic curry, I could eat a vat of this stuff.”
If you’re sharing with a companion (or have a Godzilla-like appetite), there’s the Kaiju Jumbo Combo ($18), which includes the pork or chicken cutlet, plus shrimp and fish, along with the same sides as above. To up the spice level, add sparing amounts of Chen’s homemade hot sauce, which is definitely not for the faint of heart.
“Chen’s homemade hot sauce, which is not for the faint of heart.”
Kaiju poutine ($6) combines the comfort foods of two nations, with Japanese curry acting as gravy over hand-cut fries and shredded cheese. You could pretty much pour this sauce over anything and I’d eat it, but it works particularly well as a poutine sauce.
“Japanese Curry Sauce that can be poured over anything.”
While the curry is the main feature at Kaiju, some of the other Asian-inspired dishes on the menu are worth a try as well. Mama’s Chicken ($8.95), served with steamed rice, is something Chen’s mother used to make for him, and in terms of favourites, it comes a close second to the curry. The crispy exterior and moist interior of the pieces have a hint of sweetness and are not too salty, making it a much more subtle dish than your typical Chinese-takeout sweet and sour chicken.
“Mama’s chicken, your typical chinese-takeout.”
As Chen and his family members who work at the stall are Malaysian, they’ve come across expats who miss dishes from home, so items like char kway teow ($8.95) or fried sambal udon ($8.50), which is Malaysian sambal sauce mixed with thick Japanese noodles, can be found on the menu.
Fusion is probably the best way to go, as it’s sometimes difficult to find the right ingredients here to make certain dishes taste authentic. (I lived in Malaysia for a while and used to eat char kway teow every week; I still haven’t tasted any version here that livesup to what I had there.)
“Kaiju Toronto, your best choice for fusion food.”
At the request of a customer, Chen has also started selling tubs of his own homemade kaya (250mL for $5), a popular sweet spread for toast in Singapore and Malaysia, for which he also got the recipe from his mother. If you’re into coconut mixed with eggs and pandan, then this is your jam.
For such a new food court, the ambiance down here is pretty abysmal, but with what may arguably be the best fast-food Japanese curry in the city, the lack of atmosphere is a worthwhile tradeoff.
“Kaiju, the best fast-food Japanese Curry.”
Site: The Grid’s Food Blog
Date: November 1, 2013
By: Crumbs, The Grid Contributor
Vittles: Kaiju’s Pork Katsu
Kaiju Japanese curry deserves a more coveted place when we think of hearty, warming, ideal winter dishes.
Fast-food stall Kaiju features a variety of Japanese curries and Malaysian and Chinese specialties. For the pork-katsu meal ($8), a pork cutlet is breaded in panko then deep-fried, sliced into big bite-sized pieces, and placed on a bed of rice. The kicker of the dish goes to its Specialty Curry Sauce – spiked with Malaysian curry powder and slow-cooked for two days to make a gravy-like concoction that is rich, thick, and fragrant.
“The perfect take-out lunch dish on a cold day – Kaiju, is worth seeking out.”
Site: Nikkei Voice, The National Forum for Japanese Canadians
Date: April 11, 2014
By: Matthew O’Mara
Kaiju – Toronto’s Spicy, Hidden, Curry Gem
Deep inside of the Aura condo near Dundas and Yonge lays a hidden gem – Kaiju.
Kaiju has a great variety of Japanese and Malaysian food, and its main attraction goes to the Japanese curry – offering in different levels of spiciness, from Mild to Kaiju. Kaiju Jumbo Combo for two $18.00 comes in rice, curry, coleslaw and a variety of deep fried fish, shrimp, and pork in a monster-sized portion. The fish was moist and flaky, the pork was savoury and crunchy, and the shrimp was fried to perfection. Cooked for over two days at a low temperature, according to a review in the Torontoist, this curry has spice and nuance.
“What struck me as entirely different was the taste of the curry itself.”
Site: Spice City Toronto
Date: December 9 ,2013
By: Sarah Efron, Toronto Journalist The Ultimate Japanese Comfort Food
Kaiju is pan-Asian, featuring dishes from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, with the star of the show – Japanese curry.
South Asian food lovers will also be interested in the selection of dishes from the owner Mr. Siak Khoon Chen’s home country of Malaysia. While the posted menu only has a few specialties listed, there is a longer printed menu behind the counter offers more Malaysian dishes eg. hokkien mee, char keow tiau and nasi kampung (aka nasi goreng). Kaiju has a charm that is lacking in most food court establishments – Chen brings the food out to the customers’ tables, and don’t be surprised if he recognizes you and remembers your order from a brief visit a month or two prior.
“It’s the food quality and the friendliness.”
Site: Kaiju @ The Yelp Blog
“Portions are great for the price! The curry sauce was rich and flavourful. I don’t normally eat a lot of rice but that sauce made it worthwhile. The side coleslaw was alright. It felt good to consume some veg I guess.” ~ Karen L., August 7, 2014
“A lovely service. The folks who run Kaiju are The Nicest People you’ll meet. A friendly woman offered me a sample of their curry sauce on rice – if I wasn’t already going to order, the curry would have convinced me. It’s delicious and rich and sweet and thick and savory and so comforting. If you’ve never tried Japanese curry, I very much recommend going just to try it (and yes, you’ll love it). ~ Staz M., June 11, 2014
Site: Kaiju @ tripadvisor
Date: January 30, 2014
Good Food with an Affordable Price
The food here is really good. Its Japanese curries is one of the best that I have found. Not only is the curry good, but the katsu that they have (chicken and pork) are made on the spot, and made to perfection – juicy, and served hot. Also, they serve a few other dishes which consist of the taste of South East Asia as the owner is a Malaysian.
P/s: Beware of the spicy level when you order the curry – take 1 strip of hot sauce or more depending on how spicy you can take.
“Definitely worth a visit.”
Site: ChowHound Discusssion
Date: Sept 26, 2013
Sweet Japanese Curry at Yonge and Gerrard
I tasted their Chicken Katsu w/ Curry, and the next day the same with Cheese. I’ve never tried Japanese style curry but it was great! I bought for takeout and they kept the curry and chicken separate, and the sauce mixes well with the crispyness of the chicken! Portion seem pretty good as well.