For the past six years, the Japan Croquette Association, a non-profit GIA (general incorporated organization) dedicated to "promoting croquette culture and expanding the croquette market" (as per their website), has conducted their annual Croquette Grand Prix based on votes from croquette fans nationwide.

For clarification, "croquette," in this case, refers to the Japanese コロッケ korokke, a deep-fried dish which, although originally related to the French cream-filled "croquette," became more incusive, designating not only those with cream fillings (known as "cream korokke" クリームコロッケ) but also, and most commonly, mashed potato fillings blended most commonly with cooked chopped meat, but also seafood, curry and vegetables. Usually patty or ball-shaped, they are ligthly coated in wheat flour, dipped in eggs, rolled in Japanese style breadcrumbs, then deep-fried until brown on the outside.

According to their press release, in spite of—or rather because of—the pandemic, which has been harsh on food stores, including croquette shops, they were intent on continuing the tradition this year "with the desire to inspire shop owners as much as possible."

This year, they consolidated and integrated the categories, which are now: "(mashed) potato-based croquettes", "cream-based croquettes" and "excellence in ingredients". Next year, they are considering adding "local croquettes," "supermarket and convenience store croquettes," and "croquette sandwiches."

Winners of the 7th Croquette Grand Prix

So, without further delay, here are this year's winners, listed by name, location and representative croquette. Where possible, we've incuded a link. (The word tappuri frequently used in the croquette names below means "plenty of"):

"Excellence in Ingredients" Category

  • コロッケ倶楽部 Croquette Club (Hokkaido): チーズフォンデュコロッケ Cheese Fondue Croquette
  • 琥珀堂 Kohakudō (Yamagata): 米沢牛コロッケ Yonezawa beef croquette
  • ミートショップさとう Meat Shop Satō (Tokyo): 元祖丸メンチカツ Gansomaru Menchi-katsu (ground beef)
  • クックランド Cook Land (Shizuoka): 下田キンメコロッケ Shimoda Kinme Croquette (red snapper)
  • 山田コロッケ店 Yamada Croquette Shop (Kyoto): 和牛牛スジコロッケ Wagyū Gyūsuji Croquette (wagyu beef tendon)
  • コロッケいまむら Croquette Imamura (Osaka): いまむらコロッケ(牛肉のラグーコロッケ)Imamura Croquette (beef ragout croquette)
  • 洋食やろく Yōshoku Yaroku (Osaka): 玉子コロッケ Tamago Croquette (egg croquette)
  • ひろっちゃん Hirocchan (Kochi): 蟹たっぷりコロッケ Kani Tappuri Croquette (crabmeat)

Potato Category

  • 樂万コロッケ Rakuman Croquette (Tokyo): 和牛たっぷり特上コロッケ Wagyū Tappuri Tokujō Croquette (premium wagyu beef croquette)
  • お惣菜の店ふるや Osōzai no Mise Furuya (Yamanashi): 昔ながらのコロッケ Mukashinagara no Croquette (old-fashioned croquette)
  • サカエヤ Sakaeya (Shiga): 近江牛お肉たっぷりコロッケ Ōmigyū Tappuri Oniku Croquette (Ōmi beef)
  • 梅しん Umeshin (Kyoto): 特製牛すじコロッケ Tokusei Gyūsuji Croquette (premium wagyu beef tendon croquette)
  • 森谷商店 Moriya Shōten (Hyogo): 神戸森谷のコロッケ Kobe Moriya Croquette

Cream Category

  • 開陽亭 Kaiyōtei (Hokkaido): カニクリームコロッケ Kani Cream Croquette (crabmeat)
  • 魚〇 Uomaru (Tokyo): ウニの濃厚コロッケ Uni no nōkō Croquette (rich uni croquette)
  • グリルグランド Grill Grand (Tokyo): カニクリームコロッケ Kani Cream Croquette (crabmeat)
  • リッチクリームコロッケ東京 Rich Cream Croquette Tokyo: 海老好きのための濃厚ビスククリームコロッケ Ebi-suki no tame no nōkō Bisque Cream Croquette (rich shrimp bisque croquette)
  • つよしのコロッケ本舗 Tsuyoshi no Croquette Honpo (Nara): エビクリームコロッケ Ebi Cream Croquette (shrimp)

For more information about the Japan Croquette Association, visit their homepage here.

By - Ben K.