Customers enter a Curry House CoCo Ichibanya restaurant, operated by Ichibanya Co., in Tokyo.
A Japanese plan to sell curry in India all stemmed from a hungry expat looking for good food in Tokyo.
It was 2015, and New Delhi native Robin Srivastava had started a two-year secondment to Tokyo in the mineral and metal resources division of the giant conglomerate Mitsui & Co. He wanted to try all the food Japan had to offer, but was struggling to find eateries in his neighborhood with English menus.
Then he found one that did, just across the street from where he lived. It was called CoCo Ichibanya, a restaurant chain with more than 1,200 outlets across the country that serves what’s called curry rice, a thick brown curry sauce often including meat and vegetables that’s dolloped over a bed of Japanese sticky rice.
While completely different from the curries of his homeland, the Japanese version impressed Srivastava so much that when he returned home and submitted a report on his training, he suggested that Mitsui should try to bring the chain to India.