10th December 2017, I was in Fukuoka and attended an event called "Tora-san's South Indian Meals," thanks to my friends M-san and A-san extended the invitation to me. I was very curious when I read the description of the event, which said one person named Tora-san was going to cook 20 kinds of South Indian dishes for 20 people in just about two hours. The event was held in two-time slots, one for the vegetarian in the afternoon and another for the non-vegetarian in the evening, and both got full attendees immediately after the announcement. My friend A-san said Tora-san and his partner Sakaki-san visit Fukuoka about twice every year.
Toraya Shokudo Facebook Page
While they invited participants of the event in the preparation from around 10:30 in the morning, I only arrived at the venue (a kitchen studio in the public-owned building called "Ai-refu" near Akasaka station, central Fukuoka) at around 12:30, just before the meals were served. Kobayashi-san from Asia Hunter was also joining from Tokyo with his selected collection of mirror-shiny Indian cookeries, thalis, dishes, and other colorful products straight from India. I cannot forget his question to me after knowing that I was from Pune, Western India, that if we ate Bisi Bele Bath! As such, the venue was filled with the familiar excitements originated from the Mother country.
The lunch menu I experienced was the reproduction of festival feast "Sadhya" originated from Kerala. Two kinds of rice were served, one was Matta red rice, and another was white Indica rice. Yes, the auspicious color combination of red and white that is also expressed on the occasion of the celebrations in Japan.
Also, my eyes locked on a glass of red-colored clear beverage, which was not Solkadi. According to their explanations, I Googled it later and found it was Chukkuvellam. The dishes of celeries, yams, and pineapples were impressive and innovative. It was so unfortunate to me that I could not join in their preparations. Obviously, Rasam was incredible.
I savored every bite and sip of the rarest of rare South Indian delicacies carefully made with the hands of a Japanese chef Tora-san. Moreover, I would never forget the event organizers' unique gesture of importing "parcel" culture as well from India and participants were so happily bringing left-over food to their homes!
Asia Hunter's "Fortune Bag" manufactured in Chennai.
Click the picture to see the mini photo gallery of Tora-san Shokudo