Eating out / One step closer to ramen shop in Bangladesh

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Badsha Khan, right, and Kazuo Sakuraoka show batachiki tsukemen at Batachiki in Maebashi.

The Yomiuri ShimbunMAEBASHI — A Bangladeshi man who dreams of opening a ramen restaurant in his home country is currently managing a new Indian curry establishment in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture. In addition to Indian curry, he serves his original tsukemen noodles accompanied by curry soup based on authentic Indian curry.

Badsha Khan, 46, came to Japan 20 years ago because of his interest in Japanese culture. He now runs an Indian curry restaurant in Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture.

Khan aspires to have people in Bangladesh taste Japanese cuisine. However, almost all Japanese restaurants in Bangladesh are for wealthy people, so he came up with the idea of opening a ramen shop in his country so ordinary people can enjoy eating it.

He talked about his dream with regular customers in his curry shop in Saitama Prefecture, and one of them introduced him to Keishoken President Kazuo Sakuraoka, 35. Keishoken is a ramen chain operator based in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, which runs about 30 ramen restaurants in and outside the prefecture.

Khan soon visited Sakuraoka, who proposed that he open a curry shop under the umbrella of his company. Sakuraoka said, “I sensed potential in the combination of curry and ramen.”

Khan readily agreed, thinking it would be nice to learn how to make ramen firsthand. The curry restaurant Batachiki opened on Dec. 5.

Three kinds of curry are offered at Batachiki — rich and creamy butter chicken curry, chicken curry that includes chicken thigh, and keema curry using mincemeat. Each costs ¥380. They are normally served as set menus with naan bread or rice. Their spiciness can be selected from five levels.

The dish Khan strongly recommends is batachiki tsukemen, which is served with thick ramen noodles and butter chicken curry soup with a soy-sauce flavor to dip the noodles in. The new type tsukemen costs ¥880. Khan said confidently, “It can’t be tasted at any other restaurant.”

A line formed even before opening on the very first day. The restaurant was crowded with families and office workers at lunchtime.

A 56-year-old inn operator in Numata in the prefecture stopped by the restaurant on his way home from a business trip to Maebashi. He said with a smile: “The curry is creamy and even kids can enjoy it. I’d like to come again.”

Khan said: “I’d like to make this curry restaurant a memorable place for customers. I want to spread Japanese ramen in my country someday.”

Sakuraoka said: “I hope my company will open a ramen restaurant in Bangladesh in the future, and the first ramen that Bangladeshi children taste will be ours.”

*Bangladesh Indian Curry Batachiki

Open: 11 a.m.-midnight

Open all year round, including New Year’s holiday

Address: 2-16-5 Tonyamachi, Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture

Tel: (027) 212-7227

Menu with photos available

Credit cards not accepted

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