Leading and conveying Sapporo’s curry culture – Ide Go
With several hundred curry restaurants in the city, Sapporo is known as the place of origin of soup curry. As sales slumped last September due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Ide became chair of the ‘Curry City Sapporo Promotion Committee’, established by over 100 curry shop owners. By planning drive-through curry sales and issuing premium meal vouchers, the committee hopes to “group together as one and protect Sapporo’s curry culture to the end”.
Ide manages 7 curry restaurants in Hokkaido and beyond, including the popular ‘Sapporo Rakkyo’. After gaining experience in a variety of western-style restaurants, he branched out on his own at the age of 30. He grew up in a household that ran a fruit, vegetable and deli shop in a hospital in Sapporo. He looks back to when customers, who were relatives of patients who were coming to the end of their lives, would come to the shop to buy things so that they could “give them their favorite food during the last stages of their lives.” This is when Ide “sensed a vocation regarding food begin to emerge”.
In April, a curry restaurant run by the promotion committee opened at the ‘Sapporo Satoland’ agricultural experience facility in Higashi-ku. Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic began, families visiting the facility to take part in hands-on vegetable picking in order to avoid the ‘three Cs’, increased, and the restaurant was opened as “we want children not just to pick the vegetables but to enjoy curry made from them.”
The main selling point is that the vegetables are changed according to what is in season. At the peak of the harvest, the plan is to source all of the ingredient vegetables, such as onions, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini and the like, from those harvested in Satoland or its adjacent farms.
“I want to create a food culture in which, in future, when the children who come to pick vegetables are on the verge of death, they say ‘I want to eat curry’,” says Ide (52).
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