A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

Curry Shop SRI LANKA Still Spicing Up Life In Tsukuba

By Avi Landau


Opening the door to SRI LANKA, bells jingle and you are instantly greeted by Sunil Jayantha and his wife Kiyomi, who call out with a hearty IRASSHAIMASE which resounds from the kitchen! At the same instant you are also engulfed in the heavenly aromas of SERENDIB: freshly ground spices — cardamon, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper – all simmering in coconut milk, onions and garlic. It’s intoxicating! You take your seat, order and wait a bit (maybe more). Never mind! This certainly is NOT fast food. In fact, when your INDIVIDUALLY PREPARED curry is set in front of you and you take your first taste, it’s as if TIME STOPS. No matter how busy you are on that particular day, there is no rushing through THIS meal. Every spoonful is a treasure.

For more than 20 years, the Jayantha family has been spicing up life in Tsukuba with their savory curries. Sunil came to Japan to study Japanese in order to help deal with the increasing number of Japanese tourists staying at his family’s hotels in Sri Lanka. Lucky for us though, he met Kiyomi and has been here in Tsukuba ever since, busy raising his three kids and keeping our taste buds  titillated.

Sunil has told me that he has adjusted his cooking to Japan, and that always seemed curious to me since his curries were just about as far from Japanese curry rice as I could imagine. I eventually realized what he meant.Curry Shop Sri Lanka has adopted the Japanese custom of changing their SPECIAL CURRIES in accordance with the season. In summer, mackerel, eggplant and goya are shun (in season) and these are the curries which they serve in that season, in addition to the regular menu. My favorite season for their specials is winter when Sunil always has scallop, salmon or daikon radish curry.

Another reason I have been a regular customer of SRI LANKA is that for vegetarians (like me) there are many ordering options . My favorites are the vegetable and daal curries. These are DEEPLY tasty and completely meat free.

Everyday lunch specials are 750 yen and consist of a curry, rice, soup, and salad. Beer and the more potent Sri Lankan arak are available along with juices and lassis.

Sri Lanka serves its customers everyday (except Monday) from 12:00-2:00 and then from 6:00-9:30.

Sri Lanka is located off Nishi-Odori near the south-western quadrant of the intersection where that road meets Tsuchiura Gakuen-Sen, south of the Photo Studio Alice which is on the corner and across from the GUSTO family restaurant. You cannot park along Nishi Odori, however (though you can get there on foot or by bicycle by going along it. If you are driving you have to go around by turning at Ton Q restaurant or Takarajima. It is maddening giving directions in Japan as there are usually no street names! Here is a map.

Tel-029 855 2621

One Comment

  • Mamoru Shimizu says:

    If you ask Japanese gentlemen whether they can do any cooking, if they say yes and are asked what kind of cooking they can do, most probably their answer would be “Soba” , “Curry” or “Boiled Potato-and Pork with Shirataki :Nikujaga :肉じゃが”-Mom’s taste.
    They might say “Sashimi”. But “Sashimi” should not be included as cooking as it is just the art of slicing with Japanese knives, and keen eyes for detecting fresh fish.

    I am one of the curry-making enthusiasts. My special recipe is making soup. I use Katsuobushi (dried tuna flakes) and Konbu (kelp). I don’t think the people of SriLanka, India, Pakistan or the UK ever thought of using such queer things for making curry. So, it is quite an original Japanese style.
    I only just make me confident I can detect in my curry so-faintly taste of Katsuo-Konbu!?

    Anyway the most important ingredients of curry ( curry originally was just a local word in certain parts of India pronounced- Kari: meaning a side dish) are pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, turmeric, etc. etc ( there are about twenty). The history of these spices is very interesting, and involves such personages as Arabian merchants, Columbus, Vasco da Gamma, etc. Getting spices was the cause of many wars among European countries.
    Exchanging Manhattan Island and the Spice Islands between Britain and the Netherlands is especially interesting. New Amsterdam became New York in 1667 because of spices!

    I have grown so accustomed to my curry taste that recently I do not often visit curry restaurants, Tasting others-making-one is very important to get idea I would like to taste SriLanka curry soon.