While studying abroad in San Francisco, Sumiyoshi found a part-time job at a Thai restaurant. Despite having never tasted Thai cuisine he soon became addicted to the exotic and spicy flavors. He continued to work in Thai restaurants for over four years, learning recipes and cooking tips from native professional Thai chefs. It was then that he first dreamt of opening his own Thai restaurant back in Fukuoka. After visiting friends in Thailand where he further honed his culinary skills, he returned to Fukuoka and opened Osha (Thai for delicious) a few minutes walk from Ohashi Station. Unlike many other Thai restaurants the interior is neither ornate nor filled with ethnic trinkets. The emphasis here is on the food. The main menu boasts 50 dishes ranging from well-known favorites such as Som Tum (green papaya salad), green curry, and Tom Yum Goong, but also many other lesser-known Thai dishes like Yanta Fo, a tomato-base rice noodle dish with tofu, fried wanton, and many spices. Even Sumiyoshi says it’s “too Thai for me too!” All the herbs and spices are sourced from Thailand, and if they aren’t available, the dish is pulled from the menu. No substitutions, no compromises. But the real pride of the shop is their menu of 16 Thai noodle dishes. Thin, fat, rice, wheat, in a soup or stir-fried, Osha is noodle heaven! It’s no wonder so many Thai natives in the city make the journey to Osha. Lunch service has recently started and for those who want to try their hand at cooking Thai at home they also stock and sell a wide variety of Thai ingredients. For oishi and unpretenious Thai, be sure to try Osha.
Abe Bldg. 1F 1-23-21 Ohashi, Minami-ku, Fukuoka
Open: 11:30 ~ 14:00 / 18:00 ~ 24:00
Prices: Pakkimao 800 yen, Sauteed Pork and Vegetables with Coconut Milk 850 yen, Gaototto 680 yen, Green Curry 780 yen, Noodle Lunch (noodles, fresh spring rolls, and drink or dessert) 880 yen, Chang Beer 600 yen
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn73, Jan. 2005)