Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Sumo Restaurant, Chanko, Ramen and Beast Looking Like a Fool in Japan
While researching for the trip - I read that there was a restaurant inside the sumo hall that served Chanko. Chanko, the sumo wrestler's stew, is the main dish sumo wrestlers eat every day. It is a very healthy dish except that it is eaten in massive quantities with rice and beer.
SBeast wasn't daring enough to try the dish - even though I told her I read it should have chicken in it (at the tournament they only serve chicken in their Chanko because they want to be on twos and not on fours like a cow or with no legs like a fish)... she tried a bowl of the ramen.
The Chanko showed up on a large tray - in a large bowl on top of a burner and surrounded by several smaller bowls filled with various vegetables, a single egg, rice, and bamboo filled with some type of mush.
The first scare I had came when I looked into the bowl and saw that the chicken was raw, but I shortly noticed that it appeared to be cooking within the stew.
Next, I turned my attention to the bowls of vegetables... smelling each of them first to determine if they seemed okay to add to the bowl. After adding some rice - Syl let me know that the Japanese woman behind me, who was also eating Chanko, had just put the contents of the bamboo inside of the stew so I did the same(I have no idea what it was and even though I added it to the stew I didn't dare try it)...
Then Syl exclaimed "Oh - she just put her egg in there too"... so I quickly grabbed my egg and tossed it into the stew... I learned very quickly that I shouldn't be so literal with what she was telling me when the waitress came running towards the table saying "no, no, no, no..." - I shoved my hand into the stew and grabbed the egg - tossing it back into the bowl it had come from.
The waitress in her best English tried to explain - she cracked the egg into the bowl and pointed at the bowl. I was too scared and feeling quite stupid at this point that I didn't dare try the egg again... After the waitress left the table, I asked Syl what I was supposed to do to the egg and she very unhelpfully suggested I dip something into it, but seeing that it was raw this was not something I was willing to try.
We had many laughs and beer as quietly as we could while Syl tried to not pee all over herself... when we got up to check out of the restaurant, the waitress pointed to her stomach and asked us if we were full... we told her we were and of course Syl had to tell her we were confused by the egg... the waitress pointed to the stew and said "inside" and "like dessert"... a very interesting experience... the stew had a great flavor...
As we exited the restaurant even more confused - we headed out of the sumo hall and towards Ryogoku station so we could head to our next destination.