Just like the sumo wrestlers who prepare it, chanko nabe is huge and hearty. Chock-full of ingredients such as meat, tofu and vegetables, the stew was once eaten only by sumo wrestlers (rikishi) to help them gain weight during their training. Rikishi can even wolf down their chanko nabe with up to 10 bowls of rice! While you don’t have to eat that much, a steaming bowl of chanko nabe is perfectly nutritious and warming for cold nights.
Considered to be a type of yose nabe, chanko nabe includes ingredients such as meatballs, chicken, Chinese cabbage, potatoes and udon. These are cooked all at once in dashi flavoured with soy sauce, miso or sake. Beloved by sumo fans, chanko nabe restaurants can be found across Japan. Most of them have been started by retired wrestlers using the original recipes from their sumo stable. In Tokyo, you can try chanko nabe in the sumo district of Ryogoku.