Editor’s note: In our upcoming travel issue, food writer, photographer, podcast host and former Edible photo editor Michael Harlan Turkell sheds light on the traditional sumo wrestler diet. He’s the host of Sumo Stew: a series of dinners where guests stream a match from Japan while enjoying bento boxes made by outstanding local chefs, a hearty bowl of chankonabe (aka sumo stew), beer and Japanese spirits. The next #SumoStew happens tomorrow (July 19) at the Brooklyn Brewery—get your tickets here.
Whether or not you can make it, you can make chankonabe your own with these coloring book pages. Click the images to download the PDF, or keep an eye out for them in our next issue that hits streets in early September.
Chicken soup for a sumo wrestler is not only for the soul but also for strength and balance. A rikishi (wrestler) loses if any part of his body, other than the bottom of his feet, touches the ground or if he is pushed or thrown outside of the ring. With this in mind, a sumo believes that his chankonabe, or “sumo stew,” should have chicken as an ingredient, as to be like the bird, living on two feet. Eaten before matches, this fortifying bowl can be loaded with an array of meat and vegetables, with a second serving often enjoyed with noodles or rice.
Gaku Shibata, proprietor at Azasu, a sumo-themed bar in the Lower East Side, uses a signature sauce blend of soy sauce, dashi, bonito, scallion and egg yolk, with an array of assorted vegetables like napa cabbage, carrots, burdock root, negi (Japanese onions) and mixed mushrooms; the meats range from tsukune (meatball) and pork belly to fish cakes, clams and tofu. Phil Gilmour of Moku Moku in Bushwick has a “seasonal fowl” chankonabe, with a “heritage duck” iteration with fried goose wings and fresh udon that will ready you to fight, or take nap, as sumo do.