The world of competitive eating seems to get more bizarre by the year. The ‘mainstream’ hot dog and dry cracker eating contests have been out-weirded by challenges to eat stinging nettles, crocodile eggs and so much more.
But the mother of all eating contests started over 300 years ago in Japan. And now, competitive eating of the traditional Japanese noodle dish Wanko Soba sits at the heart of the tradition.
Taking place in Morioka, northern Japan, the competition involves eating small bowl after small bowl of cold noodles. The world record currently stands at 559 bowls — which is a lot of noodles, however small the bowls are.
This unusual tradition started back in the 17th century when the local lord, Nambu Toshinao, arrived at an inn. The inn’s owners were worried their noodles were too rustic for such an august personage — so they found a way to ‘posh’ the dish up, by serving it in small, dainty bowls.
The lord loved the Wanko Soba dish so much that he ordered bowl after bowl. After that, it became fashionable to serve a stream of small portions until the guests were full. It was just a stretch from there to add an element of competition… and a tradition was born.
24 keeps the snacks flowing…
At 24 competitive eating runs more along the lines of seeing someone else enjoying your favourite treat, drink, sandwich or heat-to-eat meal — and then wanting one for yourself. And we’ve definitely got a whole range of small and delicious snacks for you to choose from. They just don’t come in bowls.
So to keep your people fuelled up and happy, use your noodle and get a 24.