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Chanko nabe

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Chanko nabe is Japanese style hot pot cooking which is a traditional cuisine eaten among sumo wrestlers living in sumo stables. Chanko is a general term for any cuisine made by sumo wrestlers, but the most well known one is chanko nabe.

There are basically four different kinds of flavors for chanko nabe. Chiri-nabe style, simply boils ingredients with hot water to enjoy the natural taste of the ingredients. Yose-nabe style, uses salt as a main seasoning. Miso style uses broth and seasoning such as soy sauce, sake, and miso. Soup style uses chicken broth as main flavor.

The ingredients vary depending on each sumo stable. For example, at Tamanoi stable, ingredients such as chicken thigh, bacon, sausage, Chinese cabbage, and mushrooms. At Takanohana stable, Chinese cabbage, green onion, burdock root, mushrooms, sliced pork, fried tofu, rice cake, and meatballs are ingredients used.

It is said that eating chanko nabe is one of the jobs for sumo wrestlers, because it keeps them heavy weighted. Chanko nabe is made by lower rank sumo wrestlers in the stable. Wrestlers called chanko ban make chanko nabe, and the leader called chanko-cho leads the making. There is a saying that sumo wrestlers who make the best chanko nabe cannot advance their ranking. But this is because they obtain higher skills to make chanko nabe being chanko-ban for a long time.

There are many chanko nabe restaurants that serves delicious chanko nabe, and many are owned by former sumo wrestlers who experienced being chanko-ban. The area which has the most chanko nabe restaurants is Ryogoku where the main sumo stadium Kokugikan is located.


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