The Ramen Challenge, Komachi Japanese Restaurant, Sydney, Australia

Saturday, May 20 2006 @ 04:01 pm UTC

Contributed by: Billy

128 people have attempted the Ramen Challenge, and only 12 have completed it successfully. That's a pretty exclusive group of supersized eaters! The challenge? Eat an enormous bowl of Ramen Noodles, and finish the soup, all within 60 minutes. Complete the challenge, and you'll get the meal free and receive a $50 voucher. Fail, and you have to pay $50 for the privilege! And thanks goes to "dibbz" and "mianos" for sending this one in!


Dr Hook once sang of the thrill of having your picture on the cover of Rolling Stone. They had obviously never heard of the Ramen Challenge. The Ramen Challenge is simple: eat a heart-stoppingly large bowl of noodles and as well as a $50 voucher, you get your picture in the shop window. Now do the maths. Rolling Stone is already up to issue 651. That's at least 651 different cover pictures. The ramen Challenge window has only 12 pictures, definitely the more prestigious choice.


The challenge

Everybody Loves Ramon!

And here's another article on the challenge, this time from the Sydney Morning Herald

The Shame Game
The task of devouring a giant bowl of food is too much for this champ

Japanese restaurant Komachi does not appear to be the sort of place where diners can suffer grevous bodily harm. Funnily enough, it looks just like a Japanese restaurant. But looks can be deceiving and Good Living is not here for any casual weekend lunch - we a re here for the Ramen Challenge, a crazy, basically stupid idea where patrons are encourage to eat a bathtub-sized bowl of ramen noodle soup in less than an hour.

The gigantic bowl of noodles

The warning bells start to go off when a waiver is produced by management of the Surry Hills restaurant absolving them from "health damages". Welcome to the world of competitive eating, a craze started in the US but whose champions are often small Japanese men who have pushed the envelope in food consumption.

The International Confederation of Competitive Eating is the body that promotes and records this "sport" and its website warns entrants to only compete in a controlled environment with an emergency medical technician present - "do not try speed eating at home".

Its champions include Takeru Kobayashi (44.5 hotdogs in 12 minutes) and Boyd Bulot (18 dozen oysters in 10 minutes).

The Ramen Challenge is daunting - one kilogram of ramen noodles in a miso-based soup with either chicken or port, to be consumed in less than an hour. Entering will set you back $50 but if you success it's free and a voucher for $50 is yours. It's a big if.

About 40 people have attempted the challenge and only six have their photos displayed on the restaurant's walls - they look like normal people and I can only assume they are still alive.

The winners wall, since this article, only 12 people have finished

My companion, Kathleen, has chosen pork noodle soup and can't wait to get stuck in. She is lean, fit and determined and proudly tells me about her preparation for the event - a large meal the night before to stretch her stomach and a very light breakfast this morning before a trip to the gym. She is starving.

I, on the other hand, am not lean, not fit and not at all sure about what we are attempting. The night before involved another kind of challenge - knocking back large quantities of beer with Kathleen's Boyfriend. I am not hungry at all and feel a little bit unwell. I've chosen chicken noodle soup.

Nothing can quite prepare you for the bowl of soup Kimachi presents to you. It's is simply massive, a bubbling cauldron of meat, vegetables and noodles, prepared by a team of cooks who have come out of the kitchen to laugh and make fun of our stupidity.

But Kathleen is away, vigorously stuffing fistfuls of noodles into her mouth like a professional noodle eater. Interesting technique, I think to myself, gingerly picking up a spoon and trying the soup. I figure the trick is to get rid of the liquid first then go hell for leather at the end.

The soup is thick with flavour but salty

So salty in fact, that the bottle of chilled water on the table looks very inviting. Before I can stop myself I've downed two glasses - fool! I'm wasting valuable gut-room. Stick to the soup.

After 20 minutes, I'm scared. The trough in front of me looks no less empty than when I started, whereas Kathleen's is noticeably shrinking with each mouthful she sucks up. At the half-hour mark I've barely eaten a third of the bowl and defeat is creeping up on me like a cold, cold stranger. Kathleen is fading also and as the hour comes around, she too is spent, with only half her bowl consumed.

Heavy with shame, we roll out of the restaurant. We are no samurai in the noodle-eating stakes. I really wanted my photo on that wall. (Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Nick Leys. A photo of the article is here)

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