Soba is one of the most famous noodle varieties in Japan alongside udon, soumen, and ramen. Whether served hot or cold, these buckwheat noodles are delicious in any form. If you are a fan of soba and would love to eat it to your heart’s content, then you’re in luck!
Wanko Soba Noodles, wanko meaning bowl in the local dialect, is a local favorite in Morioka and Hanamaki in Iwate. There are many establishments offering all you can eat wanko soba noodles with one of the most famous being Wanko Soba Azumaya.
When eating wanko soba, only a mouthful is served. But the idea is to eat as many servings as you can because your cup will constantly be refilled by nearby servers. At Wanko Soba Azumaya, there are also side dishes that are served like maguro sashimi, nameko oroshi, tori soboro and a whole lot more so that you won’t get sick of the flavor of wanko soba.
There are also a number of wanko soba eating contests and competitions. In Hanamaki, an annual wanko soba noodles competition is also held every February and there’s one also in Morioka. Right now, the record for the most consumed wanko soba noodles is around 500 cup servings. The wanko soba eating competition even reached the United States where Americans also participated.
The origin of the wanko soba came from the story of the landowner who held a festival in his land. In the old days, soba was a custom during festivals and the landowner had over a hundred villagers and guests who came to celebrate. Therefore, due to the large number of villagers, the servings of soba were portioned in small quantities to accommodate everyone, thus beginning the wanko soba tradition.
Food competitions are popular all around the world and it’s also a fun activity for those heavy eaters. So, if you’re living in Japan or planning a visit then why not invite your friends out for a wanko soba eating contest in Azumaya!
There are 4 restaurant locations in the Morioka area, so please check out the website for more information.