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Journey to Tokyo: Keep bringing the noodles

As we countdown to the Summer Olympics, we take an up-close look at one of Japan's most popular foods, Wanko soba.

TOKYO, Japan — If you are craving spectacular scenery in Japan, come to the northern part of the Olympic host country. Apple orchards cover the rolling hills, where you can also see the spectacular Sea of Japan.  

When you have an appetite for good food, stop in Morioka. That's because one Japanese man has a restaurant designed to fill you up. In the kitchen, they're making Japanese noodles called Wanko soba.

"The internet said this was the best atmosphere and the most delicious noodles., so we chose this restaurant," said one man.

Come hungry because you'll be eating a lot. The goal is to keep bringing the noodles. Servers bring out bowls and bowls and bowls of Wanko soba noodles.

If you are eating, they will keep serving and encouraging you to eat more.

"Usually, men eat 50-60 bowls. When they eat more than 100 bowls, we give the customer a certificate that shows how many bowls they ate," said the restaurant owner.

We saw everybody at one table eat at least 100 bowls of noodles. But the restaurant record is staggering: A woman once ate 570 bowls of soba noodles in one hour.

I decided to hold my own eating contest with the restaurant owner and my interpreter. We ate and ate and ate.

After just 20 bowls, I felt myself slowing down, but the server never slows down — they keep bringing the noodles. She will keep serving until your bowl is empty. When you've had enough, you put the lid on the bowl.

I only ate 53 bowls of soba noodles, and I was stuffed. My interpreter, however, kept eating with a smile on his face.

"This is not leisure. This is becoming a torture," he joked.

He ate 112 bowls of soba noodles, while the restaurant owner ate 150 bowls of soba noodles. That's a lot of noodles but still far shy of the record of 570 bowls.

When you come to this part of Japan, take your time and enjoy the sights, but when it comes to lunch, it is fast and furious. There are bowls to devour, and there is plenty for everybody!

Click on the media player to see Scott Swan dine with two people who each ate more than 100 bowls of noodles that day, and use the links below to see even more of Scott's Journey to Tokyo!


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