When speaking of delicious Japanese winter food, “o-nabe” or “nabemono” (meaning hot pot) is one of the most popular meals. Among uncountable types of hot pot, “chanko nabe” is very popular as a nutritionally balanced hot pot dish that sumo wrestlers eat on a daily basis. “TOKITSU NADA” in Kanda Nishikicho is a full-fledged “chanko nabe” restaurant opened by a former sumo wrestler.
The restaurant is a 4-minute walk from Otemachi Station. When you open the wooden sliding door at the entrance to enter into the bright and cozy space, it’s also like entering a sumo stall. Sumo items such as lanterns, official ranking lists, and a big ceremonial keshō-mawashi (loincloth) make you feel like visiting a sumo stall.
The specialty of this restaurant, which is overwhelmingly popular on gourmet ranking websites, is “Kurobuta and Jidori no Shiomi Chanko Nabe”, which is chicken and pork chanko nabe with a salty flavor. The menu features also many original dishes that go well with sake.
Due to the big size of the dish, chanko nabe is usually shared by a group of people. At this restaurant during dinner time, you can order hot pot when ordering for at least two people. Since chanko nabe is voluminous, you don’t need to order for the whole number of people (meaning that you can order for two or three people even though four people will be sharing the hot pot, etc.).
(* At lunch hours, you may also order a “chanko nabe lunch set” for one person which is a great option when you want to try chanko nabe on your own.)
So of course, my friend and I had the chanko nabe. After a while, the staff brought a huge pot with meat and vegetables to the table and prepared everything for us.
The salty chanko nabe had a very rich taste thanks to the soup stock containing chicken, pork, and vegetables. The carrots and radishes that the staff added during cooking absorbed a lot of the delicious soup. They were just perfect: so tender and delicious!
In Japan, it is common to eat a final dish called “shime” with the remaining soup after eating the ingredients of the pot. At this restaurant, you can choose from two types, somen noodles and rice porridge. Since we were curious about both options, we just ordered both!
The porridge had yam added which made the texture very fluffy. It was honestly the most delicious “shime” porridge I have ever eaten. So if you would ask me which “shime” dish you should order, I would actually recommend…both!
Surrounding a large hot pot with family and friends on a chilly night and enjoying authentic chanko nabe while having a good time is the ultimate culinary Japanese culture experience. Have a nice winter season – of course with a delicious hot pot!