How many calories does a sumo wrestler consume in one day? A typical sumo wrestler eats a daily diet of 10,000 calories and upwards. The recommended daily intake for a healthy, active male is 2,500 calories. Sumos eat more than four times what a normal male eats and all of it’s done in two massive meals (lunch and dinner).
Chanko-nabe (stew) is the main food consumed by sumo wrestlers. The base is dashi, the broth made with seaweed and bonito flakes that is a cornerstone of Japanese cooking. Miso, garlic and mirin are added next. The stew’s main ingredients are heaps of proteins, singularly nor a combination chicken, beef, fish or tofu. Vegetables such as cabbage, potatoes, mushrooms, bok choy and radishes are also a large part of this staple. The recipe is tweaked during tournament season towards chicken. Chanko-nabe is made exclusively with chicken since the tradition is that sumo wrestlers should always be on two legs like a chicken, not all fours.
The Chanko-nabe stew’s origins are vague. Its linguistic roots likely refer to father (chan) and child (ko), an allusion to the relationship between a stable master and his sumos. Nabe means pot.
There are no weight restrictions or classes in Sumo. Given that weight can make a real difference to a match outcome sumo wresters pretty much want to be as big as possible so they can use their weight to push around opponents. The average weight of a top-level wrestler is around 350 pounds (158 kg), though Konishiki Yasokichi, the heaviest sumo ever, tipped the scale at 600-plus.
Sumo wrestlers are remarkably fit, thanks to rigorous exercise and an enigmatic dietary regime. They exercise on an empty stomach from early morning and have only two meals per day: a main meal at noon and a lighter evening meal. Following the large mid-day meal, the sumo wresters take a long, well-deserved nap to maintain his fat.
When sumo wrestlers retire from the sport, some become actors, some pop stars, and some open chanko-nabe restaurants. Lots of former sumo wrestlers open up restaurants that specialize in chanko-nabe because after all, they had years of experience making the stuff.
These restaurants are usually around the Ryogoku area of Tokyo, the Mecca of sumo wrestling that includes a huge sumo stadium and many sumo stables. For example, located near the sumo stadium known as the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Hananomai Sumo Themed Restaurant offers all you can drink and eat, within a set menu format. In the middle of the restaurant lies a real sumo ring or dohyo. Performers, musicians, singers and retired sumo wrestlers use the ring to entertain diners. The menu is sumo inspired, specialising in their own rendition of chanko-nabe.
Hananomaki takes visitors back to the Edo Period when sumo culture flourished. The décor includes sliding screens and antique-styled storefronts with tiled roofs, and artwork made in the Japanese woodblock print style.
The historic district is home to the majority of Japan’s professional sumo stables as well as the Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo’s major sumo hall where multiple official tournaments are held each year.