Japan is well known for the prowess of its professional eaters, and one NNN variety show (streaming WMV, no subtitles) takes a look at a couple of restaurants offering unique challenges.
One eatery specializes in parfaits. They will stick nearly anything in a fancy glass—including one topped with an entire slice of cake. But their piece de resistance is the monstrous Bucket Parfait. Served in, quite literally, a metal bucket, the 4kg (not including the weight of the bucket) dessert consists of 3 liters of ice cream with assorted other confections plastered to the outside—among other things the better part of a pineapple, several other fruits, a few large ice cream cones, and about a box of pocky. It’s served sprouting several lit sparklers.
Surprisingly, it’s actually a popular item (among groups, obviously)—the owner (who has had carpal tunnel surgery from scooping so much hard ice cream) says he’s served as many as ten in a single day.
The TV show brings in a renowned eater—a woman who looks to weigh less than the parfait she’s challenging—to consume the beast. As it turns out, her enemy isn’t the size, but the fact that eating nearly a gallon of ice cream in one sitting makes you very, very cold. Solution? Hot packs on the back, and then eating a large plate of steaming curry and rice for a break from dessert. Yes, she stuck a full-sized dinner in there just to warm up. AND finishes up with the lunch special.
The show also takes a break midway to visit at an Okonomiyaki joint with one unusual menu item. Okonomiyaki is a popular Kansai-region food that is something like a dinner pancake—a variety of vegetables and meat mixed with batter and cooked on a griddle into a flat cake that is eaten with a sort of barbecue sauce. Okonomiyaki is usually about the size of your average pancake, but this restaurant also serves a pizza-sized 3kg plate that includes, among other things, ten eggs and an entire head of cabbage.
If you manage to eat it in 20 minutes, you not only get it free, but you even win a 1010 yen (about $8) prize. The show follows one slightly portly fellow on his second attempt to eat his way to victory. Unfortunately for him, the food wins again, so he goes home full but poorer.
The video is sans-subtitles, but pretty much speaks for itself. It will be available into July, so have a look if you’re so inclined.