Check out the rhythmic movements! Try Wanko Soba today!

What makes Wanko Soba unique is that you eat it with a small bowl, you have your own personal server, and the noodles are warm. The way they add noodles is also unique. As soon as the customer finishes eating the bite-sized bunch of noodles, the server, patiently waiting next to the customer, adds another serving of noodles to the bowl. This series of movements continues until the customer gives up.

According to one theory, since long ago, there has always been a custom to serve noodles to guests. However, when there were too many guests, the hosts could not cook enough noodles in one sitting. They decided to start serving a small amount at a time, which later became known as Wanko Soba.

Wanko Soba on a video

Upon ordering Wanko Soba, a small bowl and spices are placed on your table. When you open the lid of the bowl in front of you, Wanko Soba begins. As soon as your bowl is empty, the next serving of noodles is rhythmically added, along with the server chanting, “Hai, Janjan!” “Sore, mou ippai (OK, one more serving)”. When you are finally full, you must place the lid back on your bowl before the next serving of noodles can be added. This is the signal to stop.

A bowl after the noodles have been eaten

A variety of Wanko Soba contests are held, including eating competitions. There is even a record of one person who consumed more than 500 servings. However, the original meaning behind Wanko Soba is not to eat quickly or in large quantities, so enjoy it at your own pace, mixing it with spices as you go.

There are many restaurants where you can experience Wanko Soba in both Morioka City and Hanamaki City in Iwate Prefecture. You can get there in about 2 hours on the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo. Visit Iwate and give it a try!