Customers who finish everything, including the two-kilo topping of coriander, are rewarded with all-you-can-eat coriander for life.

If there’s a giant food challenge in Tokyo, you can rest assured our Japanese reporters will be on the scene. So when news emerged recently that Thai food-stall restaurant 999 (kaokaokao) was setting up a “Dynamite Ramen Challenge” involving noodle dishes topped with giant mountains of coriander, four of our most keen eaters took their empty bellies to the Nakano area of Tokyo and down a brightly lit side street to test their mettle.

▼ The well-lit entrance leads to a place where coriander-lovers can indulge their fantasies.


Once inside, our challengers put in the order for the biggest meal on the menu. The Dynamite Ramen Challenge is available for groups of four, and comes in three different sizes, each with a different reward on completion.


While an individual serving of ramen can be ordered for 999 yen (US$9.17), the special coriander-topped versions are the ones that reap big rewards. Groups who finish a dish of noodles with 400 grams (14 ounces) of the green herb will receive free all-you-can-eat coriander on their next visit, while those who eat an 800-gram-topped monster can get as much green leaf as they like for free for three months. Our team, however, was going all in for a chance at the grand prize: free coriander for life on completion of a dish with a 2 kilograms (70 ounces) of the topping.

▼ The noodles and 2-kilograms of coriander come with a price tag of 1,998 yen for each person, while the smaller 800-gram and 400-gram challenges are priced at 1,399 yen each and 1,199 yen each respectively.


▼ The gross weight of our team’s meal was a whopping 6.5 kilograms.



Our fighting four, emboldened by the awestruck faces of the diners around them, gathered all their strength for the feeding frenzy that lay ahead.


Mr Sato, the team member with the most experience in devouring eye-poppingly large meals, could hardly contain his excitement as he led his fellow troops into the thick mound of green.


With a 2.5 hour limit to finish the huge serving, our writers decided to proceed with a swift “search-for-the-noodle” manoeuvre to get to the carbohydrate-rich component of the meal immediately. The noodles actually tasted delicious along with the spicy Tom Yum soup, which helped to soften the coriander, making the mountain seem less difficult to conquer.



Still, it was a daunting task, as each member of the team continued to eat bowl after bowl of noodles, with each serving exponentially increasing in herb content.


Even P.K. Sanjun, the most coriander-loving of the bunch, found his fondness for the leafy herb quickly dissipating after an hour of chomping through the enormous dish.


▼ The team fought bravely, forcing mouthfuls of coriander into their systems until…


▼ …the group hit a wall.


With the ever-hungry Mr Sato flailing and unable to proceed any further, the group decided to add a different flavour, in the form of ice cream, as a palette cleanser to keep them going to the very end of the meal.


The taste of the cold dessert after all that coriander was so invigorating Mr Sato jumped out of his seat in jubilation, heaping praise on the ice cream as the best thing he’d ever eaten.


Yoshio, too, was exhilarated by the break from coriander. While they thought this would be the thing to keep them going, it turned out to be the group’s downfall, as the team soon after gave up the fight on the Dynamite Ramen Challenge.


After all that eating and persevering through the strong taste of coriander, and with just this much left in the enormous bowl, not one of our writers could bring themselves to eat any more. Even when the staff lamented the fact that they’d come so far, and encouraged them to keep going, it was impossible for them to lift even a leaf of coriander to their mouths. The fight was over and the green-topped beast had won.


Admittedly, some of our writers had only eaten coriander two or three times in their entire lives, so they did well to get through as much as they did in the end. Still, their sense of defeat was palpable and they’re hoping someone out there can slay through this meal and avenge their honour. If you or someone you know manages to defeat the beast, be sure to let us know!


タイ屋台999(カオカオカオ)/Thai Yatai 999 (kaokaokao)
Tokyo-to, Nakano-ku, Nakano 5-53-10
Hours: 5:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. (Closed Mondays)

Photos © RocketNews24
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