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An Insane Sumo Wrestling Food Event Is Coming to San Francisco

The food lineup is top-notch, from Liholiho Yacht Club, Jardiniere, and more

Wrestlers facing off in a Tokyo Grand Sumo tournament
Wrestlers facing off in a Tokyo Grand Sumo tournament
Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images

San Francisco has a lot of cool food events, highlighted in our regularly-updated events roundup, but occasionally some deserve an extra-special call out. Which is the case with the upcoming Sumo Stew, an incredibly intriguing event that stands out for its quirky confluence of activity, food, and drink (in a good way).

Part sumo wrestling viewing, part Japanese eating and drinking event, Sumo Stew started in New York City by two guys who wanted to find a way to watch sumo in the United States. Now in its 11th iteration, it’s coming to SF, and in a town obsessed with all things Japan, that means a pretty incredible lineup of food and drink. We’re talking food from Nick Balla and Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine, Motze), Ravi Kapur (Liholiho Yacht Club, Traci des Jardins (Jardiniere), Adam Tortosa (The Starling), and Shaun King (Pabu Izakaya). Plus, it’s taking place at Magnolia Brewing Company, so there are top-notch beers on hand, in addition to Sequoia sake, Nikka whiskey, and more.

A past Sumo Stew
A past Sumo Stew
Max Flatow

For $65, you get chankonabe, the “sumo stew” that wrestlers prepare and eat before matches. Balla and Burns will be in charge of that one, making a variation with charred chicken, chili egg, and sausage, while the remaining chefs are composing different small dishes for bento boxes, like spam teriyaki from Kapur and cold sesame noodles from Tortosa. The ticket price also includes three drinks (one beer and two others), and a portion of proceeds will go to the Japan Society for earthquake relief efforts.

The event was started by Harry Rosenblum and Michael Harlan Turkell, two New York-based food writers who fell in love with sumo while in Japan. The San Francisco event will be the first on the west coast, and they chose San Francisco because of the community they knew here. “There’s such an amazing communal cooking and eating culture that surrounds sumo, so Harry and I formed this to be a communal viewing and eating event. We had no idea it was going to take off like this,” Turkell told Eater SF.

The events take place every two months, since that’s when Japan hosts its 15-day-long Grand Sumo Tournaments. In 2017, every other event will rotate between NYC and a different city, with SF first up on Thursday, January 19. Head here for all the details and tickets.