Have you heard of the ‘sports icon’ Takeru Kobayashi? This Japanese man is one of the great champions of competitive eating (he’s now ranked second according to the International Federation of Competitive Eating, after an unheralded six years at the top). I watched him in action in the documentary Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating and I found it astounding that this small-framed, 73kg man, could eat so much, so quickly.
Sometimes I think that Don Don is trying to train up the next contender to win back Kobayashi’s crown. How quickly can you eat? This hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant is a fast food classic in the CBD – I challenge you to find anywhere else that is able to serve you teriyaki beef don, tofu curry don or a bento box in under one minute, before you’ve even had a chance to put your change back in your wallet. The kitchen and cash register are staffed by an assembly line of hyper international students (who have thankfully stopped shouting ‘irashaimase!’ at every entering customer) and the service is friendly and frantic.
In aid of the quick-in, quick-out philosophy of Don Don, the tiny stools and eating benchtops do not encourage diners to linger. In a loose time trial, I’ve managed to order and eat in five minutes, which means it’s perfect for a pre-cinema meal or lunch on the go (or if you’re training for competitive eating).
As you’d expect, the food isn’t the most refined Japanese food around, but I still think the rosette of salmon sashimi in the sashi don is beautifully presented, combined with the contrasting colours of tofu, fried beancurd, crisp salad greens, pink ginger and pickles. It’s filling and great value for $8.50.
- Don Don, 321 Swanston St, Melbourne +61 3 9662 3377