Last week one of my close high school friends visited Seoul with his wife. Joe and Mary (names changed to protect the innocent) just came for vacation to tour Korea and eat. A few weeks before Joe was coming to Korea he told me, "Dude, you know I'm only coming to Korea to eat, so just take me to your favorite places because I trust your taste."
Joe and our other friend, Joong, were known throughout Chicago for their incredible stomach capacity. During high school, if I ate with them, it was mainly at buffets. Chinese buffet, KFC buffet, Old Country Buffet, Wendy's buffet, Korean BBQ buffet, and so on. I know other cities don't have as many buffets or even knew that KFC actually had a buffet restaurant, but this is the City of Big Shoulders... and Joe and Joong. Though I was use to their eating habits, on rare occasions I would watch them eat and it would make me sick. Especially Joong since he was a couple levels above Joe. Joe stated that Joong had the largest stomach capacity out of anyone he has ever met.
Some background info... Joe was 6'1" and 260 lbs. during their prime eating years in college (about ten years ago) and Joong was 6'3" 290 lbs. There was a rumor on their campus that they both ate a box of ramen each in one night... 24 packs. I was talking with one of their old roommates about this and we both agreed that it was impossible. I've watched Joong eat his ramen snacks after dinner where he would take 4 packs, 8 eggs, bowls of rice, and side dishes. If he ate ramen in his usual manner, it would have been impossible. So my friend asked him later on if this rumor was true.
He started to laughed. "People are SO STUPID! Who could eat a box in one night in a normal manner? Joe and I, we split the box."
Obviously I laughed when I heard this, but started to get those queasy feelings from back in high school just visualizing Joong slurpping down that ramen.
There was a chicken wing & burger place that I still consider the best in the world, Buffalo Joe's in Evanston, IL. We use to think that they drugged the sauce in high school because after a few weeks you started to crave it again. It wasn't your typical hot sauce place. Most chicken wing places have a Tabasco-y base and I think most of them taste the same. You can go to places with the various flunky sauces (e.g. Thai, pizza, taco, etc.) but it isn't the same. Buffalo Joe's was this rich, buttery, hot sauce that just melted in your mouth.
Anyway, they had these party pans (larger 10-15 years ago, got cheaper as they made more money) that served 7-10 people, which was a "single", and a "double" that served 15-20. Usually 4 or 5 of us would eat a single party pan when we were hungry. On one rare occasion my friend, Pete, and I had a single pan with some struggle. Before I gained 40 lbs. after college, I was one of those thin, voracious eaters. At other places, with 10 cent wings nights, I could typically eat 40-50 wings, but I was just an ant compared with the colossus Joong was. One time he ate a whole single by himself, which usually had 120-150 wings! Joong, Joe, and Joe's younger brother would typically have a double party pan that had twice as many.
More stories for a later time...