Hong Kong’s International Burger Eating Competition draws competitive eaters and their fans to Wan Chai fast food restaurant

Contestants at Wan Chai restaurant put their stomachs to the test to see who could finish the eight-patty burger or plate of spicy hot wings the fastest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 June, 2017, 1:03pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 June, 2017, 11:57am

The heat was on at Wan Chai fast food restaurant Burger Joys’ speed-eating contest. Sweating spectators blocked foot traffic outside the tiny burger bar on Lockhart Road as contestants wolfed down saucy hot wings and gigantic grease-laden burgers in the hope of winning a cash prize and bragging rights.

Twenty-four contestants were selected from hundreds of applicants to take part in one of two challenges: eating the most hot wings in four minutes, and racing to demolish an eight patty, 1,800-calorie burger, complete with oozing cheese and all the trimmings.

Techniques varied widely during the chicken challenge: some chose to simply gnaw the meat off the bone, while others pulled the flesh away before rolling it into a ball and stuffing it into their mouths.

In the end, it came down to raw chewing power and good preparation. Vlogger Justin Chan, who was crowned victor after scoffing 22 wings, said he had been training for weeks.

“Every day I drank and ate increasing amounts of food and water so my stomach could expand. I’d eat so much that I’d pass out sweating,” he said.

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“My technique was putting the wing width-ways into my mouth and pulling the two bones apart while tearing all the meat off. I slowed down in the last 45 seconds but just concentrated on putting the meat in my mouth and letting it slide down my throat. I wanted to get it down to six seconds a wing.”

As the towering burgers slid off the griddle onto contestants’ plates on Sunday, it didn’t look likely that anyone would finish within the 20-minute limit. However, Natalie Wood won the women’s round after finishing her burger in seven minutes, 54 seconds.

Wood said her victory came after “years and years” of practice. She said she had looked to the internet for speed eating tips. “I had a huge meal last night and drank 10 glasses of water this morning,” she said, adding that even up to the final few bites, she wasn’t sure she had won.

But the fastest eater of the day was men’s winner Nicholas Cheung, who destroyed his burger in three minutes, two seconds with room for more. “I could still eat!” he said, moments after the challenge ended.

It was Cheung’s first foray into the world of speed eating, something he’d always wanted to try after friends remarked on how fast he ate.

Revealing his strategy was simply “eat and swallow”, Cheung said he’d completed a trial run, eating three Big Macs in under three minutes and watched videos of speed eating king Takeru Kobayashi, so felt confident going into the competition.

“When I saw how big some of the guys were today I felt pretty scared! But I just shoved [the food] in while drinking water, I didn’t really think.”