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Fame and celebrity

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut not the only crazy glutton – meet five others who stretch their stomachs in pursuit of a crown

Being able to eat 74 hot dogs, including buns, in 10 minutes is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to competitive eating contests. Meet five other gluttons who push their stomachs to the limit

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 July, 2018, 10:15am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 July, 2018, 2:37pm

It’s a story that’s a little hard to stomach: a man eats 74 hot dogs, including buns, in 10 minutes.

The feat belongs to professional glutton Joey Chestnut, who on July 4 – Independence Day in the US – smashed the wiener eating record at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in New York.

The 11-time champion of the annual contest is one of the world’s best known competitive eaters, but he’s certainly not alone when it comes to making headlines. We recall five others who can swallow staggering amounts of food in a short time frame.

1. Takeru Kobayashi

When talking about competitive eating, that’s no way you can skip Takeru Kobayashi, the Japanese glutton who’s put the obscure sport firmly in the spotlight. In 2001, he made his name by doubling Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest’s previous record of devouring 25 hot dogs in 12 minutes. He did this all while being the slight weight of 59kg (131 pounds). In the process, he beat 19 fellow contestants from the US, Japan, Germany, Canada and England.

High-speed burrito eaters compete to munch their way to glory

Apparently no one was expecting him to smash the record to the extent he did. He ate so many wieners that organisers actually ran out of signs used to display the number of hot dogs eaten. They instead had to manually write his total. Kobayashi was champion for the following five years.

Today, he is the holder of eight Guinness World Records for eating, among other things, meatballs, tacos, hamburgers, pizza, ice cream and pasta. For his victory in a 2014 pizza eating championship in Canada, Kobayashi ate 62 slices in 12 minutes.

2. Nela Zisser

Nela Zisser, a New Zealand model, entered the competitive eating arena in 2013 when, at just 21 years of age, she entered a pizza-eating contest in her home country, and beat “19 big guys” to win the title. As well as eating competitions, Zisser has takencompetitive eating to YouTube, frequently posting videos of her culinary challenges, such as when she ate 22 McDonald’s Big Macs in under an hour. Other videos feature her eating Subway sandwiches, Japanese dumplings and burritos.

3. Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas

Slim-built Sonya Thomas is a Korean-born American who earned the nickname Black Widow for constantly defeating men twice her size in eating contests. Her competitive eating covers all manor of food, from Buffalo wings, tacos and moon pies, to turkey meat, oysters and cakes. She holds the record for oysters, having downed 445 in five minutes in 2013. The 51-year-old has also downed 15 extra large, hard-boiled eggs in one minute, and 165 chicken wings in 12 minutes.

4. Kevin Thomas Strahle (L.A. Beast)

While many other professional competitive eaters actively participate in all kinds of eating contests around the world, Kevin Thomas Strahle, also known as the LA Beast, largely confines his challenges to the internet. He has gained fame for uploading videos of him eating bizarre things such as an entire watermelon (including the rind), 27 ghost peppers, and 50 cloves of raw garlic. YouTube once banned him for three months for a live stream of him eating a cockroach.

The best way to eat corn on the cob

A post shared by Furious Pete (@furiouspete) on May 29, 2018 at 12:43pm PDT

5. Peter Czerwinski (Furious Pete)

The Canadian competitive eater, born in 1985, holds the records for being the fastest person to down three chocolate eclairs (18 seconds) and 15 Ferrero Rocher chocolates (2 minutes 22 seconds). He is also the record holder for being the fastest person to eat a hot dog without using hands (23 seconds), and eating the most Cadbury Creme Eggs in one minute. In 2012, he took part in season one of Canada's Got Talent, on which he ate five hard-boiled eggs, three pieces of Canadian bacon, and two bananas, and drank a sachet of milk, all in 51 seconds.

Competitive eating in Hong Kong

Has all this talk about competitive eating wet your appetite?

Speed eating enthusiasts who want to feel the heat of competition can get involved in an eating contest this Sunday from 2pm at Burger Joys in Wan Chai. Entrants will take on either a hot wings challenge, an 8-patty beefburger stack, or a vegetarian mushroom burger. Spectators can take advantage of a special drinks deal while watching their friends stuff themselves silly. For more information, see the event page.