International hot dog eating contest recruits Chinese contestants

A uniquely American tradition of wolfing down as many hot dogs as humanly possible landed in China for the first time last weekend, where locals relished the challenge and spectators looked on in a mixture of bewilderment and awe.

For the first time this year, the 96th annual Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest, held every Fourth of July on Coney Island, took their qualifying circuit internationally to Beijing, China where competitors took to the podium last Saturday for the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to New York and compete against the world's best competitive-eating champions.

To help inaugurate the first hot dog eating contest in China, four-time champion Joey Chestnut, a professional competitive eater, also participated in the dress-rehearsal to the big event July 4, eating 39 hot dogs in five minutes. Chestnut, a native of San Jose, California, holds the record for eating 68 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

By comparison, starter attempts by the Chinese contestants were described by media accounts as novice at best: the winner, Chris Lam, 32, ate 16 hot dogs in 10 minutes, runner-up Lu Mingkui downed 13 hot dogs, and Wang Ranglong came in third gobbling 12. They will be flown to New York to compete against other qualifiers from the US.

In his report for CNBC News, reporter Ed Flanagan also noted that China's first-time competitive eaters were on "unfamiliar ground."

When Lam began using a technique employed by veteran competitors and dunked the buns in water before stuffing the wet bread in his mouth, Lam's rivals simply stopped eating to watch him, much to the chagrin of the Major League Eating representative who tried in vain to egg the competitors on, Flanagan reported.

He also noted that one competitor only managed to eat three dogs, while another managed six or seven before throwing in the towel.

"Nobody ever said Rome would be built in a day," he concluded.

The staging of the eating contest in China was also to build visibility in the country, as Nathan's plans to set up 80 to 100 stores in the next 10 years, reports China Daily. They currently have four locations in Beijing.

Nathan's serves fast-food fare like its signature hot dogs topped with chili and cheese, hamburgers, Philly cheesesteaks, corn dogs on a stick, and chicken tenders.

The event on Coney Island draws about 40,000 attendees every year. For the first time this July, Nathan's will host a separate women's division. Organizers drew fire, however, when they initially offered just $2,500 for the grand prize female winner - a fraction of the men's prize. The ensuing uproar prompted organizers to up the pot to equal their male counterpart at $10,000.

The Fourth of July contest will be aired live on sports channel ESPN.

Nathan's Famous started on Coney Island and now has 234 restaurant locations across the US. Their hot dogs are also sold in 18,000 locations worldwide.

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before