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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
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

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
    Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

    Dame Harriet Walter interview

    The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

    Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

    Bill Granger's winter salads

    Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
    England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

    George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

    No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
    Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links