The second half of June is set to be a bumper month for fans of competitive eating (we believe there are some), with Nathan's Famous hunting down China's hot dog-eating champion with a wurst-munching contest on June 18, and the 2011 edition of the Beijinger Hot Chilli Pepper Eating Contest the following Saturday, June 25.
Nathan's Famous are bringing the undisputed world champion of speedy hot dog eating, Joey Chestnut, over to Beijing to join Hatsune owner Alan Wong and former Maison Boulud GM Ignace Lecleir on the judging panel for the June 18 contest, which will take place at the Wanliu BHG Mall all the way up by the Bagou subway station at the western end of Line 10. Chestnut will also be taking part in an "exhibition" event on June 17 - we'll have more on that nearer the time, but we take it that means Chestnut and other special guests gulping down some hot dogs as public entertainment.
The top three eaters in the China contest will have their gluttony rewarded with an all-expenses paid trip to New York City, where they'll take part in a July 4 contest at Coney Island. Today's the last day for participants to register, so if you're interested get over to Nathan's website. Oh yeah, just one rule - you've got to be a Chinese national aged over 18, with previous experience of traveling abroad and a valid passport, to enter. Life's just not fair on us laowais.
Ah well, the hot dog fans among you will take some joy from the news that Nathan's Famous is about to launch two new Beijing branches - one at the Wanliu BHG Mall (OK, a bit far away for most readers) and the other more centrally located in the Raffles City mall at Dongzhimen.
If you're really gutted about missing out on the Nathan's contest due to your waiguoren status, fear not, because the Beijinger's Canada Day Chilli Pepper Eating Contest on June 25 is open to all! Ten chilli warriors will battle it out in the ultimate taste bud endurance test at the Canadian International School from 3pm, with thousands of RMB worth of vouchers for "spicy" restaurants including Ganges, Punjabi, Taj Pavilion, Mughal's, Purple Haze, Mirch Masala and Casa Latina up for grabs. Top prize is an RMB 2,000 Ganges voucher, with an additional RMB 500 voucher for Punjabi thrown in there for good measure.
If you're interested in taking part, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. There'll also be other fun stuff going on at the event, so even if you're just going along to watch you'll be sure of a good time. Advance tickets are RMB 150 for adults, RMB 60 for kids aged 5-12 and free for kids under 4. If you buy your tickets on the day of the event, it's RMB 160 a pop. Can anyone steal the chilli champ crown from reigning champion Gabriel "Leadbelly" Monroe? If you think you can, sign up. Then embark on a regime of drinking coffee infused with chilli peppers for the next month.
For a bit of inspiration to get you in the mood, check out this video of Joey Chestnut taking on Shaquille O'Neal ...