there's no time to remove the bones. just eat the whole thing!
February 3, 2012 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Competitive eater, Takeru Kobayashi, set a new record today, devouring 337 wings in a scant thirty minutes, at Wing Bowl XX (wiki).
Every wonder how he prepares for these events?
Kobi thought it was right for his body to eat at least 200 wings every day he's been in Philly for the entire week leading up to the big competition on February 3rd -- aside from today, when he’ll eat like a “normal person” to rest his throat for tomorrow. You do the math and Kobi will have eaten well over 1,000 wings this week. That's before the competition even starts.

There's some video of the event here, but, none of the actual gorging of food (thank goodness), but, there are some terrible 30 second ads :(
Also, Who's Who at Wing Bowl XX, with quite the list of personalities.
posted by yeoz (49 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
philly.com has pictures of the event, but you have to click through almost 200 pictures of scantily clad women before you got to even one picture of what was, ostensibly, the whole point of the Wing Bowl.

Stay classy, philly.com, stay classy.
posted by oddman at 8:15 AM on February 3, 2012


Here I was thinking this couldn't be more repulsive, until I saw that the organisers though it a great idea to surround the eaters with 'babes'. Pure class, through and through.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 8:15 AM on February 3, 2012


It made me all kinds of sad when I went to the philly.com sports section a couple of days ago and saw both Wing Bowl and lingerie football getting higher billing than the 76ers absolutely destroying the Chicago Bulls at home.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:16 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's time to really make these eating competitions more interesting. Like make Kobayashi eat his way out of a vat full of live chicks at a factory farm. Or maybe see who can take the longest pulls off of a sausage maker. I mean, if they're going to make a game out of eating living things they might as well go the whole hog.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 AM on February 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


As the local winner, Squibb [the 26-year-old eater from South Jersey] was awarded a Chevy Camaro automobile.

Now you're just playing into stereotypes.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:16 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I approve of both chicken wings and attractive women.
posted by Trurl at 8:17 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


A bit of searching indicates the average chicken wing contains approximately 100mg of sodium, so that's 33700 mg in one sitting. The recommended daily allowance for an adult male is 1500 mg, so that's somewhere between 20 and 25 days' worth of sodium in half an hour. How is this guy still alive?
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:19 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


philly.com has pictures of the event, but you have to click through almost 200 pictures of scantily clad women before you got to even one picture of what was, ostensibly, the whole point of the Wing Bowl.

That's what I call determination.
posted by swift at 8:21 AM on February 3, 2012


Poison every thousandth chicken wing, really poison it, and I will tune this in.
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 8:26 AM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've always wanted to go to Wing Bowl as it sounds totally fucking absurd. I always forget though.
posted by josher71 at 8:26 AM on February 3, 2012


Kobi thought it was right for his body to eat at least 200 wings every day he's been in Philly for the entire week leading up to the big competition on February 3rd -- aside from today, when he’ll eat like a “normal person” to rest his throat for tomorrow.

That's...probably not very good for you. You know, like in the long run?
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:30 AM on February 3, 2012


The Buffalo Wing Festival holds a wing eating competition, too, if you're interested in watching people eat lots of wings without the T&A.

Wing Bowl sounds NUTS, though, and the participant names are hilarious. I can't decide which one I like better, "Wing Kong" or "Unknown Eater."
posted by troika at 8:31 AM on February 3, 2012


Well, we can all dine on a nice relaxed plate of schadenfreude when the dude dies of colon cancer.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:31 AM on February 3, 2012


How much meat on each wing?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:32 AM on February 3, 2012


The Card Cheat pointed out what this guy is putting into his body at just one sitting, and the week before that we know he was also going whole hog on those chicken wings. I can only imagine how detrimental several years has to be to his body.

Anyone know what the typical run is for a pro eater? Do they do this for a couple years, or is it more like a decade?

I hope some serious documentaries are made, following these professional eaters long-term, so we can see what living like this does to their health over time.
posted by misha at 8:32 AM on February 3, 2012


I wonder about potential discrepancies in how this massive amount of food is prepared, and additional questions about the legitimacy of the event in general. Like, if you fried wings in a certain oil, are they easier to quickly consume? Are they even fried? Maybe they're broiled or something? They have to be overcooked to make that meat fall off the bone more quickly, but what if one competitor gets a batch of slightly undercooked wings? Could some sinister competitor conspire with a chef to receive wings that were slightly scrawnier? Or get the chef to use heavier oil or dredge them in an extra layer of flour? Could they request wings from chickens that have been humanely bred, without the use of antibiotics?

Basically, I have all these questions, and looking at pictures of half-naked ladies is not answering any of them.
posted by antonymous at 8:32 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


How much for one rib?
posted by mattbucher at 8:35 AM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


You got change for a hundred?
posted by Four Flavors at 8:37 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


philly.com has pictures of the event, but you have to click through almost 200 pictures of scantily clad women before you got to even one picture of what was, ostensibly, the whole point of the Wing Bowl.

Oh you, and you're high-brow pooh-poohing.

Look at from a cultural perspective, the Wing Bowl is Philadelphia's Carnival.

In fifty years, grandparents will wistfully recall memories of their first Wing Bowl...
The chicken... the girls...
Those were the halcyon days of the America I remember...
those were the days... :*)
posted by lemuring at 8:39 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burhanistan: "Well, we can all dine on a nice relaxed plate of schadenfreude when the dude dies of colon cancer."

Wow, that's a little harsh. This is an insane pastime, but I certainly don't wish death on this guy. Mostly I just feel sad that there are people who think this is a fun thing to do (or watch someone else do), knowing it can't possibly be good for them.

Also, when you talk about making a game of "eating living things", I'm not sure what you mean. The pigs aren't exactly alive when they're eating them. Would you feel better if they were eating vegetables--also living things before we cook them--or do you want them to eat rocks instead?
posted by misha at 8:41 AM on February 3, 2012


The Card Cheat pointed out what this guy is putting into his body at just one sitting, and the week before that we know he was also going whole hog on those chicken wings. I can only imagine how detrimental several years has to be to his body.

If you've ever seen Kobayashi's body, he's absolutely ripped, and he supposedly maintains a very rigorous workout routine, so he obviously takes time to try and minimize any damage done to his body by the eating competitions.
posted by gyc at 8:42 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wings have a lot more cleavage than I remember.
posted by DU at 8:43 AM on February 3, 2012


[more inside]

Indeed.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:43 AM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anyone know what the typical run is for a pro eater? Do they do this for a couple years, or is it more like a decade?

I don't know about typical, but looking on Wikipedia Kobayashi has been at it since at least 2001, when he first won the hot dog eating thing. I've always assumed he's just got some really freaky physiology going on.

Joey Chestnut, one of Kobayashi's main competitors, apparently had his "breakout performance" in 2005.

What I want to see is a chicken wing contest with those nuclear wings you can get at some wing places. Forget the amount of sodium, I want to know how much capsaicin they can take.
posted by kmz at 8:45 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apparently he has some kind of system where he would break the wing at a certain point and the meat would just fall right off the bone, and right into his mouth. Maybe something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRcOY-PvOC8
posted by yeoz at 8:47 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Usually I defend my home city when people talk about stupid shit that happens there.

But, um, not this time.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:48 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did someone say Capsaicin?
posted by lemuring at 8:48 AM on February 3, 2012


Would you feel better if they were eating vegetables--also living things before we cook them--or do you want them to eat rocks instead?

I would watch a competition where people had to eat rocks. Does that make me a bad person?
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:53 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember reading an article in Gourmet back in the eighties - when I was a mere slip of a girl - in which the writer talked about how he was going on some intentionally super-high-cholesterol kick, eating all these fancy but terrible-for-you foods in large quantities and a short timespan. He said that he'd been to the doctor and had found that he had a really fast metabolism and extremely low cholesterol and specifically dis-recommended his project to most people. I am choosing to assume that these competitive eater dudes are basically freaks of nature rather than food-suicidal. Although the salt worries me, because you actually can get salt poisoning regardless of how good your metabolism is.
posted by Frowner at 8:54 AM on February 3, 2012


> Also, when you talk about making a game of "eating living things", I'm not sure what you mean.

Really? I mean that people are making a game out of eating things that were alive. I have no problems with people eating meat when it's done responsibly and ethically. But just to gorge wing after wing for the amusement of onlookers is a pretty heinous use of once living tissue.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:59 AM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


But just to gorge wing after wing for the amusement of onlookers is a pretty heinous use of once living tissue.

I agree. Eating contests are one of the more repulsive activities that humans indulge in. Not as immoral as dogfighting or a lot of other low life things, but still a symptom of a deep cultural sickness.
posted by Liquidwolf at 9:05 AM on February 3, 2012


rather than food-suicidal

Foodicidal.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:12 AM on February 3, 2012


No, foodicidal is when you start spending your rent money on superfluous Williams-Sonoma gear and boutique spices.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:15 AM on February 3, 2012


I have personally eaten 89 chicken wings in one sitting. What follows should not be read near a meal.

This happened when I was 18 or 19. A local wing shop offered an all-you-can-eat special for $20 on Tuesdays, and they had the record on a chalkboard for that location. I think it was in the sixties.

I flew through twenty wings, forty wings, and I was feeling great at fifty. It was then that I made the horrible decision to go for the gold. At sixty wings I began to ask for different flavors. I began to mix the chicken with a little sweet tea to give it a different texture, and with each successful swallow, each new bite sent bizarre signals to my brain: "Stop it. This is poison. You're going to die," my brain said, but I continued to eat.

At 70 wings, a bite began to take minutes. I had to take my autonomous swallowing function by surprise: otherwise, I couldn't even close my mouth.

The last 9 wings were hell. My stomach had swollen and I felt like the earth was resting on my insides, about to pop my kidneys. I was sure my gut was filled with salmonella and hot sauce and it was going to cause irreparable damage to all of my vital organs. I couldn't breathe unless I reclined in my chair. And the 90th wing sat there, taunting me, but I was acutely and undoubtedly aware that the next bite would be the first one to come back up out of many, so I threw in the towel instead. But my name went up on the board: Dean Klear, 89.

I had a friend drive me back to my apartment while I wailed in pain, fully prostrate in the passenger seat. And after about thirty minutes of sweating, and pleading, and cursing, I realized that there was no avoiding it. There was only one way this horrible mass of chicken flesh was going to come out.

The only thing worse than heaving up pounds of food is making the mistake of not being careful of what you empty everything into. And after the most relieving hurl of my life, I was confronted with what I affectionally dubbed Chicken Hawaii rising resolutely out of our one and only toilet. But then I panicked, and made the second mistake: flushing.

I will spare you further specificity for the cleanup operation, but after hours of toil and many cans of air freshener, the toilet seemed to be operational. I used up half a bottle of every type of cleansing agent, I took a long bath, and fell asleep on the living room floor, exhausted, but relatively guilt free.

The next, as I walked to my car, I spotted my landlord using a roto-rooter, but I didn't catch what it was exactly. He noticed my stare when he looked up, and said, "I guess the roots came in early this year. We've been stopped up all morning."

I was never able to tell him the truth, but karma was quick in those days. The next Wednesday I went back to gaze upon my accomplishment, but one day earlier, my record was beaten and my name was gone. Regardless, for one week of my youth, while Clinton was still in office, while the stock market rode high, while the future seemed bright and lustrous, I was the Chicken Wing Champion of Moe's (North Island).
posted by deanklear at 9:20 AM on February 3, 2012 [28 favorites]


How is this guy not dead?
posted by crunchland at 9:35 AM on February 3, 2012


Matt Stone and Trey Parker said it best when they said "I've never seen a man eat so many chicken wings." The fact that they were singing about Brian Boitano at the time is besides the point.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:03 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear Philly.com photographers, please learn to edit your shots instead of just dumping the entire contents of your memory card onto the website. I should not have to hit "next photo" 190 times before coming to a picture of a dude eating a chicken wing when looking at the photos accompanying a story about chicken wing eating.

I am not sure if the photos indicate that the Wing Bowl was really about sexy ladies, or if they indicate that the photographer's experience of the Wing Bowl was really about sexy ladies. Because there sure are a lot of shots of sexy ladies. There's occasional stretches of other things, but then there's like five photos in a row of one woman posing with her cleavage filling the frame. It's as if the photographer remembered briefly that "oh yeah there's a story about some dudes eating I'm supposed to be covering", tried his best to do that, and then lost interest because TITTIES.

I like titties, don't get me wrong. I like sexy ladies. I'm part of Seattle's burlesque community, which is pretty much all about celebrating sexy ladies. But after about fifty photos of sexy ladies with not a single sign of anything related to consuming mass quantities of chicken wings, I got kinda burnt out on sexy ladies for a bit.

Oh yeah, and you know what the next photo after #191, the first appearance of a dude actually cramming a chicken wing into his mouth is?

A sexy lady.

At last she's got a plate of chicken wings, but COME ON. One hundred ninety photos of sexy ladies. Haven't we had enough? Let's see some shots of gluttony.
posted by egypturnash at 11:14 AM on February 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you think Wing Bowl is outlandish (and it is), look up some of the eating stunts that competitors have to complete in order to QUALIFY for Wing Bowl... The Taco Bell Drive Thru Diet in less than three minutes. 4 pounds of lasagna in five minutes. Ten feet of sausage in five minutes. 5 pounds of peeled pineapple in three minutes and 40 seconds. One guy a couple of years ago offered to eat a whole Yankee Candle to get in, which was put on hold until they got a doctor's opinion.

Wing Bowl sounds NUTS, though, and the participant names are hilarious. I can't decide which one I like better, "Wing Kong" or "Unknown Eater."

A year or two ago, a guy ate several lemons to qualify and went under the name The Acidic Jew.
posted by delfin at 11:32 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


So yeah. Almost 200 photos attached to the story about Wing Bowl. About 20 of them are of dudes eating. Another 50 or so are of event setup. And most of those are included twice.

As to the carnival theory, there's like three photos of dudes in costumes - some pretty sweet samurai outfits.

There's about a dozen photos of the crowd

Pretty much all of the rest of the photos are sexy ladies in cheerleadery outfits. Oh, and there's a couple shots of a mud wrestling pit. Whose use, at least judging by these photos, is exclusively for sexy ladies.

And now that I look at the "Who's Who at Wing Bowl XX" link, I begin to suspect that it's not just the photographer:
Rick the Manager - In true Wing Bowl fashion, Rick the Manager ate 6 feet, 9 inches of sushi off of Wingettes to qualify for this year’s competition. The 5-10, 230-pounder just hopes to make it out of the first round and predicts that Chilita will beat U.S. Male. 

Chilita - Chilita is the lone female competitor in this year’s Wing Bowl. Standing at 5 feet even, she ate twice her height, or 10 feet, of sausage in less than five minutes to qualify for the event. Her goal is to advance to the final round. 
Emphasis mine. Okay. Maybe the photographer was presenting a true and accurate record of what Wing Fest is about after all.

I still think he needs to learn to edit, though.
posted by egypturnash at 11:33 AM on February 3, 2012


Wing Bowl is done in tandem with the strip clubs in Philly and I think starts at some ungodly hour, like 6am. So, basically everyone there is already shitfaced from drinking all night in the parking lot, they see Wing Bowl, then they go to the strip clubs that advertise during Wing Bowl. This was how it was described to me.
posted by josher71 at 11:40 AM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Regarding the female presence, Wing Bowl has had one female winner, professional competitive eater Sonja "Black Widow" Thomas. She won in '04 and was involved in a controversial finish in '05. Like Kobayashi and runner-up Squibb and unlike the majority of entrants, she is of slim build.

As for it being a testosterone festival for tens of thousands of sloppy-drunk males... of course it is. Given typical Eagles fans, we call that kind of thing "Fall" in Philadelphia.
posted by delfin at 11:46 AM on February 3, 2012


You guys are really letting me down in the wing/breast joke department.
posted by box at 12:22 PM on February 3, 2012


Living in Philly, I've always regarded Wing Bowl the same way you would if you were eating a plate of chicken and found some uncategorized insect sitting on the tip of your fork; you're disgusted, but part of you wants to know exactly what this repulsive, squirming thing is. Someday, I'll attend Wing Bowl and find out.

Also worth noting is that the event was created by Angelo Cataldi, who was responsible for organizing the group that booed Donovan McNabb at the draft, amongst other antics that range from buffoonish to plain racist. My sincere hope is to someday take him on a reverse Wonderful Life trip where I could show him how much better off the town would be if he'd never existed.
posted by Toby Dammit X at 1:22 PM on February 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Last year, my wife and I, and some friends went to the open base day at Yokosuka, the U.S. naval base near Yokohama. The highlight of the entertainment schedule was a soba eating contest with Joey Chestnut as the featured competitor (yes, evidently the USO flew him to Japan). Aside from being possibly the healthiest eating contest ever (buckwheat noodles and all), it was pretty damn vile, combined with a complete lack of bikini clad women. Mixed in with the competitors was a linebacker from the base's high school football team. I felt sorry for the kid, he tried so, so hard, but there he was, in front of his team, friends, and family, having the dreaded reversal of fortune into a plastic bucket on the stage (luckily, behind the table). Poor kid.
posted by Ghidorah at 2:58 PM on February 3, 2012


Loathesome.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:05 PM on February 3, 2012


Errol Morris has an interest in competetive eating and made a short film about 5-time Wing Bowl champ El Wingador.
posted by dmo at 4:49 PM on February 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I agree. Eating contests are one of the more repulsive activities that humans indulge in. Not as immoral as dogfighting or a lot of other low life things, but still a symptom of a deep cultural sickness.

Would the Tomatina, the massive tomato food fight in Valencia be any less repulsive? Let's break it down:

1. The fight wastes excessive amounts of plant matter, not meat. Ostensibly, tomato plants lack consciousness, unlike chickens.

2. However, the tomatoes aren't even being consumed here. At least you can make a case that the food eaten in competitive eating events are going towards someone's nourishment (albeit at unnecessary levels).

3. On the other hand, this event dates back to 1945, and is a tradition of La España in the quaint Old World, so MeFi critics can pretend that it is of greater cultural and historical merit than the all-American tawdriness of the Wing Bowl.

4. Objectively, you can make a case that both events waste food that could theoretically be used to feed the hungry, and so are both evil. (But then, competitive eating events probably waste a lot less food than a town-wide food fight).

Pick your poison or add your own! Or should there be:

0. This is a false dichotomy about two equally appalling things, and finger-wagging at weird traditions is really subjective
posted by Apocryphon at 8:33 PM on February 3, 2012


It's me, I'm sure, but the term eater just gives me the willies.

And putting "professional" in front of it doesn't help.
posted by tommasz at 11:14 AM on February 4, 2012


I'm guessing "I'm a professional ...eater... ladyeez" is right out?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:25 PM on February 4, 2012


« Older The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of Earth, t...  |  Sometimes, adding bandwidth ca... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments