Life List #26: See competitive eating in another country.
CP Biggest Eater Contest shrimp wonton eating contest finals in Bangkok, Thailand.
My entire trip around Asia has been designed to get me to Bangkok right at this moment. It was part of the reason I decided to switch my initial flight in from Bangkok to Singapore. It was part of the reason I decided against getting a longer visa my first time in Thailand.
Way back in September I was checking the day’s competitive eating news from my apartment in Barcelona when I saw this on Eatfeats: there was going to be an eating contest. In Bangkok. In February. And that fell right dab in the middle of when I was planning on being in Southeast Asia. I knew that I had to be there. After all, seeing competitive eating in another country was #26 on my life list. And, pretty much, attending a contest in Bangkok would cement my place as the world’s biggest fan. And, hello, I love eating contests!
I arrived at the contest site for the CP Biggest Eater finals around 2pm, when the website said it would be starting. But it was raining like crazy and there wasn’t much shade and they still appeared to be setting up.
While I was waiting though I saw the three big eaters who would be competing: Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, Crazy Legs Conti, and Erik “The Red” Denmark. I kind of ran up screaming and hugging them which I think freaked out Sam (the MC) and some of the event coordinators who had no idea who I was. I also confused the heck out of Crazy Legs because while I knew Matt knew I would be there, he apparently didn’t.
They lent me an umbrella and told me things would be getting underway closer to 4pm.
When I returned two hours later it began pouring again. But at least the umbrella was huge so I could take photos from under it until the water subsided.
Honestly…I have no idea what was really going on for most of the contests. Because it was all in Thai. So I can’t tell you who won or how much they ate or why in the first heat everyone was blindfolded. But I can tell you that it was amazing to watch as all these locals ate wonton after wonton at furious paces.
After the local finals were over it came time for the main event, where Matt, Crazy Legs, and Erik would go head to head eating as many wontons as possible in eight minutes.
After some introductions to the crowd, the eaters took their places, and the eating began…
After the clock hit zero and the final numbers were double checked the official numbers were announced: Crazy Legs Conti in third with 140, Erik Denmark in second with 202, and, the winner, Matt Stonie with 255.
The entire day was thrilling. It was amazing to get to witness my favorite sport within another culture. It was amazing to see people I actually knew before I left for the first time in a very long time. It was amazing to witness such a wonderful, well executed contest.
It was amazing getting to cross off yet another life list item that when I first wrote it down I never thought I’d ever actually cross off.