One of Number Two Son’s favorite shows is Man vs Food. In this show, host Adam Richman goes to various towns and cities and indulges in the local fare. Toward the end of each show, he engages in a local food challenge where he needs to finish either some huge amount of food, something extremely spicy, or some combination of both in order to win a prize or recognition. Richman is a fairly big guy, and while he says that he is not a competitive eater, more often than not he wins the challenge. Despite his size, bulk is not necessary to win eating contests. Take for instance, Juliet Lee. This 5 foot tall slightly over 100 pound mother and beauty salon owner is also ranked #11 in the world of competitive eating (believe it or not, there are rankings for competitive eaters). She has eaten 34 hot dogs within minutes!
She is not the only Asian big eater with a small stature. We have written about 128 pound Takeru Kobayashi, long time champion of the Nathan’s July 4th Hot Dog challenge (53 hot dogs in 12 minutes), and formerly #1 ranked eater. He is not a huge guy. Neither is 100 pound Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas, ranked #6 in the world and eater of 41 hot dogs within 10 minutes. How can these small Asians eat so much? According to the International Federation of Competitive Eating (yes, folks, there really is such an organization), smaller Asian “gurgitators” (their name for eating competitors) often do better than huge guys because they don’t have a belt of fat around their waists that restricts stomach expansion.
I look at these Asian “gurgitators” with a mix of pride, disgust, and envy. Pride, from the idea that these skinny Asians break stereotypes of big eaters. Disgust, from just thinking about how much they eat. Envy, from the fact that these three are still so skinny after eating so much food! I can gain a pound by just looking at a cheesecake.