You won't believe what some people will eat for a moment of glory and a tin-pot trophy. Or how much...
Hosted annually by the Bottle Inn, a 16th-century pub in Marshwood, Dorset, this is not a contest for those with allergies. Competitors are served 2 ft (0.61 m) long stalks of stinging nettles from which they pluck and eat the leaves. After an hour the bare stalks are measured and the winner is the competitor with the greatest accumulated length of nettles.
Unsurprisingly, the pub landlord insists that it’s easier if you dip the nettles in beer first!
Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs began holding Fourth of July hot dog eating contests on Coney Island in 1916. Close to 100 years later it is considered the ‘Super Bowl’ of competitive eating, with contestants from all over the world trying to beat Joey 'Jaws' Chestnut’s record of 62 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
Created to boost Pattaya’s flagging tourist industry, and conveniently held in the Pattaya Crocodile Park, this annual competition is now in its 12th year.
The aim of the competition is to eat ten crocodile eggs in the shortest time possible. But unlike other competitions around the world, cleanliness is encouraged and points are deducted for messy eating.
Indeed, a neat eating style can mean the difference between winning and losing. In 2010 Khun Udom Butgnam ate the eggs in an impressive 4 minutes 37 seconds but was knocked back into third place because of the mess he made.
This event confirms that Moscow truly is the bling capital of the world – a black caviar speed-eating contest is held annually in a Moscow nightclub.
Last year’s winner, Alexander Valov ate 500g of caviar in 90 seconds, about £3,100 worth of the delicacy, and picked up a prize cheque of 10,000 Rubles (£211) and several more glass jars of black caviar worth substantially more.
Held annually at the Kismot curry restaurant in Edinburgh, this competition differs from most in that it isn’t the amount of curry you eat that gets you crowned Kurry King or Queen, but rather how much heat you can take.
We’re talking serious heat, too. One year two contestants ended up in hospital. Now each contestant is screened for possible health risks, and members of the British Red Cross are on hand during the competition to assist.
This ancient competition was recently revived by a local curd manufacturer with an eye to reviving interest in his product. The rules are simple enough – eat as much curd as you can in 3 minutes. 500 people lined up to take part last year, with the winner knocking back an impressive 3.8 kilos of curd!
In Vidalia, Georgia, there’s no age limit to eating onions, it seems, especially during the annual onion festival. The raw onion eating competition has three age categories – 5-to-11-year-olds, 12-to-16, and adult. Last year’s winner, Russ Wagner, choked back nearly 10 raw onions. His prize will bring a tear to your eyes though – a paltry $100!
At the annual Wigan Pie Eating competition, held at Harry’s Bar on Wallgate, it’s all about the speed. Quantity is of no concern. It’s simply how fast you can consume this most Lancashire of pastries. Local Ian Coulton took out the Bradley Piggins Trophy (Do you see what they did there?) in just over a minute. But be warned: gravy is banned. It makes it too easy to eat the pies, apparently.
This staple of Sunday roasts originally hails from the north of England. But it seems to have found its spiritual home in northern Thailand. And in particular, The Pub, a local bar where an annual Yorkshire Pudding eating contest is held. The record currently stands at 25 puddings in an hour. Sadly, there is no mention if that is with all the trimmings.
Held annually at the Iowa State Fair, contestants have thirty seconds to eat a corn dog in the most salacious manner. The winner is chosen by audience applause and, it has to be said, hollering. The prize? Last year it was a pair of tickets to an Alice Cooper concert.