Eating records for foods such as hot dogs, pizza, steaks and pies are fairly standard these days. Everyone knows about Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, an annual event where competitors stuff meat tubes down their throats for glory. But what about the lesser-known records for dishes most of us wouldn’t even sample, let alone gorge ourselves on? Check out these eating achievements of some of the most bizarre foods.
Anyone who grew up even slightly Jewish is more than familiar with this soup dumpling made of matzoh meal, egg, water and schmaltz (Yiddish for chicken fat). Bubbes (Yiddish for grandmothers) around the world swooned when Joey Chestnut took down 78 of these traditional Ashkenazic kneydls (one of the delicacy’s other monikers) in 2008 at the Kenny & Ziggy’s World Matzoh Ball Eating Championship in Houston, Texas.
A delicacy consisting of sheep’s pluck (heart, liver and lungs), onions, oatmeal, suet and other ingredients to to mask the flavor, haggis is considered Scotland’s national dish, according to a Robert Burns poem published in 1787. In October of 2008, Joey Chestnut chowed down on three pounds of haggis in only eight minutes. We’re still waiting for Burns’ “Address to a Haggis” to be updated to reflect this accomplishment.
An annual gathering of oyster enthusiasts in New Orleans, Louisiana, The Acme Oyster House® Oyster Eating Contest has served up more mollusks than most can stomach. In 2012, Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas broke the world record (which she had set two years earlier), consuming 47 dozen Acme oysters in only eight minutes. Hopefully someone had some breath mints on hand for Thomas following the feat.
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A mixture of fermented vegetables, kimchi is often described as sweet and spicy. At Chicago’s Chowdown in Korea Town World Kimchi Eating Competition earlier this year, competitive eating newcomer Miki Sudo consumed 8.5 pounds of it in only six minutes.
Grits is a common breakfast side dish in Southern comfort cuisine consisting mostly of ground cornmeal. Harrah’s Louisiana Downs annually hosts a grits eating competition with a grand prize of $10,000. Patrick Bertoletti has held the world championship title for over six years now, consuming 21 pounds of grits in 10 minutes on September 29, 2007.
Rocky Mountain Oysters
Bertoletti is truly an eating competitor for the ages. Besides grits, this man’s eating accomplishments includes pizza, baby back ribs, doughnuts, waffles and Rocky Mountain oysters. Wondering what Rocky Mountain oysters are? They’re deep-fried bull testicles. And Bertoletti ate three pounds and 11.75 ounces of them in 10 minutes at the Isle Black Hawk World Rocky Mountain Oyster Eating Championship in August of 2010.
For over two decades, Whalers Village in Maui, Hawaii has hosted the annual Maui Onion Festival to celebrate this sweet vegetable. In August of 2004, Eric Booker ate three of these world famous onions (a total of 8.5 ounces) in one minute. Afterwards, Booker thanked the makers of Onion Goggles.
Pigs’ Feet and Knuckles
The masses gathered at the State Fair Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey in June of 2007 for a historic new event: the pigs’ feet and knuckles eating contest. The champion, Arturo Rios, Jr., consumed 2.89 pounds of feet and knuckles in 10 minutes. Ever since this landmark day in American history, no one has attempted to beat Rios’ accomplishment, probably because no one wants to eat three pounds of feet and knuckles, regardless of the animal.
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Alli Sands is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.