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Photos: Competitors Stuff Their Faces With Gyoza For World-Eating Championship
There were some big-name eaters—from the likes of Matt Stonie and Joey Chestnut—in Little Tokyo over the weekend competing for the World Gyzoa Eating Championship title.
Day-Lee Foods hosted this annual competition on Saturday at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center plaza as part of the 75th annual Los Angeles Nisei Week, a festival that celebrates Japanese-American culture. The event was lively, full of origami lessons, robot demos, and people dressed in traditional Japanese outfits. The emcee of the gyoza-eating contest, Sam Barclay, announced each of the competitors with their nicknames and backgrounds. "The Megatoad" Stonie is ranked number one in the Major League Eating (MLE), with "Jaws" Chestnut just right behind him. Also in attendance were other top-ranked MLE competitors like Mary Bowers, who dressed up in a gyoza costume, and Eric "Badlands" Booker, who came out rapping.
LAist photographer Annie Lesser said, "The event was a fight to the death, or to the bowels" between Stonie and Chestnut. Last year, Chestnut ate 384 gyoza, which is about 15 pounds of Japanese potstickers, in 10 minutes. This time around, he couldn't quite hit the mark, only being able to stuff his face with 339 of the chicken gyoza, and he still trailed behind Stonie, who snagged first place with 343. It was a close competition though, and fans were cheering them on like they were horses in the Kentucky Derby, Lesser says.
TMZ asked Chestnut about his loss shortly after the competition ended. Chestnut said, "Yeah, I don't know what's going on with me this year. I've lost two or three big contests... I know I have the capacity to eat a lot more, it's just a matter of utilizing it. I haven't been finding my rhythm like I should."
Here's a video of the competition and crowning of the winner: