I joined my first eating contest and struggled with eat(it).
Last Saturday, I was given the opportunity to participate in the qualifying round for an eating competition, The Red House Challenge. There, I was tasked to finish 10 chilli crab baos in the fastest time possible. *squeals*
As much as I love food, this was my first eating competition and I was obviously nervous. But I was just as excited because it had always been on my bucket list to take part in an eating competition and I could not wait to see how well I would fare.
10 OF THESE YUMMY CHILLI CRAB BAOS?! SAY NO MORE!
Unfortunately, I did not make it very far. I spent close to five minutes trying to stuff the baos in my mouth and it didn't help that I was competing alongside Sarah Ow, a professional competitive eater. (Yes, such things exist)
However, like all exciting experiences, this taught me a thing (or three) about competitive eating.
Here are my top three tips to any amateur competitive eater:
1. Google doesn't always work
I like food, and all-you-can-eat buffets are one of my favourite things in the world. But I have never finished a meal in record time, and I had to figure out how.
First, I did a lot of research to find out how competitive eaters prepared for competitions. After all, Google has never let me down. Some tips I came across included practicing with similar types of food, and having a max-out meal before the competition.
I regretted both.
After buying every variation of frozen baos from the nearest supermarket and eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, just hearing the word "bao" alone made me want to vomit even before competition day.
2. Have game plan
I was placed alongside Sarah Ow during the competition and she left me far behind. By the time I finished eating my first bao, she was more than halfway through the box! Amazing, I know.
SARAH STOLE THE SHOW WITH HER JAW-DROPPING EATING SPEED.
At the end of the competition, I had the chance to speak to the skinny eating champion, who had downed her 10 baos in barely over a minute.
One thing she taught me was how to save time during the competition. For example, she held her cup of water in one hand while using the other to pick up baos to eat.
Maybe we can all try this during recess next time.
3. Your friends are important
Sarah also shared that getting people close to you to help is important. She sometimes got her friends to time her when she ate. She would then use this as a gauge to work on improving in future.
I also got to witness the friendship and support of the local competitive eating scene in Singapore during the competition. Sarah chatted with fellow competitive eater Jimmy Lim Jing Ming before the contest started, even though they were competing in the same round.
So there you have it, if you are thinking of becoming the next Sarah Ow, try these tips out and let us know how it goes!
Catch Sarah Ow take on other competitive eaters in the finals of The Red House Challenge on Aug 27!