By Cindy

04 Nov 2017


5 Things You Wouldn’t Know About Hotdog Eating Contests

Because of this bucket list, I went on to claim my 15-minute of fame and I was on national TV.  Read more to find out.

In 2011, I created a 500-item bucket list.  One of which is to join an eating competition.  I initially planned to join the Amateur Chicken Wing Eating Contest from the Buffalo Wing Festival but I was not selected.  

Plan B was to join any available eating contest in Europe and at that time, there was this maiden Hotdog Eating Competition organized by the Isle of Man’s Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, ofr the 2017 Food and Drink Festival.  I finally found something.

However straightforward looking it is, joining an eating competition has its challenges and you wouldn’t know these if you’re not joined one.  But now, you will know.

1:  Finding a slot to an eating competition is not that easy as you think.  Registration is tough especially in famous amateur competitions.  For some, a strong justification proposition needs to be submitted.  This was a struggle because not a lot of people accepted my reason for joining.  By saying:  “’I want to tick-off my bucket list” Is not a hard sell.  But I made it clear at the beginning that I was there not to gain something or anything but to actually do a noble act by offering to donate any winnings I might have to the charity of their choice.

2:  Starved yourself to death before the competition an edge?  Eating under time pressure is different even if you’ve starved yourself to death several days prior to the competition.  One would generally be under the impression that the best strategy to win an eating competition is to starve oneself to death prior to D-day.   You need staying power during an eating competition (even in amateur ones).  This means that you need to be physically strong and your stomach needs to be in a condition where it’s used to taking in loads of food.  Practice eating large portions and in a quick pace several days before the competition. 

I practiced the day before the competition, can you believe this?  We went to Ikea and bought around 10 hotdog sandwiches and tested to see how many I can eat.  I ate 4 in 5 minutes.  That’s gives you an indication of how many you can actually eat on the day of the competition itself.

3:  The strong tough-looking guy next to you is a solid competitor and winner….NOT.   Looks can be deceiving.  The guy who appears to be the strongest can eventually fold up and get sick – as in throw up after eating just one hot dog sandwich during the competition, leaving him to the loser category instantly.   That’s exactly what happened to the guy next to me.  He started throwing up as soon as he partook his 1st sandwich. 

4: Esophagus hurts!  Chomping hot dog sandwiches (meaning with buns) in so much of a hurry hurts your esophagus so bad.    During the competition, we were given condiments like mayo and ketchup and water to drink.  These are helpful lubricants to make swallowing easier but they just help a tiny bit.  Some of my competitors were dipping the sandwiches in water and some were like taking a bath with ketchup.

5:  Eating is exhausting!  You get tired from eating hotdogs but you crave for other food immediately after the competition.  Exhaustion from eating needs a solution – eat anything but hotdog.  I had my lobster roll and it was best tasting food after the hotdog coma. 

Without having choked, I ate 3 sandwiches in 5 minutes.  I was the only woman in the roster and I was the only non-local contestant.  If I won, I could have donated my winnings to the IOM Children Center.

Isle of Man is unique.  It’s abundant in fresh organic local food like lamb meat they call Max meat.  It’s an independent country but they get their military from the UK.  Medical benefits of citizens can extend to medical coverage in the UK.    I’ve never found a country where its people are so positive and jolly, that negativity has no place.  I’m actually considering this place as a country to retire to.

I found Douglas, its capital a fusion of San Francisco’s charm and Nice’s vibe.  San Francisco because of the irregular plane of the roads and the Victorian houses.  Nice because of the view of the Broadway beach.  Air is fresh, it’s clean, not crowded and life is simple but happy.

Booking a flight to the Isle of Man is not cheap.  From Geneva, you have to transfer in London.  If you have a UK visa, you don’t need to get a separate one.

Hotels near Villa Marina (festival venue) are sprouting and I recommend either the Devonian Hotel or the Sefton Hotel.

It was really fun and it was so far my favorite adventure from my bucket list.   Thank you to Audrey Bowler from IOM, Dave’s Delicious Dogs and Paul Moulton of Manx TV.

charming Victorian inspired houses, a famous characteristic of SanFo houses

Broadway Beach

All streets in Douglas are iit at night. It was not even Christmas when I was there

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