Day-Lee Foods Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Nippon Meat Packers Inc. and a leader in high-quality frozen Asian foods, is back as the title sponsor for the world famous Nisei Week Gyoza Eating Championship.
The annual Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship, co-sponsored this year by Kikkoman, challenges eaters to chow down as many Day-Lee Pride gyoza (Japanese potstickers) as possible in 10 minutes. The record, set in 2012 by returning champ Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, is 266 gyoza—that’s about 10 pounds of potstickers. With even more prize money this year, Day-Lee reports Chestnut is determined to break the record and retain his title.
Part of the 73rd Annual Los Angeles Nisei Week Japanese Festival, the eating championship is hosted by the Nisei Week Foundation and sanctioned by Major League Eating (MLE) and the International Federation of Competitive Eating. The event will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) Plaza in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district. The JACCC Plaza is located at 244 S. San Pedro St. Admission is free; limited seating and ample standing room will be available.
This year, a new amateur gyoza eating contest has been added, dubbed the Crazy Cuizine “Mid-August Madness,” pitting co-ed teams of students from local colleges—including UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, and Cal State Long Beach—against each other for Southland bragging rights. Crazy Cuizine is a brand of Day-Lee Foods, and its Asian entrees can be found at grocery chains throughout Southern California. This contest will take place at 2:30 p.m.
After the amateur event, the field of MLE stars will line up and compete for a $6,000 cash purse. In addition, Malaysia Airlines will award round-trip tickets to Japan to the top male and female competitors. Returning champion Chestnut will be defending his gyoza-eating title. He boasts seven consecutive Nathan’s titles (2007-present) and in July consumed 69 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, setting a new world record. His competition will include last year’s second place winner Matt Stonie (ranked No. 4 by MLE) and Bob Shoudt (No. 5). Competing for charity will be the 2012 Nisei Week Queen Emily Michi Iijima Folick and her court.
There’s one more addition to this year’s Gyoza Eating Contest: spectators for both events can visit food-sampling booths to taste a variety of “wild and crazy” Crazy Cuisine gyoza. Possible menu items include Pepperoni Pizza Potstickers, Cheeseburger Potstickers, Lobster Potstickers as well as Chicken & Waffle Potstickers. The potstickers will be available at the event for purchase while supplies last.
The 2013 Nisei Week Japanese Festival is a nine-day event first held in 1934, and is recognized today as one of the longest running ethnic festivals in the U.S. This year’s event will take place in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district from Aug. 10-18.
In the featured photo at top: Competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut set a record in 2012 by consuming 266 gyoza—or about 10 pounds of potstickers. He will return to the competition this year to defend his title.