Eat and Compete at Nisei Week


Competitive eaters chow down on gyoza at last year's Gyoza Eating Contest. This year's event takes place on Saturday at JACCC Plaza in Little Tokyo.

On Saturday, the Nisei Week Japanese Festival will host “Competition Saturday,” an exciting day of contests and world record attempts.

The featured event is the 4th Annual Day-Lee Foods Gyoza Eating Championship at 1 p.m. at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) in Little Tokyo.  Major League Eating Rookie-of-the-Year Ben Monson (#7 world ranking) and Eric “Bandlands” Booker (#12) lead the
charge on Nathan’s Hot-Dog Eating Champion Joey Chestnut’s world record 231 gyoza eaten in 10 minutes.  Chestnut has won the title every year in the history of the Day-Lee Foods Gyoza Eating Championship.

In less than a year Monson has sent shockwaves through the competitive eating circuit, beating Chestnut in flautas and emerging as a threat to taking Chestnut’s #1 ranking.  Booker is known as “The People’s Champ” for his entertaining personality (as seen on Last Call with Carson Daly) and
nine eating world records.

Joining the fray will be top-ranked eaters Nate Biller (#19), Damon Wells (#28), Kevin Ross (#29), Brian Beard (#32), and Sean Kirby (#49) as well as a field of local amateurs including AMP 97.1 radio personality Haseena Akita.  Competing on behalf of charity will be the 2009 Nisei Week Queen and

For any aspiring competitive eaters, the 20th and final spot will be auctioned off at the start of the contest.

Also held at the JACCC at 9 a.m. is the Nisei Week Rubik’s Cube Open, featuring a host of competitors solving the world’s most popular puzzle in as little as ten seconds.  Contestants will attempt blindfolded solves at 11 am before the start of the main event, the Nisei Week Grand Tournament, at
12 pm.  Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m ($7 entry).  Contestants may
also pre-register at