Sunday, May 23, 2010

Egg roll eating contest at the Asian festival

My neighbor Bill and I rode our bikes up the street to the Asian festival yesterday. The main attraction for me was the egg roll eating contest. When I first read that there was an "egg roll contest", I thought it was an egg roll making contest. I would have been interested in watching that because egg rolls are one of the things I know how to cook, but was even more excited to find out what was actually happening.

It was a rainy morning and since I have been looking for opportunities to ride my new Peugeot, we waited until the sky cleared and headed out.

Spike kinda looks like an egg roll.

When we first arrived to the street blockade, a cop was yelling at a man to get out of the street over his car speaker. The man wandering in the street was completely oblivious to the fact that the loud voice coming from the cop car was talking to him. The cop said more specifically, " You in the white shirt in the middle of the street, get out of the middle of the street" then added, "And pull up your pants".

We walked through the booths that lined the street on Payne Avenue and made our way over to the food. First we tried an egg roll and pot stickers from Pearl of the Orient which were delicious.  I had a bowl of Ginger rice noodles with Shiitake mushrooms and Bill had Sweet and Sour Chicken both from Li Wah. I have been wanting to try Li Wah for a while and will definitely be going back.

The second stage was inside Asia Plaza where there was a martial arts show going on. Guys were kicking and chopping wood planks in half and showing off their skills to 80's metal. It was rad.

The Egg roll Eating contest was at 5:30 on the main stage which was under a tent in the parking lot of Asia Plaza. The winner would be the first of 11 contestants to finish 9 egg rolls. I envisioned a heaping platter in front of each competitor, but a styrofoam plate of 9 would have to do. They were given water, cups and condiments which were in nondescript yellow and clear squeeze bottles.

After everyone was was situated, there was a simple 3-2-1 countdown and the egg roll smashing began.

The large man in the blue jerseys technique was to pour the water in a cup and dunk the rolls into the water before stuffing them in his mouth. I have seen this done in hot dog eating contests to make the bread soggy. Hmmmm....

 I forgot to mention there was one female contestant.

Yellow shirt is down to his last roll.

Yellow shirt, who happened to be sitting in front of the trophy the whole time, was the first place winner by a long shot. The other contestants had at least 2 or more left when yellow shirt finished. Blue Jersey came in second and black shirt placed third. Most of the crowd did not stick around for the medal and trophy ceremony. Looks like dunking egg rolls may not the way to go and standing might be the key to getting it down quicker. These are just a few nuggets of information I took home with me from the first annual Asian festival.

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Cleveland, Ohio, United States