Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest: More than Just Competitive Eating

A brief look at the intertwined associations between Competitive Eating, Mukbang and THE King – Kobayashi Takeru.

A hazy summer day, I set out for Coney Island in Brooklyn on the Fourth of July. I worried about making it to the women’s set on time but was pleasantly surprised when I walked out of the subway and found a great vantage point for the contest. It was on a slight angle, and at that time – around 10 am- the sun was still hiding behind thick knitted blankets of clouds. In the sky, planes flew overhead carrying aerial advertisements at their tail. There was one for Dunkin Donuts, which seemed to have worked because the people who assembled and stood next to me had hot cups of coffee on a humid, 95°F day.

For the entire subway ride over, I thought about how I got to this point. I kept smiling and then catching the eye of someone – which caused me to quickly turn away. I didn’t want to be that weird person who was so obviously in their own world, they became a target for something bad. So I stayed alert and thought about how for years – I’d waited for this moment. Finally, I had a chance and free time to do something I’d always wanted – See Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest live.

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