Dumpling eaters raise money to fight hunger

On Saturdays, Williamsburg waterfront visitors find themselves at Smorgasburg, the foodie’s branch of the Brooklyn Flea Market, located between North Sixth and Seventh streets. This past Saturday, the market was even more crowded than usual.

The ninth annual dumpling-eating contest took place Sept. 15, hosted by Chef One Dumpling, a manufacturer of healthy Asian appetizers. This yearly event entails groups of contestants competing for two minutes to win a $1000 prize and East River Ferry tickets.

The proceeds from this event go to the Food Bank for New York City, an organization that helps fight hunger on three levels: food distribution, income management and nutrition education.

“This year alone, New York City’s food pantries and soup kitchens have lost 11 million meals due to federal spending cuts in the Emergency Food Assistance Program while three million New Yorkers struggle just to put food on the table.” The Food Bank said in a press release. “The funds raised by this event will certainly help.”

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Last year, this event raised $44,200 dollars for the Food Bank.

The actual contest was quite a sight: an impressively large crowd gathered to witness the spectacle. Fast-paced music blared from the speakers, and in the background, a mascot with a dumpling head danced around. As the men and women’s divisions ate, they were given only a bottle of water for assistance and were told if they spat anything back up they would be disqualified.

In the first men’s round, there was a disqualification. The second round of men fared much better, with one contestant in particular, M10 Wayne Algenio, managing to shovel down 55 dumplings at a steady rate.

In the woman’s division, fewer dumplings were consumed. However, one contestant, Floria Lee, has participated in dumpling-eating contests before and consumed 38 dumplings, making her the female champion.

Finally, the third round of male contestants concluded in a major upset as seven-year winner Will Millender was dethroned. Millender wore a T-shirt that read “The Champ” and a Chef One shirt tied around his head. The Champ was Will Millender, who stood calmly while listening to hip-hop and heavy metal on his iPod. However, despite a mesmerizing display of dumpling consumption, he fell short of his record of 69. Another contestant, David “Tiger Wings and Things” Brunelli managed to steal the show, with 74 dumplings under his belt.

NYU students in attendence were impressed.

“I feel like I’m in shock. It’s so unreal,” CAS freshman Kelly Cook said. “I have never seen a more impressive display of dumpling consumption.”

Margaret Weinberg is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]

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