Hot Stuff: Two Fiery Eating Contests Are Going Down This Weekend

Habaneros and hot chicken. Can you handle the inferno?

If extreme eating—or setting your internal organs ablaze—is your thing, you’ll have two opportunities to test the iron-clad strength of your stomach this weekend because there are not one, but two super-spicy eating contests going down in L.A. on Sunday. One involves hotter-than-hot chicken and the other is all about the inferno-licious habanero pepper. Both are still accepting brave souls willing to compete. Oh, boy!

Howlin’ Ray’s and King Harbor Brewing Co. Hot Chicken Eating Challenge:
Nashville-style hot chicken purveyor Howlin’ Ray’s is teaming up with King Harbor Brewery to kick off L.A. Beer Week with a bang—or maybe an explosion. The first ever Hot Chicken Eating Challenge will take place at the Redondo Beach brewery, and all that contestants have to do is eat one piece of chicken. The caveats are that said chicken will be ridiculously, not even sort of reasonably hot and no beverages can be consumed in the process. Woh! Spectators have it much easier—they can enjoy the full menu of the new food truck’s delicious offerings at their desired spice level. If you want to compete, send an email to [email protected]
redarrowKing Harbor Brewing, 2907 182nd St., Redondo Beach. Howlin’ Rays Hot Chicken truck starts serving at noon with the contest starting at 1:30 p.m.

 A scene from last year's habanero eating contest
A scene from last year’s habanero eating contest

Photograph by Bill Esparza

Chichen Itza’s 5th Annual Habanero Eating Contest:
Don’t read Bill Esparza’s story on Chichen Itza’s 4th Annual Habanero Eating Contest if you’re thinking about entering the 5th. The yearly competition heats up (sorry, couldn’t resist) again this year at Mercado La Paloma’s Father’s Day celebration. The way this one works is that contestants are presented with a bowl of habaneros, and the one who eats the most in 20 minutes wins—whatever that means! Unlike the sadists over at King Harbor, the good people of Chichen Itza will allow competitors to drink milk or water if desired. The challenge begins 2:00 p.m., and entrees are allowed up to one hour prior to its start. Last year’s record-breaking winner ate a total of 45 chiles, and as far as we known, he’s still living. Habaneros rate 150,000–325,000 on the Scoville scale and by comparison the humble jalapeno only registers 2,500–8,000 on the scale, so let that sink in.
redarrowChichen Itza Restaurant is located Mercado La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave., 213-741-1075