Probably the most exciting part of the World Durian Festival is the speed eating contests. Held twice a day and featuring a few different fruits, they attract crowds of Thais and a surprising number of foreigners. The premier event is of course the durian race, but the rambutan and mangosteen contests add another fun element, a blindfolded partner to feed the power eater.
Below is a pre-contest interview with Richard Gambino, Grant Campbell, and Chris Randall as they gear up to chow down in the first competition.
I think Richard was speechless in anticipation of the free durian.
Next up is the real deal, the big durian showdown.
Check out these durian fanatics wolfing down their prize.
Did you see that technique?! I am still amazed at Grant’s durian slaying prowess. The chief competition was no slouch, either. The fellow next to Richard loves all sorts of stinky food including natto, a fermented soybean product that reeks of ammonia.
I wasn’t the only one impressed by Grant’s performance. He became something of a celebrity in Chanthaburi during the festival. People in the local market recognized started to call him by name, “Mr. Grant.” Not too surprising since he went on to win a total of 3 durian speed eating contests. Even the director of the festival heard about the Australian champion. In astonishment, he asked Lindsay how many durian Grant could eat. She figured 12. No reason to doubt it, either.
Finally, we have a short look at Lindsay feeding Chris in a combined rambutan and mangosteen partner speed eating contest.
Luckily for Chris this round started out with a banana. Some contests kicked off with raw eggs.
Our team did pretty well for their first try. We all learned something that may serve you well next time you find yourself racing against the clock to down a plate of mangosteen and rambutan – eat the mangosteen first. It goes down way easier. It could save your life if the stakes in your competition are unreasonably high like that.