Japan’s latest eating contest puts Coney Island’s famous hot dog-eating contest to shame. At least most people like hot dogs. The city of Mito in Japan recently held a speed-eating contest to see which contestant could eat the most natto: a slimy, fermented bean paste that, according to the Japanese blog Kotaku, “smells like dirty socks.”
Natto has been dubbed by foreigners (and some Japanese), as the nation’s most disgusting food. It may well be Japan’s vegemite. Natto is made from fermented soybeans, and looks like its held together by sticky strings. In Eastern Japan it’s known as a delicacy, but the rest of the world is probably turned off by its pungent smell and odd taste.
This year’s winner seriously looked like he was about to hurl, but said at the end of the contest, where he had to ingest a bowl of rice and natto in under a couple of minutes, and then eat as many bowls of natto as possible. “I'm satisfied because I shaved two minutes off last years’ time," said the two-time champion.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi.