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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Entered Wing Wing's Hot Wing Competition and Survived To Blog About It

Posted By on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge Hella Hella Hot Wings. I wish they gave us gloves, too. - OMAR MAMOON
  • Omar Mamoon
  • Hella Hella Hot Wings. I wish they gave us gloves, too.

Last Saturday was Wing Wing's third Annual Wing Eating Competition held at the SOMA StrEat Food Park. There were two contests: 1) Who could eat the most "Angry Korean" Hot Wings in 10 minutes and 2) Who could eat 10 "Hella Hella" Hot Wings doused in a sauce of habanero, thai, scorpion, and ghost chilies — one of the hottest peppers in the world — the most quickly. I entered the latter.

I grew up in an Indian Burmese household in where my mother put excessive (and completely unnecessary) amounts of Indian red chili powder in everything. As a result, my spice tolerance is stupidly high. I figured I had the competitive advantage; natural selection was on my side.

But mama didn't raise no fool — everyone knows prevention is the best medicine, and I came prepared in a big way:

click to enlarge I swear I can explain the vaseline and bananas. - OMAR MAMOON
  • Omar Mamoon
  • I swear I can explain the vaseline and bananas.


I started my morning by walking to the Valencia Whole Foods on 21st and Valencia. I picked up milk, bananas, and bread with the theory that the bread and bananas would provide a good base layer to absorb and soak up any crazy heat and acid from the  the hot sauce, and that the milk would line my stomach with a protective coating. (Incidentally, this formula of bread, banana, and milk is also the perfect tried and true trifecta to consume prior to a long day of festival drinking at Outside Lands or Treasure Island — you'll never get drunk ... as easily.)

But since I wasn't absolutely certain this combination would prevent any chaos in the aftermath, I headed to Walgreens to consult my local pharmacist. She suggested Prilosec immediately for the impending heartburn, Gaviscon 30 minutes before wing consumption for the protective layer and acid reflex prevention (in case my milk Straus milk didn't work its organic magic), and Tums for the upset tummy. The vaseline was for my chapped lips.

After my breakfast of precaution, I biked over to the SOMA StrEat venue with my friend, artist, and first year champion/last year's runner up Cory Jarman. He was the main reason I entered this competition — I was out of town for the first two years, and I was intent on beating his ass this year. Upon entrance, we immediately signed a waiver:

click to enlarge Note my signature confirms that I am a dumbass for entering this Contest. - OMAR MAMOON
  • Omar Mamoon
  • Note my signature confirms that I am a dumbass for entering this Contest.

Shortly after giving my John Hancock above and seeing this. I started to get nervous. I hadn't really put too much thought into what I was getting myself into. I started asking questions, too many questions: How many ghost peppers are in this? Do scorpion peppers sting? What if I get an ulcer? 

I started pounding PBR's to calm my nerves. I ran into Allen Hough of Mission Mission — he said I clearly needed a shot. We quickly walked over to The Eagle and downed a Fernet. It didn't work. 

I came back. The competition was about to start. I downed some Three Twins as a final and last attempt at coating my stomach against what was about to go down.

And then it started.

click to enlarge img_0177.jpg

As everyone began ravenously tearing into their chicken wings as fast as possible and getting hot sauce all over their burning faces, I took a much more calculated approach: I deboned each wing separately, discarded the bones onto the table, and piled up the chicken.

I figure I'd eat everything at once at the end so as to delay the pain. I was also banking on the facts that no one would finish all their wings and that contestants would slow down once the heat crept in.

click to enlarge img_0190.jpg

But I underestimated both the amount of chicken in 10 wings and time it took to debone the wings. By the time I was halfway through my chicken pile, there was a three-way tie for first. 

click to enlarge img_0196.jpg

I was infuriated. How could my plan had failed? How did I let Jarman win?

But at the end, i remembered it was all in good fun, and for a good cause: proceeds from the contest went to Curry Without Worry, a nonprofit that feeds the hungry every week at the Civic Center. And best of all, my preventative and precautionary measures earlier in the day worked. I just needed a couple Tums and I felt completely normal the next day.

Cory ended up winning the competition for the third year straight. But I'll be back.

click to enlarge img_0242.jpg

Follow @streetfoodsf for all things delicious. 

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Omar Mamoon

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