After swallowing two dozen bowls of noodles, Pan Yizhong the amazingly gaunt man from China described as “Big Stomach King” had barely broken sweat and announced his hunger for more. Mr. Yizhong, 45, is the most celebrated exponent of the art of competitive eating in China
“I can continue,” said Yizhong, with fragments of noodles still in sight at the edges of his mouth, as the other challengers at an eating competition fell away one by one in the face of his relentless appetite.
Once he passed the 25th bowl, there were no more opponents and the cheers fell away into awed silence. “The Big Stomach King is our hero,” said Lu Nan, one of Pan’s defeated competitors. “He has magic powers.”
However, some view him with revulsion in a country just beginning to grapple with widespread obesity. Just a decade before Pan’s birth, as many as 45 million people died in the famine resulting from Mao Zedong’s disastrous Great Leap Forward, and he recalls eating leftovers discarded by his schoolteachers as a child. But that time seems a distant memory in Pan’s life now.
So, if you are wondering how much can Yizhong eat and in what matter of time? In a December 2013 eating race held in Liuyang in China’s central province of Hunan, Yizhong had eaten 147 dumplings in one sitting, and polished off 40 bowls of noodles in 15 minutes. Now China’s most renowned competitive eater is now searching for his most ambitious challenge yet. No further details were available.