Joey Chestnut, Tim Janus, Matt StonieNathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest hits Coney Island this weekend. Photo via Huffington Post.

The 4th of July is around the corner, and with it comes the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island Pier. Broadcast on ESPN2, this world-famous gastronomical event brings thousands of bystanders every year. While it’s certainly New York City’s most famous eating contest, it is far from the strangest. Those with strong stomachs should have a taste of the more bizarre eating contests the city has to offer, from a tray of deep-fried calf brains to a deadly combo of tequila and habanero peppers.

1. New York City Cupcake Run – Astoria Park

New-York-City-Cupcake-Run-Untapped-CitiesPhoto via New York City Cupcake Run.

Held for the first time last year, the New York City Cupcake Run is a five-kilometer walk/run through Queens’ Astoria Park with a unique twist: participants must eat three cupcakes at checkpoints throughout the course. Proceeds for the seemingly oxymoronic event are donated to New York Cares.

2. “The Punisher” Shot – Mojave, Astoria

The-Punisher-Tequila-Mojave-Restaurant-Untapped-CitiesPhoto via Vimeo user Caroline Shin.

Spicy food challenges are nothing new, and many people already dread taking a shot of tequila, but the Astoria restaurant Mojave decided to push the bar and combine the two. Crafted from 10 bottles of tequila and 500 habañero peppers, “the Punisher” shot is apocryphally said to have sent a patron to the hospital. Those brave enough to try the shot must do so and wait five minutes before having any food and drink. For only $8, this challenge is easily available to the reckless.

3. Galway Oyster Festival Oyster Eating Contest – The Wheeltapper Pub, Midtown

The-Wheeltapper-Pub-Untapped-CitiesPhoto via Stage Buddy.

Some may be too disgusted by oysters to eat them recreationally rather than competitively, but in the face of other challenges, this may not seem too difficult. However, when the Galway Oyster Festival rolls into The Wheeltapper Pub, don’t expect to jump in and compete; spots are only open the those who share a surname with the Fourteen Tribes of Galway, families of historical significance in the Irish city of Galway.

4. Duck Embryo Eating Contest – Marhalika and Jeepney, East Village

Maharlika-Jeepney-Balut-Eating-Contest-Untapped-CitiesPhoto via NYC Loves NYC.

Held during the Hester Street Fair and run by the Filipino restaurants Marhalika and Jeepney, the “balut” eating contest may be one of the rarer, if least palatable contest on this list. Contestants have five minutes to scarf down as much fertilized duck egg served hard-boiled and warm as they can. The current champion, Wayne Algenio, put down 18 in his first bout and 37 in his second, edging out his competition, a mostly-Filipino crowd.

5. Zombie Takeover Day Brain Eating Contest – Coney Island

Zombie-Walk-Untapped-CitiesPhoto via Doug Sakmann.

The last and perhaps most apropos contest on this list is the Brain Eating Contest, arranged as part the NYC Zombie Crawl‘s takeover of the Brooklyn Cyclones’ July 2nd game this year. Held a mere two days before the Nathan’s Famous contest, this delightfully disgusting contest requires competitors to eat their way through a ten-pound tray of deep-fried calf brains to earn the Femur of Doom. This year’s contest will feature competitive eaters Tim ‘Gravy’ Brown and Patrick ‘Deep Dish’ Bertoletti of Glutton Force Five. For anybody looking to start a new shambling and bloody tradition for their New York Fourth of July or for those that find baseball “too boring,” this may be the contest for you.

Get in touch with the author @jimipage26.

 coney island, eating contest, July 4th, Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs, NYC Cupcake Run, Zombies

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