Imagine all-you-can-eat aebleskiver. Now imagine eating them in under five minutes.
For Southern California-based competitive eater and YouTube star Raina Huang, it's just another day at work. Huang is scheduled to make four Central Coast appearances Sept. 15 to 18, just in time for the heralded Danish Days Aebleskiver Eating Contests.
The 82nd annual Solvang Danish Days festival set for Friday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. …
"This will be my first time in Solvang. I have no idea what an aebleskiver is," Huang said. Upon learning about the revered puffed pastry she replied, "That sounds delicious!"
The fastidious foodie will make her first-time stop in Solvang on Sept. 15 to gorge on aebleskiver with an aim to beat the standing 2016 record of 18½ eaten in five minutes. Then it's onward to Lompoc to attempt to eat the alphabet at Tom's Burgers with their signature A-Z burger menu that evening.
For her third foodie competition, she will make a stop by The Doggy Door in Los Olivos on Sept. 16 for their Hot Dog Challenge, which calls upon competitors to eat four of the establishment’s fully-loaded hot dogs within 90 minutes.
Lastly, it's back to Lompoc on Sept. 18 to tackle Mariscos La Rancherita’s “Bacon Anaconda” before heading back to Los Angeles. She will be challenged to consume an oversized burrito rolled in bacon, all within 40 minutes.
"If you want to meet me, please don't be shy. Come say hi," she said.
"I have a crazy way of eating, it's gross but people are amazed. I have this trick where I chew my food with my hands," said Huang, who stands at 5 feet. 7 inches tall.
The night prior to competition, she says she chugs about 5 gallons of water to expand her stomach.
"When the fluid is gone, I'm left with room," she said. "I also don't each much the day before and nothing the day of [competition] and do my weekly detox days."
However, all foods are not created equal.
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"I naturally ate a lot as a child. In fact, my co-workers used to to tell me, 'You eat a lot, you should do a food eating contest,'" recalled Huang, an official full-time YouTube star for a little over a year.
Although Huang devours foods at a faster rate than most, she said she has an appreciative palette for Asian dishes since she comes from an Asian-American background. A speaker of Mandarin, Taiwanese, Japanese and some Korean, she said there is a natural affinity for the food she was raised on.
"Put me in a pho- or ramen-eating contest and I can go forever," she said.
But she's not so gung-ho about consuming mass quantities of spicy foods, since a past contest experience in the South left her with a searing memory.
"Hamburgers are a real challenge for me, too; they are dry and tougher to get down," said Huang, 23.
She does have a long-term goal for her "weird talent," as she put it, as it has taken her abroad to Madrid and Valencia, Spain.
Huang was invited to participate in several eating contests in Europe, where she said the phenomenon is just starting to catch on, which spurred her desire to do more than just stuff her face.
Elverhøj Museum of History and Art will celebrate Solvang’s history and cultural roots at th…
"I know my body isn't invincible and I won't be able to do this forever, so I try to mix in more food reviews on my channel. I'd like to become more of a food connoisseur and travel the world," she said.
Also a model and singer, Huang admitted her real love resides in entertaining and that her food inhibitions are really just the vehicle for her artistic expression.
Don't expect a super "crazy-crazy" competitor, she warned.
"I'm just moderate crazy. I'm not aiming to be the best eater necessarily, I just do the best I can. I really just want to entertain."
The Danish Days Organ Concert will be on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. at Bethania Lutheran C…
Huang’s entire Central California tour begins Sept. 13 in Fresno and is detailed at rainaiscrazy.com/central-ca-tour.html. Contest results will be posted to that page of Raina’s website. To follow her eating adventures, visit her at youtube.com/RainaHuang, facebook.com/RainaHuang and Instagram @rainaiscrazy.
For more information about Solvang Danish Days, including the full event weekend schedule, parade applications and complete contact information, visit solvangdanishdays.org or facebook.com/SolvangDanishDays.
This report was compiled by Lisa André. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LAndréSYVNews