Raina Huang plans to crush æbleskivers, chicken wings, and tacos throughout the Santa Ynez Valley this weekend. | Credit: Courtesy

Raina Huang is a diminutive competitive eater famous for eating her big-bellied male competitors under the table. This weekend, September 21-22, she’ll devour her way through four separate challenges in the Santa Ynez Valley: two Danish Days æbleskiver eating contests in Solvang, the spicy Korean chicken-wing challenge at Root 246 (also in Solvang), and an entire taco lineup at the new Cisko Kid restaurant in Los Alamos. 

“I’m excited,” said the 24-year-old, who lives in the small Los Angeles–area city of Walnut. “Danish Days reminds me of Medieval Times.”

Growing up, Huang always ate a lot. It’s part of Chinese culture, she said, to enjoy especially big meals. And she’s always just loved food. She was the very first female chef for Benihana and still likes to cook elaborate dishes at home. 

Huang’s foray into what she called the world of “entertainment eating” came when she uploaded a video of her chowing down to YouTube, and before long, she’d amassed a following. “I didn’t know this was an American thing,” said Huang, who’s since become a full-blown social media star.

Huang crushed her first eating competition, polishing off a four-pound burrito in just six minutes. She said her small size actually gives her an edge ― too much gut fat prevents the stomach from expanding. “That’s why the top pro eaters are always in really good shape,” she explained. In between challenges, Huang swims and fasts. When we spoke, she’d just won another spicy chicken competition and pocketed $1,000.

Pho and ramen competitions are the easiest for Huang because of her upbringing, she said, which included a lot of vegetables. American junk food is another matter. “Pizzas, burgers, pancakes ― those are a lot harder for me because I hate butter,” she said. But æbleskivers aren’t so bad, she said, because they’re fluffy and fairly easy to get down. 

Last year, she smashed the Danish Days record by consuming 36 of the doughy pastry balls in five minutes, hands-free. The previous record was a mere 18.5.

4•1•1 | Raina Huang’s eating extravaganza includes: 
Sat., Sept. 21
Æbleskivers: 11:30 a.m. @ Danish Days in Solvang
Korean hot wings: 5 p.m. @ Root 246, Solvang
Sun., Sept. 22
Æbleskivers: 11:30 a.m. @ Danish Days in Solvang
Tacos: 5 p.m. @ Cisko Kid, Los Alamos

Follow her online at youtube.com/RainaHuang and on Instagram via @rainaiscrazy


Please note this login is to submit events or press releases. Use this page here to login for your Independent subscription

Not a member? Sign up here.