Hyderabad, Aug. 20: It’s a test of speed and stamina; but one you train for by gorging on spicy, oily food. Also, turning up in an empty stomach definitely boosts your performance.
And participation is reward enough, especially for the cynical.
Hyderabad witnessed one such competition today, with even grandfathers turning up to show how much biryani they can lay into in how short a time.
The mouth-watering prospect of winning ' or even losing ' drew over 200 hopefuls, including 15 women, to a popular biryani joint in the heart of the city. Only 57 were shortlisted through lottery.
“We had some 55-year-olds and even a 60-year-old, who claimed he could make short work of 2 kg of biryani,” said D. Ramchander, one of the co-ordinators.
A batch of 20 kicked off the contest as the rest eagerly waited their turn, taking in the rich aroma wafting across Anmol hotel’s large dining hall. Each participant sat with a bowl containing 3 kg of biryani in front of him or her. “All they were required to do was gobble it all up in 10 minutes,” said another organiser, Wilson Rajan.
None could lick the platter clean, however, with the winner notching up only a kg and a half. “Perhaps it’s something to do with the adulterated biryani Hyderabadis now eat; it saps your stamina,” rued Mohammed Mukaram, the hotel’s managing director.
Mohammed Ayub Khan, a 38-year-old cloth merchant from the Old City, was the winner, having gulped down Rs 420 worth of biryani, weighing 1.502 kg. A butcher from the Secunderabad cantonment, Nelson Babu, 40, was runner-up with 1.162 kg and Jagdeep Gowd, a hospital cashier, followed with 1.090 kg.
Khan said he has always been a good trencherman ' the star of many a weekend binge and family feast. He is also a veteran of several eating contests, featuring anything from biryani to local sweet dishes, such as double-ka-meetha and qurbani-ka-meetha.
“When I eat out, I usually order two or more chicken biryanis for myself, or a full plate of mutton biryani,” he said.
Khan plans to bring up his son to become an eating champion and a martial arts and qawwali expert. He took home a set of cutlery and 3 kg of biryani as prize.
The organisers said the contest was aimed at plugging biryani as a tourist attraction.