Courtesy of Raina Huang / YouTube

Raina Huang ate 1512 Pocky sticks in 50 minutes

Mike Pomranz
August 31, 2018

No one ever said the world of competitive eating wasn’t… um… competitive. But the ways it’s competitive have changed with the times, and now even nontraditional eating contest foods like Pocky sticks can be as lucrative as slamming hot dogs or chicken wings.

For example, let’s look at the best known eating competition: the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, a lineup of valiant Major League Eaters battling to break a well-established record that currently stands at 74 hot dogs in ten minutes. But did you know the top prize is only $10,000? Meanwhile, popular pro eater Matt Stonie, who came in fifth this year, took the final paying position, walking with just $1,000. Stonie, who currently has about 6 million subscribers on YouTube, can easily make that much money with one video. In fact, he currently has over 200 videos with more than a million views—all of which could theoretically have netted him a payout of more than a grand. (The YouTube rule of thumb tends to be about a buck per 1,000 views.)

For his latest video, about 10 days ago, Stonie decided to binge on Pocky sticks, the “chocolate cream covered biscuit sticks” that were originally launched in Japan. He set his "Pocky Challenge” at 1,620 sticks—or 15,300 calories’ worth—as quickly as possible. Despite failing the challenge, officially throwing in the towel around the 50-minute mark, Stonie has still racked up nearly 8.5 million views. Not bad for a failed day’s work.

After seeing his inability to down all those Pocky, fellow competitive eater Raina Huang—who may be best known for eating a 50x50 In-N-Out burger—saw an opening, and set out to prove she could handle her biscuit sticks better than Stonie. On Wendesday, she posted the video “Pocky Eating Challenge vs Matt Stonie” with the slightly more modest goal of 1,512 Pocky sticks, but a number that was still high enough to potentially put Stonie to shame.

Indeed, Huang’s video shows her getting through her entire bowl of Pocky in about 50 minutes—an amount of time she described as “absolutely forever,” but an accomplishment that proves she can stick it (pun!) to Stonie. Granted, watching a couple of nearly 10-minute YouTube videos might not have the same excited of a head-to-head competition, but it proves that the landscape of eating battles is moving online.

However, though YouTube might help level the playing field, it doesn’t mean that online competitive eating is always fair. As of this writing, Huang’s video only has about 14,000 views, way less than Stonie managed from his video where he couldn’t even complete the challenge. Though Huang may have won the Pocky battle, she still has a ways to go before she’s eaten her way to the top!

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