Nisei Week's Gyoza-Gobbling Showdown

The dumpling-centered championship is one of the savory centerpieces of the celebration.

What to Know

  • Saturday, Aug. 18
  • Little Tokyo
  • Competitive contest

If only all of the foods available in this world could arrive wrapped in a won ton wrapper, or with a dippable sauce lush with scallions and ginger, or with a spicy filling that might include pork or vegetables or some kapow-filled combination of the two.

Alas, most edibles do not appear at our table bearing such inestimable gifts, but those goodies from the potsticker family most definitely do.

And if the gyoza is your go-to dumpling, above all delicious dumplings, you surely know what will happen at the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18.

It's the Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship, a savory showdown of dough-tastic, filling-fine proportions. 

Gyoza-loving competitive eaters will have ten short minutes to devour an astounding number of small but hearty dumplings. The recent record, from 2017? Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, an icon on the competitive-eating circuit, ate 377 gyoza "in competition."

Goodness. We're dumplingfounded, we mean dumbfounded, over that amazing amount.

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A few tasty to-knows if you go to the famous event, which is folded into the last weekend of the also famous Nisei Week Japanese Celebration, an annual community celebration centered around Little Tokyo?

There shall be food booths, including one selling, you got it, gyoza. So you can have some pocket-stuffed savories of your very own.


The afternoon to-do is a fundraiser for Gweneviere Mann, the wife of competitive eater Yasir Salem. Ms. Mann "passed away from a rare form of lung cancer," and the day's host, Day-Lee Foods, will honor her memory by collecting donations. There's a raffle, so give five bucks, maybe win a sweet prize, and give some love to the Gweneviere Mann Foundation.

More on this dumpling-big bash, one that is flavorful and give-back-a-ful? Here's more info on the potstickeriest party around.

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