Last year’s champion, Matt Stonie, is congratulated by the 2016 Nisei Week Court and Aki the Akita. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

On Saturday, Aug. 26, the world’s top competitive eaters will gather in Downtown Los Angeles for the 11th annual Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship.

The premier competitive eating event on the West Coast, the showdown challenges eaters to devour as many Day-Lee Pride gyoza as possible in 10 minutes.

Joey “Jaws” Chestnut — the No. 1 competitive eater in the world ranked by Major League Eating (MLE), the reigning Nathan’s Hot Dog eating record holder, and the world gyoza record holder (384 gyoza) — will be back to reclaim his title.

Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, the 2016 gyoza champ and No. 2 competitive eater in the world, will be defending his title.

Geoffrey Esper (#4), Gideon Oji (#6), Darron Breeden (#8), Michelle Lesco (#9), Juan Rodriguez (#12), Richard LeFevre (#13), Steve Hendry (#16), Pablo Martinez (#17), Eric Booker (#18), Jon Bello (#30), Sarah Reinecke (#36), Carlene LeFevre (#42), Doug Ecks (#46), and Mary Bowers (#47) will round out the competitor lineup, making it one of the strongest fields of professional eaters ever assembled.

Special guest Jonathan “Beer Mug” Kantrow, radio personality from KROQ’s “Kevin and Bean Show,” will also test his competitive eating skills against the world’s best.

Aside from bragging rights, competitors will be vying for a $6,000 cash purse.

Day-Lee Foods has been making its famous high-quality gyoza with generous filling, less dough, and no MSG for decades. This year, the company — which also makes a line of authentic, premium-quality Asian food — will be partnering with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and donating a case of product for every plate of gyoza consumed in the contest. That means for every pound of gyoza eaten, about 20 pounds of food will be donated to help alleviate hunger in the L.A. community. Day-Lee anticipates donating 3,200 pounds of food.

“We wanted to find a way to give back in a meaningful way and are excited to embark on a relationship with one of L.A.’s most deserving organizations,” said Craig Jaunzemis, director of marketing at Day-Lee Foods.

“The Day-Lee Foods World Gyoza Eating Championship has been one of the biggest events on our calendar since 2006,” said Rich Shea, president of Major League Eating and the International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE). “The best of the best have shocked fans by making huge strides in their capacity for gobbling gyoza over the years. With the impressive lineup scheduled to compete, we’re eager to see if 2017 will be the year that Joey’s 2014 world record of 384 gyoza in 10 minutes will be beaten.”

Miki Sudo and Matt Stonie were among the competitors trying to down as many gyoza as they could in 10 minutes last year. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)

Taking place during the 77th Los Angeles Nisei Week Japanese Festival, the eating championship is hosted by the Nisei Week Foundation and sanctioned by MLE and the IFOCE. The main event will take place at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) Plaza in Little Tokyo, located at 244 S. San Pedro St.

The main event will commence at 3 p.m. following the Little Tokyo Community Gyoza Chowdown at 2 p.m., the Ninin Baori Gyoza Challenge (Japanese party game) at 2:15 p.m., and the LAPD vs. LAFD Gyoza Eating Showdown at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free; limited seating and ample standing room will be available. The event will feature food, vendor booths, the Sapporo Beer Garden, and post-contest musical entertainment.

Additional information can be found online at Facebook (/GyozaChampionship), Twitter (@EatMoreGyoza), and Instagram (@EatMoreGyoza).

Day-Lee Foods Inc., a leader in authentic Asian cuisine, manufactures two frozen food brands for retail and foodservice customers: Day-Lee Pride, a line of six types of gyoza found in Asian and Japanese grocery stores throughout the U.S.; and Crazy Cuizine, a line of premium-quality Asian classics such as Mandarin Orange Chicken, Teriyaki Chicken, Korean BBQ, and Chicken & Pork Potstickers.

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