WATCH: Competitive eater makes a stop in eastern Idaho, eats 18-inch pizza in 8 minutes
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IDAHO FALLS – Raina Huang loves to eat and she demonstrated that love in spades Monday night.
The 131-pound, 27-year-old California woman is a competitive eater with a large following on TikTok, Youtube and other social media platforms. She is known for her ability to eat large amounts of food as fast as she can.
During a stop at Lucy’s Pizza in downtown Idaho Falls, she ate an 18-inch, four-topping pizza and 40-ounce drink in 8:03 minutes. Watch it in the video player above.
“I’m ok,” Huang told EastIdahoNews.com after finishing the food. “Their pizza is really good. I feel like it was pretty light because their pizza isn’t too thick on the crust, so it wasn’t too bad.”
What made the feat more impressive for Huang is the fact that she is lactose intolerant. Even with all the cheese on the pizza, she still managed to eat it all without any problems.
“I’m not too bad on the lactose intolerance, so I can definitely take in a good amount before I feel really bad,” says Huang.
It’s a condition that started affecting Huang only recently. Though it’s a mild case, she says it’s a direct result of all the food challenges she’s been a part of over the years.
Huang says she’s had a big appetite her entire life.
“I’m Chinese and in Chinese culture … there’s no portion control. My family always wanted to feed the kids and they’d always put everything on my plate,” she says. “My family didn’t want any leftovers so they’d say ‘Raina, eat it!’ So they kind of trained me for this.”
Her first food challenge occurred about three years ago. She ate a 4-pound burrito in six minutes. She filmed the entire thing and it became a huge hit on Youtube.
From there, she began looking for other challenges and has documented them all online.
Huang says eating pancakes are the most difficult challenge. Her favorite food for challenges is noodles.
As we learned about her popularity online, the main thing we wondered is how she is able to eat massive amounts of food consistently while maintaining a 131-pound bodyweight.
“I run a 5K every day,” Huang says. “When I’m at home, I definitely balance it out. When I’m on tour doing stuff like this, that will be my meal for the entire day. At home, I eat very healthy — a lot of vegetables, very few carbs and very little meat.”
Aside from a minor case of lactose intolerance, Huang hasn’t experienced any health side effects from this lifestyle. She isn’t worried about any long-term health consequences because of her approach to it, but she knows it isn’t something she can continue forever.
Huang says the real thrill of this venture is being able to travel across the country to try new things and meet lots of people. She’s planning to do lots more of that when the eating challenges become a thing of the past.
“It’s definitely about meeting the fans … and exploring because I love to travel. The traveling part has been incredible for me. I’ve been bubbled up in California my whole life and when I started to (consider) going on international trips or even within the U.S., I was like ‘Oh my God, there’s so much to do and discover and so many different cultures. I really enjoy experiencing that,” Huang says.
Huang has completed about a dozen food challenges since beginning a tour throughout Utah and Idaho two weeks ago. Accompanying her on the trip is 31-year-old Blaine Koenig of Long Beach, California, who ate an 8-pound steak dinner at a restaurant in Caldwell prior to arriving in Idaho Falls.
“It took me 55 minutes,” Koenig says. “I’m just happy if I finish the challenge. That’s my goal. It’s never to try and beat a record or anything like that. I feel it big time. I don’t usually feel that great. On the drive over here, I was sweating a lot.”
The duo stopped at Blue Heeler Bar in Pocatello Tuesday, where Huang completed the Big Dog Challenge. She ate a pound of hamburger, grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon, ham, four pieces of cheese and a pound of french fries in a record time of 5 minutes.
Huang and Koenig will make a stop at Westside Pizza in Boise Wednesday and Big Jud’s on Thursday, before heading on to Las Vegas, where they’ll complete the tour.