Few headlines have ever been written that are more east coast Canada than “Halifax man claims to set record for eating most donairs.”
Maybe, “Buddy From Glace Bay Flips Lobster Truck While Singing 'Bud the Spud,'” would give it a run for its money, but it would be close. And we can all thank Joel Hansen for that sweetly stereotypically Maritime headline after he dropped by King of Donair last week and jammed nearly 20 of the sweet meat logs into himself.
"I was in Halifax and when you're in the area you have to enjoy the local cuisine,” Hansen told VICE. “It was 2019, so what a better way to break it in than eating 19 donairs."
For those of you out there who don’t know what a donair is, here's a quick breakdown: They’re a wonderful combination of a pita, an amazing cut of perfectly spiced spit roasted shaved beef, served with onions and tomatoes, and slathered in donair sauce (think sweet, garlicky, white, sticky goodness)—they’re kinda like a sweet shawarma if you want to be an asshole about it.
Hansen uploaded a live stream of him cramming the delicacies onto his YouTube channel. In the video, Hansen gets to the Halifax donair shop, says hello to the audience, goes to the washroom (to make some room I suppose), and then opens up a pizza box full of donairs. He goes about unwrapping some to cool them down, his friends ready a timer, count down from 10, and BOOM he starts what will certainly be the greatest athletic feat pulled off by a Canadian in 2019.
As the time ticks down Hansen eats—one donair, then two, then three, four, five—beside him, the collection of foil wrapping grows higher and higher as time moves on. He moves quickly at first but in the latter part of the hour starts tailing off.
"From the first to the tenth donair they were enjoyable,” Hansen said. “From ten to 15 they were fine. After 15 it was getting pretty rough. There is something called flavour fatigue that happens, over time your body just wants no more of it."
"It took me 30 minutes to eat the first 15 and 25 minutes to eat the last four."
Hansen said he actually was expecting to just eat for half an hour but some fans in his chat urged him on and he pushed through. In total cost, our main man paid over 150 bucks for all the sweet, sweet donairs—they just over $8 a pop. If you wanted to weigh out the amount of donairs that went down Hansen’s gullet well it would be around 10 pounds. Hansen said the only reason this is the unofficial record is that Guinness World Records aren’t accepting new applications for food records.
Now Hansen isn’t exactly what you would typically think of when you dream up a stunt eater. He’s in rather good shape, posting pictures of his abs online and putting up videos like “HOW DO COMPETITIVE EATERS NOT GET FAT?,” and says he works as a model. Hansen’s Facebook and Instagram username is Model Vs. Food, a play on the popular tv show Man Vs. Food.
Hansen told VICE he was an overweight child who loved to eat, over time he learned about nutrition and was able to get himself into shape—he’s actually doing his masters in applied nutrition. He spent time as a bodybuilder and powerlifter but never lost his love for food, so when injuries waylaid him from his chosen sports and he starting channelling that competitive spirit into eating. It’s been going well, to say the least, he’s won the Smoke’s Poutinerie amateur world eating championship and competed in a pumpkin pie eating contest.
Those challenges didn’t garner him the attention that the donair one did—even though he doesn't think it’s his most “monumental achievement” in eating. He said that he’s surprised by the attention he got from the video but that he gets it because donairs are “a special food.”
As all of us who have dabbled in the goodness of donairs know, while they’re wonderful on the way in they’re a destructive force on the way out. So, when asked about the, uh, aftermath of eating upwards of 20 donairs Hansen laughed.
"I was feeling very full and definitely I wasn't eating anything for the rest of the night," he said. "That being said, I was fine the next day and there wasn't really that crazy of an aftermath at all.
"It was good."
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