Noodle Nightmare! Restaurant Fined for Eating Competition

By Billy Jiang, May 24, 2023

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In a culinary escapade gone wrong, a restaurant in Shenzhen found itself in hot water after its outrageous competitive eating promotion raised eyebrows and appetites.

The establishment, aiming for a bowl-slurping spectacle, lured customers with the tantalizing offer of "Free of Charge for finishing FOUR bowls of noodles in 30 minutes! Win RMB888 for FIVE, and RMB1,288 for SIX!"

Little did they know that their overzealous promotion would soon leave them with empty pockets and a rumbling stomach.

The challenge dared customers to consume an astounding eight kilograms of noodles, enough to feed a small army or a very hungry Godzilla! But, while the restaurant's enthusiasm was commendable, the local market regulatory authority had other plans.

Not amused by the spectacle, the authorities quickly pounced on the illegal promotion, serving up a fine that left the restaurant gasping for air.

The consequences of this over-the-top gastronomic challenge go beyond just the diners' wallets. Nutritionists warn of the perils of gluttony. Consuming more food than one's body requires, and testing the limits of your own digestive system is totally unnecessary and potentially harmful.


"Big Belly Competition" launched by a hotel in Xiamen. Image via China Consumer News.

But this was not an isolated incident in China's battle against food waste. Just last April, a hotel in Xiamen unveiled the audacious 'Big Belly Competition,' where restaurant guests were tasked with devouring several 1.5-kilogram burgers within half an hour. 

The market regulatory authority in Shenzhen states that such promotional activities induce consumers to over order, resulting in significant food waste, which is considered illegal behavior.

So, for restaurant owners, under what circumstances is it considered illegal?

1. Inducing consumers to over order.

2. Failing to prominently display anti-food waste signs or labels.

3. On-site staff not providing explanations or guiding consumers to order according to their needs and in appropriate quantities.

4. Online ordering systems also lacking reminders against food waste.

All of the above constitute illegal behavior as they fail to actively remind or alert consumers about preventing food waste.

China's battle against food waste doesn't stop there. A law implemented in 2021 has cracked down on competitive eating and the sharing of binge-eating videos.

Food businesses are encouraged to remind customers about the need to be mindful of food waste and to actively discourage it.

Restaurants found guilty of inducing or misleading behavior that lead to diners wasting food receive a warning, while serious violators can be fined up to RMB10,000.

So, the next time you're tempted by a colossal food challenge, remember that it's not just your wallet that might suffer!

Have you witnessed any epic food waste battles while dining out? Share your thoughts with us and follow us on WeChat Official Account, ThatsGBA.

[All Images via China Consumer News]

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