Any time food gets too big to eat, it becomes entertaining. One curiosity for me is looking at abnormally large fruits, vegetables, or animals. When you start to explore this universe, you’ll find that it’s a place filled with record-breaking pizzas, lasagnas, burgers, and other foods that would taste better if they were proportionally sized to your mouth. The process of making and growing these overweight items is a waste of time, a waste of food, and a waste of everything but your attention. But there’s an endless supply of videos on this theme, and this small selection is an attempt at singling out the pointlessness of it all. Enjoy.
Picking the World’s Largest Watermelon
It’s been almost three years since I found this video, and it’s still one of my absolute favorites on YouTube. It’s the kind of thing I look for all the time and almost never find. If you really want to be transported to a hot summer day in Hope, Arkansas, you should watch this at home, on the big screen, with the volume turned all the way up. The best moment comes when they drop the first watermelon they try to pick and it cracks wide open—without hesitation, everyone in the picking party begins feasting on the wreckage. Stay tuned until the end, when they drive the watermelon to some nondescript loading dock and the entire town arrives to weigh the beast.
World’s Largest Fried Egg!
I don’t think that I have to convince anyone that this video is disgusting. Before watching this, I didn’t think that you were supposed to fry an ostrich egg, but as soon as she actually started frying it, I knew for a fucking fact that you’re not supposed to. Even though I am fighting the urge to throw up, I appreciate the effort behind someone thinking, Oh, that’s something you can do, and just doing it.
People who eat people are generally not considered “good people.” If you have any doubts, spend an afternoon searching the world wide web and peruse the “Cannibal Top Ten Lists,” which are occupied by the Milwaukee Monster Jeffrey Dahmer, Japanese exchange student Issei Sagawa, and child-killer Albert Fish. And news of the insane and psychopathic hits our home pages on the regular, such as the recent story of a hotel restaurant in Nigeria shut down by police for serving human flesh as an “expensive treat.”
The dispatches we have from a pre-internet era are no different. With the torch lit by Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century B.C., carried on by the likes of Captain Cook and his crewin the Pacific, and still not yet extinguished by those traveling through Africa in the early twentieth century, a significant portion of European history is dedicated to documenting encounters with the bloodthirsty man-eaters of the far corners of the globe.
Tinged with varying degrees of racism, many of these accounts are just xenophobic hearsay. A surprising number, however, have actually been verified as true.
My friend Dan survives on nothing but pizza. There’s that phrase, “variety is the spice of life,” but for Dan, a 38-year-old woodworker based in Maryland, oregano is the only spice involved, because it’s the only thing that he will put on top of his pizza. The next time someone tells you to eat your vegetables, you can tell them to fuck off and enlighten them with the story of this guy.
Everyone who knows Dan wonders how he’s still alive. Beyond the fact that his diet is completely horrifying, he also has diabetes and frequently gets low blood sugar. When his blood sugar dips into the danger zone, it results in events like him blacking out on his kitchen floor in his underwear with frozen food scattered around him. There was that one time he bought a new car and then blacked out on the drive home. He swerved off the road and totaled the vehicle, but other than that isolated incident, his pizza diet seems to be working out for him. I recently spoke to Dan to hear more about how he came to subsist on gluten, tomato sauce, and cheese alone.
VICE: It’s been said that you’re the king of pizza. How did you get that reputation? Dan Janssen: I’ve been eating pizza exclusively every day of my life for the past 25 years, and I’m not just talking about a slice of pizza every day. I usually eat an entire 14” pizza, and I only eat cheese pizza. I never get sick of it. If I go to one pizza shop or another brand, it’s like eating a completely different meal.
In Part 1 of Fresh Off the Boat - NYC, Eddie travels north to the Bronx, where he and WorldStarHipHop star Loopy hit up local bodegas, chow down on a Japanese-Dominican platano mashup disaster, and talk about holdin’ down the hood over mani-pedis.
In the Male Chef kitchen, I’m always looking for new ways to manipulate, play with, and eventually ingest my meals. After running a food blog for some time, me and the rest of my Male Sous Chefs have been invited over to VICE for a chance to explore the rear-end of food culture even further.
I wanted to kick things off by exploring the idea of “food hacking,” or finding the fastest and easiest ways to change your cooking habits so you can maximize your life’s efficiency. Bearing this goal in mind, I turned to one of the most efficient environments I could think of: the corporate office.
Monivong Boulevard is a bustling thoroughfare in the heart of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. So it’d be easy to wander by the low-profile restaurant that, at first glance, resembles any other Khmer food joint—if it weren’t for the billboard revealing that this restaurant has ties to the most repressive regime in the world. Welcome to “Pyongyang,” a little piece of North Korea in Cambodia.
It’s actually one of a dozen or more Pyongyang restaurants located all over Southeast Asia, all of which are owned and operated by the North Korean regime. Bona fide North Koreans staff the restaurants, which are widely believed to be laundering money and ferrying intelligence back to Kim Jong-un. TripAdvisor gives the one in Phnom Penh 3.5 stars.
I make a reservation for 7 PM and am sure to arrive on time —I imagine tardiness is frowned upon by totalitarians. Either despite or because of the fact that the restaurant is run by a dictatorship, the place is punishingly well-lit thanks to a ceiling covered in compact fluorescent bulbs. Maybe this is to help ensure no sneaky Westerners violate the ban on snapping photos.