The winner of Kumluca's Hot Pepper Eating Competition in Turkey's southern Antalya province devoured 308 grams of burning hot peppers in just three minutes. The competition had a fair share of laugh-out-loud moments with outrun competitors running around in circles shouting "I am burning" and jury members coming to their aid by dousing them with water from plastic bottles.
The competition was held in two groups with 18 contesters in total, who came both from Kumluca district and other places in Turkey in order to show off their pepper eating skills. The peppers were weighed carefully on precision scales before the start and participants were offered tomatoes and 'ayran' alongside the fiery vegetable.
Accompanied by the tunes of zurnas (Turkish traditional oboe) and drums, the contestants had to show which of them could eat the largest amount of hot peppers in just three minutes.
The champion of the competition turned out to be Süleyman Acar who ate 308 grams of peppers, in second place came Hasan Özdil with 307 grams and Mehmet Ata, who ate 266 grams, came in third.
Although some of the participants seemed to suffer, an officer in the district pointed out that scientific studies had proven that the consumption of hot peppers released happiness hormones in the human brain, having a similar effect as chocolate or Turkish döner, and that peppers were very healthy both for the body and the mind.
The event was held as part of the 18th Agriculture and Greenhouse Festival, according to Kumluca mayor Hüsamettin Çetinkaya it is a way to promote local produce. Çetinkaya, using the slogan "We produce, we eat", wants to make consumers aware of the health benefits of locally produced vegetables.