Competitive herbivores from around the region raced against the clock at Saturday’s fifth annual Vegan Wing Bowl at The Abbaye in Northern Liberties.
Hot sauce-soaked vital wheat gluten was the stand-in for traditional buffalo wings, and 14 competitors stuffed their faces in hopes of winning a trophy and $100 cash. Before that, four competitors went face-first into vegan pies with their hands tied behind their backs.
The competition, put on by Philly Roller Derby (formerly Philly Roller Girls) and The Abbaye, took cues from the sport of roller derby. While there was no physical contact, competitors had to eat as many wings as they could within a two-minute “jam,” the term used for a round of roller derby.
Except for the top three eaters, most competitors couldn’t finish the initial one-pound portion of fried seitan. Winner Brandon Lyman was able to put down 26.8 ounces of the wings, and 23.9 ounces earned Byron Armstong second place. (Armstrong was last year’s winner.) Bryan Kauffman took third with 22 ounces eaten.
Now in its fifth year, the Vegan Wing Bowl started as something fun to do among friends who were interested in competitive eating, but happened to be vegan or vegetarian, according to Erica Vanstone, the vice president of Philly Roller Derby. It follows the popular WIP Radio-sponsored Wing Bowl held the Friday before the Super Bowl.
The Abbaye’s wing bowl is meant to be more respectful towards women while still being “a ridiculous eating contest.”