The Asian Culture Appreciation Club held its 2nd annual “Fire Noodle Challenge” fundraiser for the Bay Area Rescue Mission, a homeless shelter based in Richmond, on December 14.
Participants competed to be the 1st to finish a plate of noodles drizzled in hot Sriracha sauce. For a $7 entry fee, people could enter the competition and earn the opportunity to win a cash prize and benefit the charity. The event was inspired by a recent viral social media trend.
Senior Eden Yu was the 1st to finish, winning in just under 3 minutes.
For club adviser Cheryl Rego, “the most memorable part was definitely the smell. The whole room smelled like spicy seaweed sauce for a while.”
While there were more spectators this year, the number of actual participants declined. According to club president junior Brightan Ying, there were about 20 official competitors last year, compared to this year’s 7. He believes students this year were more intimidated by the challenge. “There’s a lot of fear in the challenge. I’ve told horror stories to hype people up, but I think I ended up scaring other people away,” said Ying.
“I would definitely not want to do the challenge,” said sophomore Justin Xiao, a spectator. “People’s eyes were watering from the Sriracha sauce and as much as it is for charity, it just didn’t look worth it to put yourself through all that trouble.”
Despite not having as many competitors, Ying noticed there was an abundance of students that came to cheer on their friends. He decided to profit off the spectators with the use of “incentives,” an idea he credits to club president freshman Sarah Wu.
For a donation of $3, spectators could add more Sriracha sauce to a competitor’s noodle bowl. For $1, they could help out a friend by buying them a glass of milk. “Last year, spectators were standing around and didn’t have anything to do,” said Ying. “Having incentives brought people closer and made it more interesting.”
Even more changes are already planned for next year. Ying said, “having people be less scared would be great. Maybe next time we’ll use a food that is less meant to be scary. I’m gonna try to make it more inviting next time, so more people would participate and the club could make more money for charity.”
~Article by Mindy Luo published in La Puma, January 7, 2019.
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