Sure, I invented this food eating contest, but that’s pretty much the only way I’m going to become the winner of one.Lisa and I arrived in Hsipaw, Myanmar on a train from Pyin Oo Lwin. The signature moment of the ride was crossing the Gokteik Viaduct, a railway bridge built in 1901 that was, at the time, the second tallest (318 ft) in the world. Almost the entire ride, however, was scenic and we would link up with Zoe and Mg who, together with Laura, Jazzer and Alesha, would accompany us on our two-day overnight trek to Pankam Village. After the six of us signed up for the trek (Laura would add on later), we grabbed dinner at Mr. Food and headed our separate ways. I had seen some positive online reviews about a place called Mr. Shake, and if you read the post about my favorite drinks of Southeast Asia, you can imagine how anxious I was to try it.
As we were finishing our drinks, Lisa asked how much I thought they would be — she guessed 800 kyat (about 83 cents). I figured given the excellent reviews, large number of people here, the newer blender technology and very nice glasses that shakes were delivered in, we were looking at something more like 1500 kyat. We got up to pay and Lisa had been exactly right. Not only that, but the price is independent of ingredients — fruit, milk, coffee, oreos, rum — you call it and there is no limit! Certainly we were going to be returning to this place frequently, but it would be another couple days as we had trekking to take care of.Two days later, as we ended our trek with a short pickup ride to town, our group of seven reached a consensus. Please take us to Mr. Shake instead of our hotel — it was hot and we craved refreshment more than a shower. To our disappointment, when we arrived at 11:30am, Mr. Shake was not there. We showered, grabbed some lunch and returned later in the afternoon. Then we returned again that evening. As I was finishing up my second shake, I asked Mr. Shake what the largest quantity of shakes consumed by one customer was. He pulled out photos (many of which are hung with pride around his shop) showing two people who had consumed five shakes each and another duo who had topped that with six.
I decided that I was fully capable of beating that, so I floated the idea to our group for the following day. Mg, a police officer on a one-year leave from Singapore, jumped at the opportunity and our two-person team (a critical component to the Mr. Shake Challenge that I had just invented) was formed. Mg advised Mr. Shake to stock up on fruit for the following day and be ready for us around 11:30am.
When we arrived at noon the following day Mr. Shake wasn’t there. Lisa and I had a 4:30pm bus to catch and I didn’t want to be finishing up my seventh shake right before I stepped onto a fifteen-hour overnight bus ride to Kalaw. We decided to get started. We tried to order and Mr. Shake’s wife told us that he would be back soon and we should just wait, because he wanted to be here for this. Well, we had seven shakes to drink, and Lisa and Laura were along to document the challenge, so we got Mrs. Shake to agree to an early start with our first round. Fast forward an hour later and we still haven’t started our second shake — each shake is handmade and there were other customers to serve.So we started stepping up our orders, but went a little lighter in the middle rounds after our heavy start with pineapple-strawberry-mint-ginger-lemon. Four lemon-honey-ginger shakes (which Laura had taste-tested the prior round) were ordered to fulfill our second and third rounds. Then we ordered six watermelon-mint shakes, one with rum and three with lemon to fulfill our fourth and fifth rounds and keep our spectators hydrated. Mr. Shake used just under two shots of Mandalay Rum in my fifth round that had my stomach hurting for a good twenty minutes. I recovered and continued strong through the final two rounds.
The final shake order list:
|Round||Matt’s Shakes||Mg’s Shakes|
|5||watermelon, mint, rum||watermelon, mint, lemon|
|6||pineapple, apple, strawberry||apple, lemon, mint|
|7||strawberry, banana||oreo, coffee, banana, milk|
I strongly recommend heading to Hsipaw, Myanmar. The trekking to Pankam Village there seemed unspoiled by tourism — something that can’t and won’t last forever. While you’re there, check out Yuan Yuan Fruits Shake (Mr. Shake) and see if our photo is still hanging on the wall. I’m sure our reigning world record will be short-lived (we could have easily handled another round or two, as we shared a post-challenge chicken-rice), but it was still a fun diversion filled with delicious shakes for our final hours in Hsipaw.
If you want to best us, find a partner and make sure you each drink at least seven shakes! Victory can be yours for under $7 USD.