Algerian with prodigious stomach eyes record books

Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:41pm EST
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By Abdelaziz Boumzar

ALGIERS (Reuters Life!) - An Algerian who says he can eat light bulbs, candles, sawdust, nails and over 1,000 boiled eggs in one sitting is itching to enter the record books and earn the pride of his compatriots.

Salim Haini, alias El Akoul (The Eater), discovered his digestive talents eight years ago during the Ramadan month of fasting and prayer, when he found the enormous meals he ate after sunset did little to satisfy his stomach.

Since then his appetite has steadily grown.

"I've eaten two barrels of olive oil in one go, 40 loaves of bread, 75 bowls of chorba (Algerian soup)...," Haini told Reuters. "I once ate an entire roast lamb weighing 35 kilos."

Like most young Algerians, Haini is unemployed and on some days he goes without a proper meal.

His cravings once got him into trouble when he awoke hungry, stole into his uncle's vegetable patch and devoured 50 kg of lettuces, said Haini's manager Karim Rahal.

Friends and relatives in his home town of Ain Defla suggested he put his appetite to work and enter competitions.

"I'm now the eating champion in 30 wilayas (provinces) across the country," said Haini. "God willing, the authorities will help me travel abroad and become the first Arab to eat his way into the Guinness Book of World Records."   Continued...

<p>Salim Haini, alias El Akoul (The Eater) bites a fluorescent light tube during an exhibition in Cheraga, west of Algiers, February 12, 2009. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi</p>