If you thought the Eliminator Burger Challenge at the Speed Zone was a heart attack waiting to happen, then you’re going to think a death wish is required to take on the following six stomach-punishing food challenges. Food challenges used to be limited to county fairs, where fair goers gathered to stuff their mouths with as many hot dogs as possible. These days, food challenges are sprouting up in restaurants all over the country. The prize is no longer a shiny blue ribbon, but bragging rights among friends, a T-shirt and most often, a free meal.
For the restaurants, a food challenge is a fairly inexpensive way to get some free marketing and publicity. Most challengers will fail so the restaurant will be paid for most of the meals (which is priced way more than the normal menu). Many challengers will video their attempts and put them on YouTube, thereby giving the restaurant more free press. Then there’s always the chance the restaurant will get a visit from Man v. Food.
If you know any other crazy food challenges, I would love to hear about it. In the meantime, the following six will either make you a stronger person, or kill you.
The Italian Challenge
- The Challenge: Seven pounds of Italian: soup, garlic loaf, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana, manicotti, sausage and a red velvet cupcake.
- Time limit: 90 minutes.
- If you win: The $49.99 meal is free, and you get a free T-shirt.
- Take the challenge: Mick & Angelo’s Eatery
This is the only Canadian challenge that Adam Richman has tackled on Man v. Food so far. You can find his photo inside on the wall of shame.
The Hillbilly Heart-Attack
- The Challenge: Six pounds of stacked barbecue meat made up of a layer of brisket inchili, pork in barbecue beans and chicken topped with cole slaw surrounded by nacho chips.
- Time Limit: 30 minutes.
- If you win: Your S26.55 meal is free.
- Take the challenge: Hillbilly Heaven
Nearly 300 people have tried, but Hamiltonian Kyle Van Duzen is the only one to succeed.
The Great White Whale Challenge
- The Challenge: A proper English meal: two pounds of tempura-battered cod, two pounds of chips and half a pound of peas. Cheerio, old chap!
- Time Limit: 45 minutes.
- If you win: Your $24.95 fish and chip is free and you get a “Victor’s” T-shirt.
- Take the challenge: Shakespeare Pub & Grille
Shakespeare is less than an hour away from me, so I might take the challenge. I won’t win but I’ll have enough takeout food to last for a week! More than 100 people have tried the challenge, 44 have completed it and one person has vomited because of it.
The Black Diamond
- The Challenge: Ten old-fashioned banana splits with five bananas, 30 scoops of ice cream, toppings, a can of whipped cream, a pound of nuts and 30 cherries.
- Time Limit: two hours.
- If you win: The $66.14 dessert is free, a plaque with your photo and a medal!
- Take the challenge: Tundra Ice Cream
The only person to attempt this challenge finished about half of it. Even though you are given a two-hour time limit, I imagine you’ll have to eat it as fast as possible or the ice cream will melt and create one big soggy mess. Unfortunately, no one will be able to attempt the challenge anymore since Tundra has gone under.
The Pho Garden Challenge
- The Challenge: A giant bowl of Pho with two pounds of noodles, brisket, meatballs, flank and tendon.
- Time Limit: 60 minutes.
- If you win: The $22 bowl of Pho is free.
- Take the challenge: Pho Garden
Around 1.000 people have tried; less than 250 have succeeded.You don’t need to drink the broth to win. The fastest time to complete the challenge was 10 minutes. The only person I know who attempted the Pho Garden Challenge was Stephen Fung. His attempt is documented in the video below.