The modern eating challenge is a global phenomenon. Popularised by shows like the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”, gargantuan portions and bottom-blisteringly hot spices make for exceptionally entertaining viewing.
Such is the popularity of the eating challenge conceit that restaurants the world over have created their own foodie tasks for greedy contenders. Some test your stomach, some test your pain threshold - and all test your willpower. Roll up your sleeves and loosen your belts. Here’s our collection of the greatest eating challenges from around the world.
1. The Fish - The 15 dozen club
After Adam Richman’s exploits on “MvF”, the "15-Dozen Oyster Challenge" at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans has become arguably the most well known seafood eating task on the planet. A competitor must devour nearly two and a half kilos of oysters to be rewarded with a T-Shirt and a place on the wall of fame. You may also attempt to continue past the 15 dozen mark to have a crack at Pat Bertolleti’s all time record, which stands at an unbelievable 44 dozen - that’s 528 oysters. With the shellfish famous for their aphrodisiac qualities, it doesn’t bear thinking about how Pat felt after finishing.
2. The Pizza - Carnivore Pizza Challenge
Eating challenges do not have to be a solo mission. To tackle the greatest monstrosities of the foodie kingdom, teamwork is required. This is certainly true for Big Pie in the Sky’s “Carnivore Pizza Challenge”. Teams of two work together to devour an 11-pound, 30 inch behemoth in under an hour. The event costs $50 dollars to enter, and there is a potential cash prize of $250 dollars. Whether $250 is worth the inevitable chronic indigestion is a topic of some debate.
3. The Curry - Brick Lane Phaal
Eating challenges are not all about quantity. Some of greatest tests may be small, but are no less mighty. New York’s Brick Lane Curry House produces a prime example - the infamously ferocious “Brick Lane Phaal”. Reputedly the hottest curry in the world, the phaal’s preparation requires chefs to don a gas mask in order to safely assemble the ingredients. 10 different types of chillies combine to deliver a dish that measures nearly 1 million units on the Scoville scale - 100 times hotter than a jalapeno. Small wonder that it defeats almost 90% of opponents. Approach with caution and travel with a pack of wet wipes - essential for both ends.
4. The Wings - Fire in Your Hole
We seem to be gluttons for punishment when it comes to spicy wing challenges. Few foods can be as excruciating, yet keep people coming back for more. However, the aptly named “Fire in Your Hole” challenge is a bridge too far for all but the hardiest of digestive tracts. Coated in ghost chilli extract, the 10 hot wings served up at Munchies 420 Cafe is a plateful of pure punishment. That Adam Richman could only manage two before throwing in the towel is testament to the challenge’s infernal heat.
5. The Bowl - The Inferno Bowl Challenge
Most challenges are split into two distinct camps - quantity or heat. A task that combines both, therefore, is a truly evil proposition. The Inferno Bowl Challenge at Nitally’s ThaiMex Cuisine does just that. Served in a 48 ounce bowl, the challenge combines 12 peppers, including the aforementioned ghost chilli, and a whole load of fiery soup. The challenge is yet to be conquered, and restaurant owner Ally Valdez is now offering an $800 prize for the first person to finish the dish in the allotted 30 minute time period.
For those that can successfully tackle them, eating challenges represent foodie immortality. Prizes, T-shirts and wall-of-fame portraits await. However, none, especially these six, should be taken lightly. Only with proper training, mental fortitude and a serious appetite can you hope to succeed.
To all greedy foodies - we wish you fortune in your various future eating quests.