Of all the so-called ‘Seven Deadly Sins’, gluttony seems to be the one transgression that we not only accept in society -- we actively reward it. Trips to all-you-can-eat buffets are approached with the kind of strategy and planning that a Navy Seals team puts into a covert mission. Competitive eaters are idolized with nearly the same level of adoration as professional athletes. And food television shows like Man vs. Food and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives have reached huge audiences for essentially promoting the rise of cholesterol levels.
The explosion of food culture, partially driven by people’s growing need to post photos of their meals on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, has only pushed this quest for calories to new heights. And let’s be honest: half the time someone claims to be a ‘foodie’, they really just mean ‘fatty’. So it’s more than understandable that restaurants around the world are offering outlandish food challenges that would make even the most insatiable of appetites feeling nauseated. Here now are 12 of the most ridiculous restaurant challenges around the world:
12 The 'I Can’t Drive' $55 Dollar Nachos Challenge
Everyone loves nachos, right? But it goes without saying that you typically share a plate of nachos with a couple of your good friends. One time I saw a dude eat a giant plate of nachos by himself and I couldn’t get that image out of my head for an entire week. And even then, it was replaced by a slightly more disturbing image of a guy single-handedly consuming an entire 3-foot party sub. True story. Anyway, Las Vegas’ Cabo Wabo Cantina has an ‘I Can’t Drive’ $55 Dollar Nacho challenge that consists of an 8 pound plate of nachos, loaded with chipotle sauce, queso, mixed cheese, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, poblano peppers, pickled and fresh jalapenos, taco meat, carnitas, fajita chicken, carne asada, shrimp, sour cream, salsa, guacamole and pico de gallo. Contestants/victims have 55 minutes to complete the challenge, and if you win, you get the meal for free, have your picture taken for Sammy Hagar’s Macho Nacho Hall of Fame, and win a free t-shirt. Who says you can’t put a price on dignity?
11 The Triple Jumbo Ramen Challenge
Kagurazaka Hanten in the Shinjuku-ku district of Tokyo, Japan offers the one food challenge that I might actually be persuaded into trying. The Triple Jumbo Ramen challenge costs 1,890 yen (a measly US$19), and just as the name suggests, you must polish off three giant bowls of pork ramen -- including the broth -- within one hour. If you are successful, you get the whole thing for free and a spot on their Wall of Fame. If ramen isn’t your thing, Kagurazaka Hanten also offers three other challenges: the largest gyoza in Tokyo challenge (three times the size of an average human head), the jumbo fried rice challenge and the 100 gyoza platter challenge.
10 The Inferno Pizza Challenge
There are tons of food challenges around the world in which you must consume a pizza with a 28-inch-plus diameter. However, Pazza Bistro in Gainesville, Florida, offers a unique taste on the universal pizza challenge by cooking up a spicy pizza from hell. This 12-inch Inferno Pizza is made with tongue-numbingly spicy sauce, habanero peppers, jalapeno peppers, and ghost peppers. I don’t know about you guys but I’m sweating just thinking about it. The challenge has a strict set of rules, including a 20 minute time limit, only one glass of water, no napkins, and if you somehow manage to finish the pizza, you must lick your hands and fingers clean. It’s no wonder that all contestants must sign a waiver prior to embarking on the challenge. If you manage to complete the challenge, you get free soda for life and an “I Survived!” keychain. However, if you’re truly a glutton for punishment and you manage to complete the challenge five times, Pazza Bistro will allow you to rename the pizza.
9 The Dawg Ice Cream Sundae Challenge
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, Waffle Cone Creamery in Copperas Cove, Texas, has you covered with this $38 sundae. Sure, the ‘Dawg’ may set you back more than the average sundae, but a quick glimpse at the ingredients and it’s easy to see why. The sundae consists of sixteen 8-ounce scoops of homemade ice cream (your choice), one can of whipped cream, cherries, and an army of toppings that they choose depending on availability and the customer’s allergies, including hot fudge, Oreo cookies, M&M’s, gummy bears, waffle chips, bananas, sprinkles, and nuts. And if you didn’t already feel like some kind of animal, attempting to scarf this down, the six-inch high sundae is served in a 8.5-inch dog bowl. Woof. If you manage to finish the whole thing within an hour, you’ll be rewarded with $100 in cash, a spot on Waffle Cone’s Wall Of Fame, and the honor of renaming the challenge until some other poor bastard beats it.
8 The Pancake Challenge
If you find yourself at MAC 24-7, located inside the Hilton Waikiki resort in Honolulu, Hawaii, you can try eating three 14-inch flapjacks topped with either blueberries, walnuts and chocolate chunks; pineapple, coconut and macadamia nuts; or cinnamon streusel with vanilla glaze. Before you sign up, you should know that these pancakes are nearly half the size of Captain America’s shield. But instead of defending yourself from a slew of supervillains, you’ll be defending yourself against an evil case of heartburn if you manage to finish these edible hubcaps. When the challenge was featured on Man v. Food, host Adam Richmond couldn’t even succeed. In fact, only seven people out of the more than 250 who have attempted the challenge, to date, have been successful. Fortunately, the management at MAC 24-7 understands the difficulty of this challenge and provides you with 90 minutes to complete the task. If you succeed, the pancakes will be on the house and you’ll get your picture up on the Wall of Fame.
7 The Chupacabra Burrito Challenge
We’re pleased to announce that Joe Taco Mexi-Cafe in Amarillo, Texas, has given birth to an unhealthy, $25 baby burrito named Chupacabra. At two-feet long and eight pounds, this little adorable (and delicious) guy is stuffed with beef and chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, rice, beans and caliente sauce topped with mounds of sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and all of Joe Taco’s signature sauces. If you’re able to digest all eight pounds of this mythical monster, you’ll receive the burrito free, a t-shirt, a spot on the Wall of Fame, and a free meal a week for life. If you fail, you’ll find your photo up on Joe Taco’s Wall of Shame, which to be fair is anyone who values their colon.
6 The Hibernator Breakfast Challenge
Sure, you can get a traditional English breakfast at most British establishments around the world. But if you find yourself in Congleton, England, located just south of Manchester, be sure to visit Bear Grills Cafe for the mother of all English breakfasts. At a whopping 8,000 calories, the £19.95 (about US$28) ‘Hibernator’ breakfast challenge ain’t no joke. In fact, no one -- I mean, no one -- has successfully finished this beast of a meal, and it’s easy to see why. The Hibernator is jammed with eight sausages, eight slices of bacon, four hash browns, four fried eggs, a four-egg cheese omelette, four waffles, four black puddings, beans, tomatoes, mushroom, fries, four pieces of regular toast, and four pieces of fried bread with butter. If that wasn’t enough for you, the whole meal comes with a 32-ounce strawberry milkshake topped off with a mountain of whipped cream. Maybe it’s a cultural thing but ‘breakfast’ and ‘milkshake’ are two things that never seem to converge. If you’re successful in finishing this breakfast without suffering cardiac arrest, you’ll be rewarded with £100 (approximately US$144) to go towards your post-meal medical bill.
5 The Ghost Wings Challenge
The Girvan Grille in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, is notorious for its Ghost Wings Challenge, where participants must fully eat 10 ghost wings in 15 minutes. Now, before you say “Easy, I can do that,” consider this: the ghost pepper, also known as bhut jolokia, is considered the world's hottest chili pepper. In fact, it is approximately 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. Not so confident now, huh chief? Also, the rules of this challenge strictly states that no other food or beverages (including water) are to be consumed during the challenge, and absolutely no bathroom breaks are allowed. If you do happen to successfully finish these 10 ghost wings, you’ll win a ‘Girvan Grille Ghost Wings Challenge’ T-shirt and have your picture featured on Girvan Grille’s “Wall of Flame.” Oh, and it goes without saying that all participants must sign a waiver before taking part in this challenge.
4 The Big Fat Fatty Sandwich Challenge (Hollywood)
There’s a reason why the word ‘fat’ appears twice in ‘Big Fat Fatty Sandwich’. This $50 signature sandwich at Fat Sal's Deli in Hollywood is loaded with cheesesteak, cheese burgers, pastrami, chicken fingers, bacon, mozzarella sticks, fried eggs, jalapeno poppers, fries, onion rings, chili, marinara, and fat sauce. Yes, you heard that right: fat sauce. At 10 pounds and 27 inches, you’ll probably need all 40 minutes of the allotted time limit to finish off this anti-hero sandwich. If you’re successful, you’ll get the meal for free, your picture on the Wall of Fame, and get to name and create a signature fat sandwich. A few years ago, the sandwich was featured in an episode of the web series, Stuffed.
3 The 10 Pound Monster Burger Challenge
Mallie’s Bar in Southgate, Michigan, offers a 10-pound burger with toppings on an equally giant bun, all for US$36.99. If you’re able to finish it all off within the two-hour time limit, you will win $100 in cash and have your picture featured on their wall of fame. Mallie’s was also featured in an episode of Man v. Food back in 2009, where host Adam Richman and 40 other people took on the ‘Absolutely Ridiculous Burger' -- a slight upgrade of their signature Monster Burger. The team attempted to eat a 190-pound burger to break the then Guinness World Record, but fell 30 pounds short of completion after the two-hour time limit. The grill also offers what was once considered the world's largest, commercially available hamburger. The 338.6-pound Absolutely Ridiculous Burger must be ordered at least 72 hours in advance and costs a whopping $1,999. Hmmm, a 10-pound burger suddenly sounds manageable.
2 The 72 Ounce Steak Challenge
They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and the Big Texan Steak Ranch is the first to back up this claim. The Amarillo, Texas restaurant is famous for its 72 Ounce Steak Challenge, which consists of a shrimp cocktail, baked potato, salad, dinner roll, and of course, the 72 oz. steak. Of all these challenges, this one probably has the most specific rules governing it. For example, you are not allowed to stand up, leave your table, or have anyone touch the meal. If the staff does catch another person helping you in cutting, preparing or eating of the meal, you will be instantly disqualified. You are required to pay the full amount of $72 upfront, but this amount will be refunded if you successfully complete the meal. Last year, a competitive eater wolfed down three of these steak meals in 20 minutes. That’s more than 13 pounds of beef. Not bad for a 124-pound mother of four.
1 The Roast Dinner Banquet Challenge
The Duck Inn in Redditch, England, offers a roast feast fit for a family of four, but what if you’re single with a low self-esteem and a huge appetite? Well, the Duck Inn’s Roast Dinner Banquet might be tailormade for you. The meal consists of an entire golden-roasted turkey, 25 roast potatoes, 25 parsnips, 25 stuffing balls, 25 pigs in blankets, 25 honey-roasted carrots, 25 sprouts, and 25 broccoli and cauliflower heads. And if that wasn’t enough, the whole meal is smothered in an ocean of gravy and cranberry sauce. At £35.00 (about US$50), this meal is quite the steal. And for every banquet they make, the restaurant donates the equivalent food to the local food-bank. If you finish the feast in 45 minutes, you’ll win a place on the Duck Inn’s Wall of Fame, a t-shirt and a certificate. However, it’s safe to say that the odds are not in your favor; so far, only 20 have attempted this challenge and all 20 people have failed miserably.