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The 10 craziest food challenges in London
Some view them as shameless gluttons, symptoms of a culture gone awry. Others see gastro-warriors, heroes capable of ingesting staggering amounts of grub in no time at all. But whether you worship or ridicule competitive eaters, you can’t deny that the “sport” is now firmly part of the zeitgeist.
If you’re hungry for victory – and think you have what it takes to wolf down huge amounts of food – try these 10 food challenges in London for a taste of the Man v. Food lifestyle. From hot wings slathered in naga viper chilli sauce to two-foot sausage rolls, it’ll take a special stomach to take these on.
1. The MeatLiquor Triple Chilli Challenge
MeatLiquor, the gloriously sloppy burger restaurant, is as famous for its queues as it is for its food. But not everyone going through the door is seeking a classic burger and fries combo. The restaurant’s Triple Chilli Challenge, one of the most popular food challenges in London, invites participants to gorge on a jalapeno-topped burger, a chilli dog, and a plate of chilli cheese fries – all in less than 10 minutes. Beat it and you’ll get to skip the queue for life.
2. Wonder Café Fry-Up
No one would dare to mistake a classic English fry-up for health food, but the version at Wonder Café, on the outer edge of West London, will make the typical plate seem positively modest. That’s because this one is gut-bustingly excessive: four fried slices, four slices of toast, four eggs, six sausages, six rashers of bacon, six hash browns, four black puddings, tomatoes, beans, and a single mushroom all team up to bring a walloping of gastric distress. With just 45minutes to consume the lot, no wonder this challenge has only been won once!
3. The Red Dog Saloon Naga Viper Wings
Hot wings are lovely when they’re tinglingly spicy, paired with cooling blue cheese sauce and a sudsy beer. They’re slightly less nice when coated in a sauce made from naga viper chillies, which are among the world’s hottest, clocking in at a staggering 1.6 million Scoville units (that’s just shy of pepper spray, mind). Though you only need to eat six wings in the Red Dog Saloon’s challenge, you’re also required to don plastic gloves and sign a waiver before tucking in. And not drink anything for five minutes afterwards.
4. The Two-Foot Sausage Roll at the County Arms
Flavoursome sausage wrapped snugly in flaky pastry, a sausage roll is the perfect pub snack. Well, most sausage rolls. The one at The County Arms is less a snack than a food bomb, measuring in at two feet long – the size of a toddler, in other words. If you beat it (in five minutes, no less!), you get the rather measly prize of a t-shirt – but bragging rights should otherwise suffice.
5. Porky’s Man vs. Ribs Challenge
Taking a page from Man v. Food‘s book, the Man vs. Ribs challenge at Porky’s is equal parts Americana-inspired and utterly gluttonous. Held on Wednesdays, the challenge comprises a double order of ribs and a double order of fries. Scoff down the mountain of food and you won’t just get a t-shirt – you’ll also get a free meal for two if you’re the fastest eater for the month. Because if there’s anything a person wants post-food challenge, it’s more food.
6. Bengal Village Phaal Curry
Thought vindaloo was hot? You’ll be entering a new world of pain if you embark on Bengal Village’s phaal curry challenge. Traditionally made from a number of different chillies, phaal curry feels like consuming pure fire – Bengal Village touts it as “the hottest curry in the world,” and makes theirs with the notorious ghost chilli. Although the dish no longer officially appears on the menu, they’re still known for prepare special orders for those brave enough to take it on.
7. Pride of Paddington Shepherds Pie
Shepherds Pie is rib-sticking fare: dieters don’t favour heavy mash and braised meat. But how about a shepherd’s pie that’s as big as a birthday cake, and weighs four kilos? That’s what the Pride of Paddington is serving up, and thanks to its proportions, no one’s yet managed to take this challenge down.
8. The Mac Attack, Dirty Bones
Trendy BBQ, burger and brunch spot Dirty Bones offers a full menu of hearty dishes, like the Dirty Dogs, which come covered in pulled pork, crispy bacon and jalapeno cheese. But those with a serious appetite should take on the Mac Attack, comprising three beef patties, BBQ pulled pork, salad, tomatoes and mac and cheese all squeezed into brioche buns and served on a bed of dirty fries. Eat it all in 10 minutes and you get your meal free, a novelty cap and your picture on their Wall of Fame.
9. Tinseltown Diner Challenge Burgers
Daunted by the scale of some of these food challenges in London? Don’t think you could even look at a naga viper chilli, not to mention down six capsicum-drowned wings? Think of the challenge burgers at Tinseltown Diner as the perfect starting point for the competitive eating amateur. Though four patties alongside two sides and fries is by no means small, in the world of competitive eating it’s a modest introduction.
10. Pho & Bun Food Challenge
There’s not a lot given away on the menu, but those brave enough to take on Pho & Bun’s Food Challenge need only ask their waiter for details. An epic Asian-themed feast of pork belly, prawn patties, beef patties, vegetables and mango all stacked between two steamed buns, this giant leaning tower also comes with an enormous order of sweet potato fries. Eat your way through the entire thing in 15 minutes and you’ll get your meal for free and receive a £50 voucher to spend on your next splurge.
Written by Claire Bullen