You vs. Food

Once upon a time, food challenges were limited to county fairs where people gathered to stuff their mouths with as many hot dogs as possible.

Now, food challenges are sprouting up in restaurants all over North America. The prize is no longer a shiny blue ribbon, but bragging rights among friends, a T-shirt and most often, a free meal. To satisfy your hunger (and ego), we trudged through the typical burgers, pizza and hot wings fare to find the hardest and heaviest food feats. Gros appétit!

Italian Challenge

Mick & Angelo’s Eatery & Bar (Niagara Falls, ON)

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 T-shirt.

Tasty tidbit: This is the only Canadian challenge Adam Richman has tackled on OLN’s Man v. Food so far. Look for his photo inside on the wall of shame.

Hillbilly Heart Attack

Hillbilly Heaven (Hamilton, ON) Six pounds of stacked barbecue meat (a layer of brisket in chili, pork in barbecue beans and chicken topped with coleslaw surrounded by nacho chips).

Time limit: 30 minutes

If you win: Your $26.55 meal is free, and your manhood (or womanhood) is validated.

Tasty tidbit: Nearly 300 people have tried, but Hamiltonian Kyle Van Duzen is the only one to suceed.

The Great White Whale Challenge

Shakespeare Pub & Grille (San Diego, CA)

A proper English meal: two pounds of tempura-battered cod, two pounds of “chips” and half a pound of peas. Cheerio!

Time limit: 45 minutes

If you win: The US$24.95 dish is free, and so is the “victor’s” T-shirt.

Tasty tidbit: More than 100 people have tried, 44 have completed it and only one person has vomited.

The Black diamond

Tundra Ice Cream (Glendale, AZ)

Ten old-fashioned banana splits with five bananas, 30 scoops of ice cream, toppings, a can of whipped cream, half a pound of nuts and 30 cherries.

Time limit: 2 hour

If you win: You get the US$66.14 dish for free, a plaque with your photo and a medal. Seriously.

Tasty tidbit: The only person to attempt this chilly challenge finished about half of it so, if you have a go, pace yourself.

Pho garden challenge

Pho Garden (San Francisco, CA)

It’s big, pho sho. This huge bowl is the equivalent of three typical large bowls of pho, with two pounds of noodles, brisket, meatballs, flank and tendon.

Time limit: 60 minutes

If you win: There’s a hand-painted pig at the bottom of the bowl you win and the US$22 meal is free.

Tasty tidbit: Around 1,000 people have tried; less than 250 have succeeded. You don’t need to drink the broth to finish.

Moose Challenge

Moose’s Wild Pub (Moncton, NB)

A one-pound hamburger topped with four thick bacon strips and four large cheese slices, with a pound of poutine on the side and a 16-oz Moosehead

Time limit: 60 minutes

If you win: You get $25 reward bucks for Casino New Brunswick, a T-shirt and a place at the top of the food chain.

Tasty tidbit: The record to beat is 6.5 minutes. Note: open weeping causes instant disqualification.

Best Grill

Laffananza (Toronto, ON)

Two feet of laffa bread surrounds five pounds of shawarma meat, steamed rice, hummus, veggies and garlic sauce with a pound of fries and a 330ml can of pop.

Time Limit: 30 minutes

If you win: The $19.95 meal is free, your dignity.

Tasty tidbit: This challenge has yet to be beaten but even if you do win, we can’t guarantee you will feel (nor smell) good the next day.