While restaurant challenges and food competitions may seem like purely American spectacles, there’s actually of a world of culinary feats out there. These challenges range from eating the hottest peppers on earth to tucking into a mammoth breakfast, and include everything in between. So many challenges around the world give new meaning to the phrase “mind over matter.” Grab your passport and check out these eating events.
Dimapur, Nagaland, India
Can you handle the heat? For those who like more than just a bit of spice — or at least think they do — check out the Hornbill Festival in eastern India, held December 1-10. There you’ll find the contest for eating the Naga King Chili, also known as the Bhut Jolokia. What separates this contest from your run-of-the-mill eating competition is that the pepper is considered among the hottest peppers in the world. The festival also includes traditional dances, live music and other events.
Great Yarmouth, England
The Kidz Breakfast at Jesters Diner is no laughing matter. The challenge includes the full English breakfast found in bed and breakfasts and pubs around the country, but in gargantuan portions. This more-than-hearty breakfast includes an eight-egg omelette, six fried eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, black pudding and plenty of fried bread and toast. The challenge is to eat it all within an hour so you can get your money back. This challenge requires some planning, as it must be booked in advance; only two challenges are allowed per day. Failed attempts live on in infamy as the restaurant has been known to post before and after pictures of those who couldn’t clean their plates on its Facebook page.
Smoke’s Poutinerie Annual World Poutine Eating Championship
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Maybe you’ve snacked on poutine — french fries laden with gravy and cheese curds — while out for the evening with friends. Smoke’s Poutinerie‘s Annual World Poutine Eating Championship, organized by Major League Eating, is something else entirely. When it was held in October 2014, professional competitive eater Matthew Stonie gobbled up almost 15 pounds in 10 minutes, taking home $3,000. Joey Chestnut put down just under 12 pounds. If you’re feeling that hungry, maybe you have a shot.
Oyster Eating Competition
Ettalong Beach, New South Wales, Australia
How many oysters can you stomach? If the answer is ‘a lot,’ consider entering the Oyster Eating Competition, held during the Brisbane Water Oyster Festival in Australia on November 8, 2015. You will have 30 seconds to slurp and chew your way through as many oysters as possible; prizes include a trophy and a luxury harbor cruise. Live music, carnival rides and arts and crafts are also part of the annual event, which celebrates all things oyster.
Yoshinoya Gyudon Eating Contest
If you like beef bowls, then consider trying your hand (or your stomach) at the Yoshinoya Gyudon Eating Contest. Last held in June 2014, the contest, organized by the Yoshinoya restaurant chain, challenges participants to eat as many beef bowls as possible in 15 minutes. Contestants must pass qualifying rounds held at the chain’s restaurants before advancing to the final competition. What’s on the table? Last year, the first place finisher’s prizes included two round-trip tickets to Japan.