Mega Meal Challenge
Some times, a local restaurant (usually a steakhouse, at least in America) may decide to put the stomachs of gluttonous carnivores
to the test. Usually has a time limit attached. Thus, they present a gigantic quantity of meat, possibly on a platter with other side dishes, that only those with iron stomachs can finish at all, much less finish in time. And should they succeed, fame and fortune awaits. Or at least their picture on a wall. The meal is usually as expensive as it is big, but anyone who wins the challenge doesn't have to pay for it. This is often extended to everyone at the challenger's table eating for free as well. Sometimes there is also an additional prize offered.
Differs from a standard Eating Contest
in that where that trope is about two people eating to see which one can eat the most or finish the fastest, this one is about a single person taking on a gigantic platter of food, all alone with no help. Backing down or puking means game over.
Occasionally found in a Crossover
with Masochist's Meal
, when the item one must eat for the challenge is loaded up with Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce
. But even then, there's usually a "quantity" requirement — eating just one chicken wing coated in the chef's famous ghost pepper sauce won't cut it, you've gotta eat a plateful
(or at least a regular serving) of them.
Compare Gigantic Gulp
and Giant Food
Anime and Manga
- Jewelpet Sunshine: Ruby and 5 other Jewelpets take Kanon out to cheer her up after breaking up with Mikage. One of the stops is a patisserie offering this challenge which Ruby takes, only to regret it when she sees the huge pyramid of sweets. Ruby allows Kanon to only eat what she wants since the outing is for her sake.
- Jewelpet: Magical Change: Airi and her four Jewelpets have to go to a certain restaurant and eat an "ultra-large" bowl of pork ramen each so they can open a gate to Jewel Land and answer Opal's compulsory summons.
- Urusei Yatsura has a restaurant challenge diners to finish their expensive and huge full-course meal, with it being free if they succeed. Since many of the main characters are some sort of Big Eater, the owner soon regrets this offer. Only Sakura makes it all the way through — and after taking appetite suppressant pills before hand!
- In Three Leaves, Three Colors, Futaba often wins these, to the point that she's banned from many restaurants with the notable exception of Stuffed Hut. Hajime, however, always seems to have an issue completing these and so sees Futaba his rival.
- Referenced in Diary of a Wimpy Kid, where the main character mentions that his Uncle Gary finished the "Monstrilla Burger" in one sitting and got a tattoo for it.
- Robert A. Heinlein's "Puddin'" short story "Cliff and the Calories".
Cliff: Have you ever had a Mount Everest?
Cliff: They start with a big platter and build up the peak with twenty - one flavors of ice cream, using four bananas, butterscotch syrup, and nuts to bind it. Then they cover it with chocolate syrup, sprinkle malted milk powder and more nuts for rock, pour marshmallow syrup and whipped cream down from the top for snow, stick parsley around the lower slopes for trees, and set a little plastic skier on one of the snow banks. You get to keep him as a souvenir of the experience.
Maureen: Oh, my!
Cliff: Only one to a customer and I don't have to pay if you finish it.
- In I Blame Society by Rich Hall (a spoof autobiography of Rich's alter-ego, Otis Lee Crenshaw), Otis remembers his Dad taking him to the Great Smokey Steak House to try the "72-ounce Rib Eye. Eat it all and you don't pay!" challenge.
- The first time Jason and Eileen go on a date (not that Jason would ever call it that), she convinces him to order a ridiculously huge bowl of ice cream bigger than his head.
- Paige often orders huge sundaes, one so large that Jason has to wear cold weather gear simply to go to an ice cream store with her. In one strip, she gets a "kids' size cone" that's so big, she can barely lift it. (The ice cream store is clearly one that understands kids.)
- Blondie In this strip, Dagwood and Blondie visit a restaurant that has a "Mountain of Spaghetti Special" that's so big it comes with a mop and bucket to clean up with. (Hopefully, a box of napkins too.)
- Persona 4 has the Rainy Day Special Mega Beef Bowl Challenge. Served at Chinese Diner Aiya, the bowl helps raise three random character statistics, making it an ideal way for the player to spend rainy days, where most Social Links and other related activities are deactivated. The bowl can only be finished if the player maxes out the four stats needed (Understanding, Knowledge, Courage, and Diligence).
- Persona 5 has the Big Bang Challenge at Big Bang Burger, which involves eating increasingly oversized burgers to win accessories and parameter gains in 4 of the 5 social stats categories. Each successive challenge requires two, three, then four levels each in the Guts, Knowledge, and Proficiency stats. Completing the challenge also gives points towards Charm, but they are not required for the challenge itself.
- El Goonish Shive: During a road trip Grace orders a huge pancake breakfast. Even though only three people in the 25 year history of the restaurant have succeeded in finishing the "Pancake Mount Doom" meal, Grace does so with ease and gets her picture on the Wall of Fame.
- In the Touhou 4koma doujin Life of Maid, Hong Meiling, the Scarlet Devil Mansion's resident Chew Toy, talks Sakuya into going with her to an ice cream parlor that they find out is run by Letty and Cirno. The ice cream parlor has a Super Winter Earthquake challenge, which has entrants trying to eat a massive bowl of ice cream in 30 minutes or less to try to win 30,000 yen. The reigning champion of the contest is resident Touhou Big Eater Yuyuko, who finished it off in 5 minutes. When Meiling tries to take on the challenge, she fails miserably, and learns that those who lose have to pay 10,000 yen, resulting in Meiling having to Work Off the Debt as a waitress after Sakuya bugs out with her time-stopping ability.
- Hang In There Kogasa San has seen a few of these, thanks to the author being a major foodie. For just one example, the arc relating his trip to Anime Boston 2012, the group ate at Eagle's Deli and one of them (represented by Momiji) tried the "Challenge Burger", a gigantic bacon cheeseburger and five pounds of french fries that has to be eaten within one hour, with those who succeed getting the right to name a new burger. Unfortunately Momiji wasn't able to finish it.
- An episode of Camp Lazlo revolves around the characters trying to get Camp Kidney on a Prickly Pines restaurant's place mats, which feature a map of the Prickly Pines area, including a vacant spot where Camp Kidney is located. The cost-effective way of doing this is to eat a gigantic steak that still continues to grow with each bite. The task goes to Scoutmaster Lumpus because of his established fondness for meat.
- The Simpsons:
- One episode has Homer challenging a trucker to an eat-off involving a very large steak. Homer loses the challenge, the trucker finishes the meal, and promptly dies of a heart attack.
- Another episode has Homer trying to learn more about Lisa by hiring a detective to spy on her. The bill includes 40 dollars for a steak. The detective explains that it'd be free if he managed to eat it all.
- In the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Road Rash", Heffer stops at a diner while Rocko tries to fix the tape player on their motorbike (and accidentally trashes it in the process). Heffer orders the Knockwust Nightmare, a dish consisting of every kind of sausage, which no one has ever finished. Heffer asks for two, only to be told that "there aren't enough pigs in the country." Heffer eventually finishes it, and wins a hot-dog-shaped truck for him and Rocko to finish their trip.
- In the Regular Show episode "Eggscellent", Rigby tries to finish a giant omelet to win a trucker hat. When he's hospitalized in a food coma as a result, Mordecai takes on the challenge for him, in hope that winning the hat might snap Rigby back to normal. Using the notes kept by a previous park worker who also tried to win the hat, and despite the best efforts of the cook to stop him, Mordecai finishes the omelet, and is transported into a cave where he has to pick the correct hat or die. He chooses the correct hat and brings it back to Rigby, who wakes up.
- King of the Hill: Bobby has just gone through a bad breakup with a girl, who was a vegan. When the Hills are out to dinner at a steakhouse, he sees that she is also there with her family. He then snaps out of his funk and decides to attempt the steakhouse's Mega Meal Challenge, while looking her straight in the eye the whole time, and orders his huge steak rare for maximum spite. He succeeds, but vomits in the alley when he gets home.
- In the We Bare Bears episode "Burrito", Grizz takes a restaurant's burrito challenge, in which he must eat one of every kind of burrito they sell in one hour. He bets that he can do it in 30 minutes; he ends up eating them all in fifteen, but then they bring in the last burrito, one as big as Grizz himself. Rather than eating it, Grizz becomes oddly attached to it and decides to make it his Companion Cube instead.
- Certain restaurants have a menu item that due to its large size or spiciness, finishing it is considered impressive and the person gets either a photo on a wall or even the meal for free. These promotions are on the decline due to a combination of bad publicity over what is seen as base gluttony, and a growing number of supposed "winners" actually being granted a free meal by colluding friends who work at the restaurant. Notable promotions include:
- The chain Buffalo Wild Wings has photos of people that eat a full order of their "Blazin'" wings.
- Rudford's restaurant in San Diego, California USA. The Big Nick Challenge involves eating a huge 3.5 lb. hamburger (2 lb. beef, 4 oz. hash browns and 4 eggs) and 4 oz. of French fries. Finish it in 30 minutes or less: it's free and you get your photo on the Hall of Champions Wall. Fail: it costs you $20 and you get your photo on the Losers' Wall.
- The Westport Flea Market Bar and Grill in Kansas City, Missouri USA has the "Super Flea" challenge. Five ten-ounce hamburger patties, each one topped with bacon and cheese, stacked on a bun, plus two pounds of fries. Finish it without help in 30 minutes or less, it's free and you get your picture on the wall. (Fail, and it costs $39.)
- The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas offers a 72-oz. steak dinner for free if eaten within 1 hour ($72 otherwise), and maintains a record of everyone who successfully completes the challenge.
- Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania has done these with burgers that clock in at ten pounds and up.
- The Burger Barn chain located in a few towns in Southeast Texas hosts the Monster Burger, a 4 pound beef patty with 4 slices of cheese and a massive amount of toppings, such as bacon, avocado, and mayonnaise, all on a toasted bun: Finish it in 30 minutes for a t-shirt and a spot on the website.
- For some time, the deli sandwich chain Togo's had a challenge involving their gigantic pastrami sandwich in which anyone who finished one alone while in a Togo's restaurant would win a special shirt.
- Red Devil Pizza in Granada Hills, California (moved to Upland, California) is unusual in that it has a two-person challenge: A straightforward 28-inch pizza with any choice of toppings and a time limit of 45 minutes. Red Devil displays both winners and losers of this challenge, as a "Wall of Fame" and a "Wall of Shame," respectively. A step into the restaurant indicates this challenge has a roughly 20% win rate.