Eat big or go home

It’s glutton vs. plate when it comes to Sacramento’s best food challenges

On the Travel Channel show Man v. Food, host Adam Richman traveled the country, taking on various food challenges. Such tests mostly consisted of eating ridiculously spicy dishes or heaping 5-pound plates of food. Richman is currently retired from competitive eating (he’s since moved on to finding America’s best sandwiches on Adam Richman’s Best Sandwich in America), so now’s the time for the rest of us to pick up the slack. Sacramento has its own food challenges—from incredibly large plates of chili dogs to massive bowls of pho. Here are seven ongoing local challenges and gigantic-but-delicious dishes for you to gorge on.

And all I get is this lousy T-shirt?!

Behold the Pho Challenge: Finish 2 pounds of noodles and 2 pounds of meat in less than an hour and get crowned as the next Pho King. Seriously—the payoff is a special shirt that reads “Pho King.” Even if you don’t finish the $22-bowl of Vietnamese noodle soup, you’ll still get a poster. If you do finish it, however, you get the shirt, the meal for free, your picture on the wall of champions and surely, some stomach issues. Pho Bac Hoa Viet, 3110 Bradshaw Road; (916) 361-3888;

Go ahead, we dare you

Dare to order the Knucklehead Challenge ($29.95) and you’ll receive a 5-pound platter of hot dogs and fries—all smothered in chili, nacho-cheese sauce and pickles. Eat the entire dish in less than 20 minutes and it’s free. Adam Richman tried the challenge when the eatery was called Parker’s Hot Dogs on Man v. Food, but the Knucklehead Challenge won. Knucklehead Hot Dog Diner, 7456 Foothills Boulevard in Roseville; (916) 782-0338;

Keep on truckin’

Wolf down the gigantic 18 Wheeler burger ($40) in an hour and you’ll eat it for free, receive a T-shirt and get a photo on the wall. Sound easy? Check this: You’ll need to make it through 5 pounds of burger patty, 10 slices of bacon, 8 slices of cheddar cheese, half a head of lettuce, a whole tomato and a burger bun the size of a hubcap. Approximately 25 people have failed to complete the challenge, according to Andrew Blaskovich, the dish’s creator and owner of Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen. Republic Bar & Grill featuring Drewski’s Hot Rod Kitchen, 908 15th Street; (916) 822-5152;

Heart attack for two

If you’re hungry enough to scarf down the Hot Mess breakfast plate ($16.95) at BarWest, you’ll consume two English muffins, potatoes, four slices of bacon, four sausage links, six eggs, shredded cheese and hollandaise sauce. Served on a pizza tray, it’s described on the menu as “big enough for two.” BarWest, 2724 J Street; (916) 476-4550;

Just sign here

Think sushi isn’t filling? Then you’ve never attempted this challenge: Eat four of any of Suki Sushi’s specialty rolls (three for women), plus soup and a salad—in less than an hour. If you’re successful, the $29 meal is on the house (oh, and you’ll get the requisite photo on the wall, too). Before attempting the feat, however, you must sign a waiver of liability. Advance reservation is required. Suki Sushi, 7311 West Stockton Boulevard, Suite 130; (916) 681-6688;

All hail the king

Philly cheesesteaks have a lot of calories, and a Sacramento branch of a fast-food franchise might boast the biggest calorie bomb in the area. The Cheese Steak Shop’s King of Sacramento challenge invites participants to win a T-shirt and a photo on the wall by downing two 15-inch cheesesteaks, large fries, a large drink and a Tastykake—all in less than 60 minutes. The Cheese Steak Shop, 4332 Watt Avenue, Suite 30; (916) 487-4677;