There is no doubt Melbourne is awash with quality dining, so we thought it was high time we checked out quantity dining. Melbourne has an abundance of food challenges that would make even the Man Vs Food crew cower in their boots, from pub meals to Mexican feasts to the spiciest buffalo wings in town.
The stakes are high in competitive eating and so are the burgers, and the steaks are usually medium rare so not to be too tough when chewing through them at great speed. Most places that house these Melbourne food challenges have professional competitive eaters holding the title, but you don't need to be a pro to throw your hat in the ring, just very, very hungry.
Whether it's a towering burger, a massive chicken parmigiana or a steak suitable for the Hulk's dinner plate, there are some epic food challenges in Melbourne. Behold our hefty guide to hefty eating. One final thing, if any of these challenges grab you, we highly recommend calling ahead. Racers at the ready!
THE B.EAST | BRUNSWICK EAST
It's not just about the bacon martinis here folks; their burger game is also incredibly strong. The burger consists of three B.East beef patties, three lots of bacon, chilli cheese sauce, lettuce, tomato, and pickled red onion all on a brioche bun (and we recently listed it in our 50 fat Feeds story). As far as time limits go, this is the toughest one we've found, only giving you three minutes to put it away. But with big risk comes big reward – a spot on the wall of fame, if you make it under 1 minute and 50 seconds you get a t-shirt, and if you beat the record (currently standing at 1 minute flat) you get $200.
MASSIVE WIENERS | PRAHRAN
If a 'super colossal wiener' at Massive Wieners sounds like something you might be interested in, read on. This 25-inch hot dog needs to be devoured in five minutes or less for you to make it up on the 'Massive Wieners Hall Of Fame', which has a photo of you, your dawg, and the time you completed. There is also a 'Wall Of Shame' which features images of those who demolished one, just not in the time limit. There's also a special spot for the super losers otherwise known as D.N.F.'s – those who Did Not Finish. If you're gonna play here, play to win.
OUTBACK JACK'S | VARIOUS LOCATIONS
Not getting enough iron in your diet? This food challenge should sort you out. 1kg steak (grain-fed beef for those who are wondering), 500g of vegies and 500g of wedges is the mission. If you manage to get that all down in less than 30 minutes, there's an Outback Jack t-shirt in it for you, as well as your meal on the house. These guys also run a national comp for serious competitors, so there's that to keep in mind. 'Straya mate.
CAPTAIN AMERICA'S HAMBURGER HEAVEN | FERNTREE GULLY
Oh 'Murica, the home of competitive eating. Captain America's challenge is one of the cheaper ones to enter – at $28 you're dealing with a 1kg double burger with 600g of chips on the side. Ladies, you have a slight advantage of your side of chips being 300g, but this still one heck of a mountain to climb. If you beat the record (currently for men it's 6 minutes 9 seconds, for women 11 minutes 59 seconds) your meal is free, and if you finish the monstrosity within an hour your name is going up on the honour board.
THE LAUREL HOTEL | ASCOT VALE
It's parmarama time at Ascot Vale's Laurel Hotel. The 1.5kg mega parmigiana, chips and pint of beer or soft drink is your target, and you must destroy it. While there is no time limit, the best times will qualify for a grand final, where you could win free parmas (one per week) for a year! The Mega Parma Challenge has not commenced for this year yet, but according to their Facebook page it's definitely on the cards. May the odds be ever in your favour.
HOFBRÄUHAUS | MELBOURNE CBD
The mission at Hofbrauhaus, if you choose to accept it, is 1.5kg of pork schnitzel, a bowl of chips and a litre of hofbrauhaus tap beer of your choosing. Those who conquer this challenge within 45 minutes will receive their meal and their beer free of charge, as well as 'Schnitzel Challenge Winner' t-shirt. Whatever you do, hold on to this t-shirt – if you wear it to the venue you receive one complimentary 300ml beer per visit. Wunderbar!
SHAWCROSS PIZZA | FITZROY
Pizza enthusiasts, this one's for you. Shawcross have a nice little name for themselves when it comes to making some of Melbourne's best pizza, but their 22-inch pie is nothing short of epic. Finish an entire pizza in one sitting and a specially designed t-shirt is yours for the taking. As an extra incentive, fastest time of the month will win a slab of beer. Game On.
DONNYBROOK HOTEL | DONNYBROOK
Fancy a burger with the lot? Try The Donnybrook Hotel's 'Triple Bypass Burger'. It contains everything you could imagine in a burger and more: beef patties, steak, chicken schnitzel and bacon for all of your protein needs, then throw in potato cakes, eggs, onions, pineapple, tomato, beetroot, cheese and tomato relish for good measure. Just a heads up: there's no time limit and no set prize for consuming this mammoth meal, just sweet self-satisfaction.
HOTEL ALBION | PORT MELBOURNE
The chicken parma is an absolute pub meal staple, and the Albion have their creations down to a fine art. The Grandeosa Challenge here is a double parmigiana, to be consumed in 30 minutes. There are plenty of prizes up for grabs on their spinning wheel of fortune, and your name will go on their online hall of fame, located on their Facebook page.
KODIAK CLUB | FITZROY
Chilli fanatics, it's time to get reacquainted with your old mate hot sauce at The Kodiak Club. You have one hour to get through 60 buffalo hot wings – making this a food challenge not just about quantity, but how much heat your tastebuds can stand. If you complete the challenge within the timeframe, your name is placed on the winners board and you get to skip the $95 bill. You know what they say, if you can't stand the heat…
TACO BILL | VARIOUS LOCATIONS
The Big Willi burrito is Taco Bill's latest creation, and it's not for the faint-hearted. The 2.5 kg dish includes 2 12-inch tortillas, Mexican rice, carne con chile Colorado, frijole con queso, cheese and chopped jalapeños. For those not afraid of brain freeze, there's a challenge for you, too. Finish one of their icy and delicious fishbowl cocktails and you get to take home a free sombrero.
Main image credit: CheeseCurds