What do you get when you have a bunch of guys (and one ballsy girl) competing to be first in line to finish a giant (read: giant) bowl of Vietnamese pho swimming with meat, noodles, onions and Sriracha followed by a liter of Belgian beer? You get Mekong RVA's Pho King challenge, and it's a whole heck of a lot of fun.
The crowning of an annual Pho King is the brainchild of restaurant owner, An Bui, a.k.a. Mekong's Chief Beer Officer, and this Super Bowl day event is starting to be taken quite seriously by its contestants, partly because there's a nice little purse to be won ($500).
In addition to plenty of training and creative eating tactics, such as cooling down one's soup by circulating a glass of ice water in the broth, contestants were allowed to add whatever pho condiments they wanted in order to make this behemoth of a bowl of noodle soup as palatable as possible.
|My personal recommendation would be to go easy on the Bird's Eye chili's|
And there are rules, with the most important one being that contestants much finish the entire bowl of pho and liter of beer sans barfing, which is apparently not all that easy to do as we judged from the many can-I-really-hold-it-down expressions from the challengers. All upchuckers were immediately disqualified.
<-------This guy barfed.
Reigning Pho King, John Reinhold was on hand as emcee, and even came on board to train a protegee, Deejay Greenberg, to succeed him as the new reigning King 'o pho. Greenberg put in some solid slurping effort, but ultimately, he was not the one to take this year's title.
This year would go to Pho King newcomer, The Black Hole, a tall, thin, boyish-looking lad who seemed to effortlessly maintain a solid lead from start to finish.
|All Hail the King!|
Here are a few more photo highlights from the event. I figure next year will bring more entries, so if you're interested in tossing your hat into the hot pot, I recommend beginning your training now. Head over to the bar at Mekong, plop your butt down on a stool, get thee a Superbowl of pho, and start sucking down the suds. By this time next year, you'll be primed and ready to take the title.
|Dieu de Ciel Peche Mortel and Saison Dupont. Beer is the Answer.|
|Spring rolls could be the answer as well.|
©2012 Fatback and Foie Gras. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.