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10 Food Challenges for the Truly Competitive Foodie

1. The Carolina Reaper

The Carolina Reaper is currently recognized as the hottest chili in the world according to the Scoville Heat Test. This cross-breed between a ghost pepper and a red habanero is so intense that even watching someone eat one is a visceral experience.

(image via Instagram)

2. Surströmming

Surströmming is Swedish for "sour herring," but that really doesn't do the thing justice. You put the fish in brine for half a year, with just enough salt to keep it from actually rotting, so that it ferments instead. A Japanese study measured its aroma to be one of the strongest food smells in the world, which is probably why it's usually only eaten outdoors.

(image via Instagram)

3. Century Egg

The century egg (also known as the millennium egg) is prepared by taking a duck, chicken, or quail egg and burying it in the yard. Okay fine, not exactly, but you do encase it in a mixture of dirts—clay, ash, salt, quicklime, and rice hulls—for weeks, or even months. The egg white becomes more of a dark, salty jelly. The yolk turns into a dark green, creamy affair. In Thai and Lao, the name translates to "horse urine egg," but don't worry. These were never actually soaked in horse urine, even though myth says they were. They're just called that because that's what they smell like.

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4. Casu Marzu

"Adventurous" doesn't have to mean "dangerous," but sometimes it does. Take casu marzu, a cheese made from sheep's milk that is fermented by allowing cheese flies to lay eggs into it and allowing the resultant maggots to eat their way out, breaking down the cheese fats in the process. To describe this cheese as pungent is generous, and it can literally kill you if the cheese fly larvae decide to burrow into your intestinal lining once they're done with the cheese. People usually survive, but they don't have a great time doing so.

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5. Snake Whiskey

Another dish from Southeast Asia is snake whiskey. You might recognize this one from the time James May was on Gordon Ramsay's The F-Word or from Archer after one of his infamous self-pitying benders at the start of a season. Like the name says, it's a snake (usually a cobra) in a bottle of whiskey. While this looks intimidating, the consensus seems to be that it's not as strong as you would expect it to be from looking at it.

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6. Rocky Mountain Oysters

There are a lot of names for these, but you probably get the idea. Across parts of the United States (and a few other countries), bull, pig, or sheep testicles are celebrated as a local delicacy. These are usually fried, giving new and deeper meaning to the phrase "junk food" than we ever imagined possible.

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7. Arby's Meat Mountain

Not every food challenge is about the exotic or unfamiliar—especially not in the U.S. Many of our challenges are just about sheer quantity. The Arby's Meat Mountain is one of those. This is an unlisted item, but you can ask politely if they have it. If they do, you're treated to every kind of meat they have on one bun—chicken tendres, ham, turkey, corned beef, Angus steak, brisket, roast beef, and bacon, topped with Swiss and cheddar cheeses. This massive sandwich costs $10, but that ultimately only comes down to about a penny per calorie.

(image via Instagram)

8. Fast Food Lasagna

Speaking of quantity, Epic Meal Time spent five years entertaining us with some phenomenally ridiculous recipes. But we have a special place in our heart for one of the oldies—the Fast Food Lasagna, featuring 15 Big Macs, a liter of Big Mac Sauce, 15 Baconators, and 15 A&W Teen Burgers. All of this is stacked in layers and topped with bacon and a lasagna filling made from sausage, bacon, ground beef, tomato sauce, and a healthy dose of Jack Daniels. Don't forget the onion rings and cheese topping!

(image via Instagram)

9. The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger

At 3,328.6 pounds, this is the largest commercially-available hamburger in the world. It is the specialty of Mallie's Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, Michigan. This monstrosity costs $2,000, requires 72 hours of advance notice, and requires a team of three people to flip. There's no time limit or prize for finishing this that we're aware of—the giant burger is its own reward.

(image via Instagram)

10. The Whammy Burger

The Whammy Burger at Burgers & Blues in Ridgeland, Mississippi, is a classic food challenge. If you finish the three pounds of meat, fries, and 16-oz shake in 30 minutes, you are given a free meal, t-shirt, and your picture on the wall of fame. If you break the record for finishing it, you win a jackpot that was sitting at $1,500 when this guy made his run in 2014.

(image via Instagram)