Adam Richman was the host of Travel Channel’s Man v Food from 2008 to 2012. He took on a lot of insane eating challenges to the delight or disgust of many viewers. The show has been off the air for a while so it’s time we revisited some of his Spicy Food challenges. Let’s look back at 10 times Adam Richman takes on spicy food On Man v Food.
10. Nuclear Flavor Explosion
Adam Richman seemed enthusiastic about his trip to Quaker Steak And Lube in Pittsburg, PA. That is right up until he sunk his teeth into the first of six of the restaurant’s Atomic Wings. These infamous wings are featured in the Atomic Wing Challenge. Contestants or victims, depending on your point of view, agree to sign a waiver that absolves Quaker Steak And Lube of any responsibility for any ill effects that might result from participating in the Atomic Wing Challenge. According to Richman these particular hot wings rate a score of 150,000 on the Scoville Scale that measures spiciness in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). The score apparently means each wing’s spiciness would feel like at least 40 Jalapeño peppers or a whopping 240 peppers for the plate of six wings. Richman started out strong, supported by a glass of water and a glass of milk. He was clearly in distress after finishing just the first wing, but he soldiered on. There is no time limit, but the quicker you finish the better. He did indeed complete the challenge with his body drenched in sweat. He then immediately doused his face with milk to cool the burn. For a job well done Richman earned a bumper sticker and his name on the Wall of Flame at Quaker Steak And Lube.
9. Warrior Tuna
Many of us think of Bushido as the Japanese warrior code, but to food lovers everywhere it’s a sushi restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. Bushido’s offers a Spicy Tuna Roll challenge that requires participants to eat 10 progressively more spicy tuna rolls. Hundreds of people have attempted this challenge, but Adam RIchman was trying to become only the ninth person to successfully complete it. “Winners” are honored by getting their name added to the “Legends of the Roll” list. But before he could accept the honor he had to endure sweat and shake inducing spicy tuna rolls. Although he had his trusty glass of milk by his side, it didn’t really help quell his pain. By the time he swallowed the sixth spicy roll Richman was visibly sweating. But just when he seemed to be faltering, he recalled the advice of his Bushido master: “Eat’em Quick.” He took his master’s advice and scarfed down the hotter and hotter tuna rolls until he swallowed all ten. The tenth roll included flaming hot red chili and something called Sulfuric Sauce, which does sound extremely spicy. To the victor go the spoils and Richman enjoyed the victorious moment when his name was added to the storied Legends of the Roll.
8. To Hell and Back
Adam RIchman didn’t actually go to hell, he went to Amarillo, Texas to sink his teeth into the infamous Burger From Hell. The Coyote Bluff Cafe offers a giant half pound lean ground beef patty that it turns into the Burger From Hell. This spicy hamburger is topped with a generous helping of fresh jalapeños, habanero sauce and because those spices aren’t enough – a helping of cayenne pepper sauce. The meat and spices are balanced out with a handful of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses. To make sure the giant half pound patty is cooked thoroughly the cooks at Coyote Bluff Cafe place small metal bowls over the patties while they’re on the grill. With this method the burgers are grilled and steamed to perfection. Richman polled the local customers at the cafe and found that the Burger From Hell is the favorite, and he was determined to experience it for himself. Instead of milk or water he used chili cheese fries to help counter the powerful spices on the burger. He enjoyed the burger and judged the chili cheese fries to be among the best he’d ever tasted.
7. Shut Up and Eat
A lot places think they make the best barbecue, but in Little Rock, Arkansas there is a place where they make the hottest barbecue. The Mean Pig Barbecue boasts of a pulled pork sandwich topped with a habanero based barbecue sauce that is so spicy it’s called Shut Up Juice. Adam Richman’s Man v. Food challenge was made for just this kind of larger than life eating experience. The Shut Up Juice challenge is actually two challenges in one because first the challenger has to finish the entire sandwich, but the second part is keeping the spicy pork bomb down for five minutes. The hot habanero barbecue sauce shut Richman up pretty quickly and he was feeling the effects of the spice with only a quarter of the sandwich finished. However, he rallied with an infusion of cold milk. A dose of dairy helped him stay in the game, but by the time he’d finished half of the sandwich he was clearly getting into trouble. This was gut check time and Richman decided he had to dig deep and plow ahead as fast as he could if he was going to finish the challenge. This strategy worked and Richman finished the first part of the Shut Up Juice Challenge. But then he had to sit there while every part of him from his face down to his stomach simmered with the spicy remnants of the sandwich. He had to keep it down for five minutes to complete the challenge. He conquered the Shut Up Juice challenge and earned his t-shirt and all the milk he could drink.
6. Spicy Chinese
Adam Richman met up with his friend Mike Chen in New York City to try a popular Chinese restaurant called Houyi. This place is known for having the spiciest hotpot broth in the Big Apple. In traditional Chinese cuisine there is a lot of different kinds of broth, from mild to very spicy. The same goes for fresh made sauces that use a wide range of ingredients such as soy sauce, vinegar and a selection of hot peppers. Of course Richman is all about the spicy foods so he had his friend Mike order some of the spiciest items they had on the menu. For the novice eater, ordering at Houyi can be a little intimidating because there are so many choices that would likely be unfamiliar. The helpful menu provides photographs of many of the selections to help people make their selections. Richman appreciates the art that goes into the layering of oils and spaces to create different experiences, but he was eager to get down to eating. His friend chose both a fiery broth and a mild one for the hotpot to cook the selection of meats, vegetables and other delicacies. To prepare for the level of spice he was about to encounter, Richman was offered a soy milk based drink before he started eating to cool his stomach. The spicy foods were definitely noticeable, but they didn’t overwhelm the other flavors in the dishes and this was a welcome change for Richman.
5. Suicide Hot Wings
Adam Richman of Man v. Food fame is a Brooklyn, New York native and went back to his home town to face one of his early defeats. In fact, his very first spicy food challenge was at Brooklyn’s Buffalo Cantina and he sadly only ate one of six so called suicide wings before conceding defeat. Richman jumped at a second chance to prove he could survive the Suicide Six Wings Challenge. These aren’t tiny little chicken wings, but meaty wings with some heft. He knew he had his work cut out for him when the Buffalo Cantina’s judge explained that he had only six minutes to finish the six wings. Richman revealed his strategy right from the opening wing: douse the chicken with as much Blue cheese dressing as possible and bite off as much meat as possible with each desperate bite. He had good momentum going, but he stalled about halfway through the challenge. After taking a few moments to gather himself he plunged back into the fight with renewed gusto and tore at the spicy chicken wings with a ferocity he hadn’t shown in many of his other challenges. Richman’s mindset was made clear when he declared, “This one’s for pride.” He could certainly feel pride at battling the suicide wings for a second time and coming out alive and well.
4. 30 Minutes in Hell
In the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles there is a nondescript little restaurant called Orochon Ramen. But don’t be fooled by appearances, this little eatery is home to some of the spiciest Ramen noodle dishes anywhere. According to the restaurant, as many as 20,000 customers have attempted to beat the Red Hot Ramen Challenge, but only a few hundred have pushed through to victory and had their name added to the wall of bravery. Adam Richman was determined to add this noodle challenge to his Man v. Food resume, but he wasn’t attempting this particular challenge by himself. A pair of attractive fire dancers sat at the table with him to attack the big bowls of noodles and broth. Challengers are given 30 minutes to consume the fiery bowl of food. Richman took on the noodles first and made good progress, but by the time he was a quarter of the way into the count down he was definitely feeling the heat. He held off refreshing himself with milk for as long as he could. He still had about ten minutes left when he finished the noodles, but then the real challenge was before him: he had to gulp down every drop of the fiery broth before time ran out. Richman was sweating profusely by this point. He was supported by the onlookers who chanted “chug it! chug it!” With the help of his fans he persevered and finished the broth. He looked a little queasy, but he’d proudly earned his spot on the coveted Wall of Bravery.
3. Currying Disfavor
Brick Lane Curry House in New York boasts that it makes the spiciest curry dish in the entire United States of America. This is a bold statement, but Adam RIchman learns to his discomfort that it’s probably true. The restaurant has perfected its version of a traditional Indian curry dish called p’hall. At first glance this is a basic chicken and rice curry meal, but when you see the cook wearing a gas mask in the kitchen to protect himself from the 10 different chilis used in the dish you realize this is anything but basic. According to Brick Lane Curry House this dish is as much as 60 times more spicy than jalapeños peppers so Richman goes into the challenge forewarned. He also goes in with glasses of milk and Indian mango smoothies. He starts off the challenge ok, but he does feel the overwhelming heat right away. His troubles really begin when about halfway through he accidentally wipes his face with the towel he used to wipe his hands with – this sets his face on fire, but he keeps plugging away at the p’hall determined to finish. There is no time limit to consume the 6 oz. dish, but he proceeds at a pretty good pace until he gets to the final bite. Victorious, RIchman gladly accepts the free beer he has earned for conquering a spicy food challenge that has a nearly 90% failure rate. As far as he is concerned this is the spiciest curry in America.
2. The Ghost in the Sauce
When you think what foods are associated with Boston, Massachusetts you might think of seafood like lobster and clam chowder, Boston Cream Pie and maybe even some Fenway Franks if you like baseball. But if you’re thinking about the spiciest foods in Bean Town then East Coast Grill is where you want to go. This popular eatery drew the attention of Man v. Food’s own Adam Richman because he’s heard that it might just have the hottest pasta dish on the planet. Three nights a year East Coast Grill hosts Hell Night that features an entire menu of spicy dishes that the chefs dream up. The centerpiece of the menu is The Pasta From Hell because each serving of pasta and sauce is made with not one, but three Ghost Chili peppers. These scary peppers are known as one of the hottest foods you can get and are said to be 100 times more spicy than jalapeños peppers. After being warned he might need relief from the discomfort (the restaurant offers customers creamsicles then chides them for accepting!) he jumped right in to the challenge. When Adam first tasted the Pasta From Hell he was impressed – not with the spiciness, but just with how good it tasted. But about ten seconds later the Ghost chilis started to haunt him and he asked for his usual glass of milk to quench the scary spice.
1. Bring the Hellfire
Hellfire is a good name for one of the U.S. Army’s missiles because it is intimidating. Hellfire is also a good name for Smoke Eater’s hot wings because they are intimidating. The San Jose eatery challenges its customers to eat a dozen super spicy chicken wings that have been cooked with an overly generous 6 0unces of dried Habanero peppers. Adam Richman usually has the benefit of glasses of milk and water to help sooth himself as he powers through one of these super spicy challenges. However, at Snake Eaters they do not allow challengers to consume any liquids during the ten minute ordeal. The official rules are simple: 12 wings in 10 minutes or less. Adam started out strong, but the sheer intensity of the Habanero spice quickly began to overwhelm his senses. Halfway through the challenge Richman was sweating and tearing up and wishing he had a cold glass of milk in front of him. He didn’t back down; he kept going and he did finish the 12th and final Hellfire wing with time to spare. The crowd tried to get him to lick the spicy hot sauce from his hands, but he decided discretion is the better part of valor and stood pat until time expired. Although Richman was victorious there was little fanfare – just the pride that comes with the completion of another very spice challenge.