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The Nest

The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

Feeling hungry? Or insane? Try one of these 4 local food challenges

Robata’s Hot Ramen Challenge defeated one Moran twin. Keep reading to find out who.

Food is necessary for people to live, and eating food is already enjoyable (if made by a good chef), but how can restaurants make it even more exciting? By creating food challenges! Find out about four food challenges created by local St. Louis restaurants.

Robata  

First up is Robata’s “Hot Ramen Challenge.” Robata is a ramen and sushi restaurant located in Maplewood, and it gets its name from the Japanese word robatayaki, which means fireside cooking. Robata sadly does not have fireside cooking, but it’s not the end of the world since regular stoves can make most Japanese foods without them. (Disclaimer: Robata is owned by my dad).

For Robata’s Hot Ramen Challenge, though, there is no need for a fireside because it’s all about the ramen. For those new to the dish, ramen is a Japanese noodle soup made with a vibrantly flavored broth and other varieties of meats and vegetables. 

For Robata’s Hot Ramen Challenge, the ramen consists of egg noodles, soft-boiled eggs, bamboo, green onion, spicy ginger, wood ear mushrooms, bean sprouts, pork dumplings, and pork broth.

To win the challenge, a person must finish everything in the bowl, including the broth. If you succeed, you win a beautiful t-shirt with Robata on the T-shirt.

What makes it so hot?

While the dish’s ingredients may sound like all fun and games, the secret sauce (house made chili sauce) will get you if you are not prepared. When I saw the ramen for the first time, the thing I noticed first was the redness of the broth. Although it looked spicy, the chili sauce my dad, Thom Chantharasy, made was the only thing that made it different from regular ramen. My dad has always wanted to make a challenge like this. He said, “the chili paste is extra spicy because I heat the dry peppers to release the oil from the seeds, and I keep all the seeds which are where all the spicy comes from.”

I also asked him if he could win against his challenge, and he said, “nope.”

Of the ten people (as of January 13, 2023) who have tried this challenge, only one has won. There is a ¨loser¨ within our school, and his name is Nick Moran, a senior, and these are his words of wisdom as to why he thinks he lost.

“Everything was perfect; I had the mentality of the most outstanding player Ronaldo and an empty stomach as if I were fasting. I started stuffing my face; nothing stopped me until my stomach began to feel sick. I got to the point where if I ate more, I had to barf, so I ended up tapping out.”

— Nick Moran


Conversely, the only person who has ever won this challenge just so happens to go to Brentwood as well. He also just so happens to be Nick Moran’s twin brother Andrew Moran.

When I first saw Andrew try the challenge, I was laughing because he quit after just a minute. Yet, when he tried the challenge again several months later, he won. “I knew I wasn’t going to win the first time but seeing that I was nicknamed ‘The Spice King’ in our friend group and lost so badly, I knew I needed to come back and win,” Andrew said.

What was his secret to success?

“To win I had to practice, so I increased my spicy tolerance. I went to La Bodega on Cherokee Street and got some spicy tacos and started crying when I took a bite. The employees there laughed at me, and I took that personally, so I practiced by eating eggs with Frank’s Redhot and even Takis. In the end, I probably won because of luck, but it’s all good because I can say I won the Spicy Ramen Challenge,” said Andrew.

(As a witness to both his defeat and triumphant comeback, I can confidently say this was a zero-to-hero story.)

-7260 Manchester Rd, Maplewood, 63143, www.robatamaplewood.com/

-Hot ramen is $12. 

 

Pearl Cafe

Another Asian restaurant, Pearl Cafe, has an extensive Thai menu, including my favorites Pad Thai and sticky rice. Like Robata, Pearl Cafe has a spicy challenge, which is called the “spicy eating challenge.” Pearl Cafe’s challenge involves four heat levels: 25, 50, 75, and 100.

Like many other challenges, there are rules:

You have 45 minutes to finish for each level, and when they say finish, they mean it because the food/sauce has to be gone, and your server will give you a shot glass to pour the last bits of sauce in because you have to completely finish it. Also, no sharing, and no leaving the table; plus, you can only drink water and soda. If you want this challenge, you will have to ask for it because it appears to be off the menu.

-8416 N Lindbergh Blvd, Florissant, MO 63031, http://pearlstl.com/about-2/

 

Pointer’s Pizza

Pizza has ancient roots in Gaeta dating all the way back to 997 AD. Still, the pizza most Americans know and love is thought to have been invented around the late 18th century to early 19th century in different parts of Italy. Although Imo’s pizza has a more historical connection to St. Louis than Pointer’s, Pointer’s has a way better challenge called the “Pointersaurus.”

As the name suggests, the Pointersaurus is a monster of a pizza weighing a staggering 10 pounds and boasting a wingspan of 28 inches.

The rules: A team of two must finish the pizza in less than an hour without leaving the customer’s area. If you beat this challenge, Pointer’s Pizza awards $500!

All of the senior soccer players and Coach Hughes shared the Pointersaurus and finished it within 30 minutes. Technically, they didn’t win even though they ate all the pizza since only a team of two people could eat it at a time; but the seven boys and the single man demolished it.

Sound too good to be true? This challenge is harder than you might think. According to Charlotte Renner’s article in Feast Magazine, over the past 28 years, 8,000 people have attempted the challenge and only 54 of them have won. This means that only .67% of challengers have succeeded; and since 2016, there has not been a champion.

-1023 S Big Bend Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63117

$54 dollars

 

Crown Candy Kitchen

For people who are lactose intolerant, this is not the challenge for you. For this challenge, you have to drink five 24-ounce milkshakes or malts in under 30 minutes. You can pick any flavor for the five milkshakes or just go with five vanilla. If you win, you get the frosty desserts free of charge, a free T-shirt, and your name added to the wall of winners.

Before you try, though, just know that according to Crown Candy’s website, “You will be disqualified if you if you throw up before you have finished the challenge in the allotted 30 minutes. You can throw up all you want afterwards and will be expected to clean up your mess.”

Not into the idea of drinking milkshakes until you throw up? Crown Candy Kitchen is still worth visiting, for it’s one of the oldest and most popular attractions in St. Louis. The soda fountain and restaurant opened in 1913 by two friends, the leading owner, Harry Karandzieff, and his friend Pete Jugaloff. 

-1401 St Louis ave, St.Louis, MO 63106, http://www.crowncandykitchen.net

-$30 for the five milkshakes

Emelda Forney
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About the Contributor
Miller Chantharasy
Miller Chantharasy, Staff Writer
Miller Chantharasy is a junior and has just joined The Nest this year. He plays sports, including soccer, cross-country, wrestling, track, and tennis. He is involved in photography for The Nest because his grandma always takes pictures of his family and he would like to take pictures of her instead.

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  • K

    KCAug 17, 2023 at 9:18 pm

    This was a great read, and very informative. I will definitely be visiting some of the spots soon! Thank you

    Reply