The 2.8kg bowl of pho needs to be eaten in under 20 minutes, with the fastest 10 times qualifying for the Grand Final.

Cabra-Vale Diggers and District 8 are running the their annual pho eating challenge this month, with heats kicking off Tuesday 1 August. The pan-Asian restaurant within the Cabramatta club first introduced the pho challenge in 2018 as a promotion to celebrate its first birthday.

The challenge is to eat a 2.8kg bowl of pho in under 20 minutes. The portion is the equivalent of three regular meal-sozed bowls of the soup, comprising 1,050ml of rich and flavorful stock, 750g of noodles, 600g of beef (including a mix of rare beef, brisket, and tendon), and 360g of fresh bean sprouts, along with 45g of fragrant greens including basil, onions, and spring onions.

For those willing to take on the Pho Challenge, there are four preliminary heats running every from 1-22 August. The Grand Final will take place on Tuesday, 5 September, featuring the top 10 quickest contestants battling it out for the grand prize of a travel voucher valued at $3,000, as well as meal vouchers to District 8.

Since 2018, District 8 has become immensely popular in its own right, making it more difficult to schedule in the Pho Challenge, but the team behind the restaurant and the club felt it was important to celebrate one its most popular dishes.

“The restaurant is one of the busiest restaurants you will find in a club anywhere in Australia.  We operate 7 days a week and because of its popularity with the locals and many others who travel across Sydney just to enjoy the food we have found it difficult to find the time to facilitate another competition until now,” explained Shayne-Anne O’Leary, marketing and business development manager for Cabra-Vale Diggers Group.

“Cabra-Vale Diggers has entered the Pho into the Perfect Plate Awards this year with winners to be announced on 1 August, so we thought it was the perfect time to bring back the challenge and to celebrate this dish that is a huge part of our local community.  Our venue sells over 20,000 bowls a year which is testament to the quality of the dish served at District 8 in the heart of a strong Vietnamese community in Cabramatta.”

The Pho Challenge has already garnered a lot of interest from the local community, as well as social media and mainstream media. Many social media influencers have expressed interest in taking part in the challenge, and Nine’s The Today Show has already booked in for the winner to appear on the program the morning after the grand final.

“It’s a great community event to get everyone involved with and everyone loves to be able to come and cheer along the contestants. The last event was a big spectacle with drummers and lion dancing and we look forward to bringing the same excitement this year,” stated O’Leary.

The Pho Challenge was last held in 2019, and was won by was Instagram blogger Jesse Freeman @foodcoma_eats. Freeman ate the 2.8kg bowl of pho in 3.54 minutes. 

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