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Pho 95 Owner Aaron Le, right, explains the rules of the Pho King Challenge to Dominique Doan on July 18 at Pho 95 in Centennial. Participants have one hour to eat two pounds of meat, two pounds of noodles and 200 ounces of broth. (Photo by Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com)


Pho 95's Pho King Challenge tests Denver-area eaters

Participants have an hour to consume four pounds of noodles, meat and 200 ounces of broth

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Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com

Dominique Doan eats the Pho King Challenge on July 18, 2010 at Pho 95 in Centennial.

CENTENNIAL – Dominque Doan brandished a wide smile on his face as he waited to embark on the Pho King Challenge on July 18 at Pho 95 on 6879 S. Vine St.


Doan, like dozens who have tried before him, looked to become the first person to complete this gastronomic endeavor of consuming two pounds of meat, two pounds of noodles and 200 ounces of beef broth in one hour.


"I love pho very much and I'm going to enjoy this the entire time," the 25-year-old from Arvada said.


Owner Aaron Le said he created the challenge because he wanted to create a fun atmosphere for his customers.


"When we would go eat pho, one of my friends – he was like my size, maybe a little bit bigger – he would take down two bowls of pho easy," Le said. "When I started this business with my wife, I wanted to have my customers to have fun."


In May, Le debuted the Pho King Challenge. Originally participants only had 30 minutes to finish, but seeing as that seemed unreasonable, Le extended the time.


"I saw two people try it and I knew it was tough, so I pushed it to an hour," he said. "I want people to win."


Those who win the Pho King Challenge receive a black t-shirt with the slogan "I am a Pho King Winner" on the front, their picture will be displayed on the hall of fame wall by the cash register and their bowl of pho is free. Those who fail to win receive a pink t-shirt with the slogan "I am a Pho King Loser," their picture on the hall of shame in front of the men's restroom and the bill – $35 plus tax.


Le's advice for those who are brave enough to try is to go with tendons, chicken or chopped rare steak as they are easier to ingest.


"Train yourself, drink a lot of water, stretch your stomach out," he said. "This is a lot of soup."


With mere minutes remaining on the timer, Doan tried to push past his fullness wall and finish the last of his noodles and meat. He stared at the contents on his chopsticks, convincing himself to power through his bloatedness and cross the finish line.


At the two-minute mark, he took a bite. Nearly all the noodles and meat were gone. However, there was still about two liters of broth remaining. He sighed and put down his chopsticks.


"I feel like I'm having a baby," Doan said.

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