Competitive eater Raina Huang with the staff at Now Pho, where she at 7 pounds of spicy beef noodle stew. (Provided by Raina Huang)
The only complaint competitive eater Raina Huang had about her Colorado visit this time around was the cold weather.
The Los Angeles-based YouTuber with 435,000 Instagram and 3.6 million TikTok followers, who watch her eat large quantities of food in short periods of time, took her fifth trip to Denver this month to visit primarily Asian eateries, including Chi Lin in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace and Now Pho on South Federal Boulevard.
“I’m usually the guinea pig for a lot of these food challenges that the restaurants invite me to come try, and I decided to make a quick trip out of it,” she said.
Despite low temperatures (and her previous visit to Colorado), Huang had no chilly reception from local business owners and fans.
In May 2021, Huang made headlines when she was kicked out of the now-closed StevO’s Pizza & Ribs in Aurora by owner Steve Wieand after she asked to film herself attempting the eatery’s 28-inch pizza challenge. So, Huang instead filmed a video saying the owner had called her names, and she’s “never had a restaurant experience this bad, I was just here to do a pizza challenge. I don’t understand.”
Huang, 29, said she’s learned her lesson since then and only visits restaurants that have personally invited her, so she can plan ahead when it comes to filming food challenges. “I’ve gotten much more organized,” Huang said of her last 10 years as a competitive eater. And she added that she bears no ill feelings toward Colorado.
She completed a food challenge on all three days of her visit to Colorado. On Nov. 10, Huang drove to Salida early in the morning and ate a 7-pound breakfast burrito from Mojo’s Eatery. Then she stopped by Now Pho for dinner, where fans watched her down 7 pounds of spicy beef noodle stew in under 30 minutes.
“Boy that one got spicy after a while,” she said.
“In between each challenge, I always have lots of fluids, and I made sure to take advantage of the beautiful hiking trails Colorado has to offer,” Huang added.
Huang also visited Bryan’s Dumpling House in Greenwood Village, Kickin Chicken in Lakewood and Jennie Pho in Broomfield, where she finished a bowl of pho in under seven minutes. And she wasn’t done yet. Huang was invited to be the first to finish the 7-pound ramen challenge at Chi Lin, which she did in 14 minutes and 29 seconds.
“I don’t need a prize,” Huang said. “It’s all about the glory of finishing it.”