The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. An often given piece of advice to women by women on how to woo that special fella. By that logic I’d like to suggest the following revision –

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach via his eyes” – I love this show. And food.

Welcome to the wonderful culinary world of Adam Richman and Man vs Food.

Adam travels the United States of America, stopping in at all of the most (in)famous places known for their food. This show is one for lovers of food of all shapes and especially sizes.

Each episode sees our host take his almost endless appetite to a different city to visit their food haunts and take part in eating challenges. Usually he’ll stop at one or two places per episode to check out what they have on offer by way of mega meals, with the actual food challenge topping off the show. Usually the food challenge consists of Adam having to eat something massive, or a huge number of a certain thing.  A burger the size of a small car, a 3m steak sandwich or a platter of 40,000 slider burgers. Those are all exaggerations obviously, but you get the idea. The other side of the food challenges includes eating extremely hot foods. There’s something just fascinating about watching someone eat extremely hot food. They sweat, get short of breath, shake and look like they’re generally dying. I like spicy food, but I have no idea why you would put yourself through that sort of pain. There gets to a point where food stops tasting like anything and just burns. So while it’s not my cup of tea taste wise, I absolutely LOVE to see other people indulging/suffering.

What I really love about the show is that they didn’t take the obvious road of making it a gross out type of show that ends with Adam completely puking his guts out after overindulging in mountains of food. If he can’t finish what he’s eating, he stops and takes his defeat like a man. It would have been so easy for them to take the lowbrow road with the show, so I applaud them for not doing so.

In terms of the food, while it is ridiculous how massive the portions of some of the food is, most of it is really appetising. The only thing I’ve looked at on their and gone “gross” was when he ate 15 dozen oysters. I don’t do oysters. Thinking of 180 little slimy morsels of snotty oyster meat bursting the seams of my stomach just does nothing for me. Unfortunately, I don’t avoid the low brow as much as the show does. In fact, that very episode was the only one I’ve seen where someone throws up (not on screen) and it wasn’t the host, it was a guy he was doing a challenge with.

With the popularity of cooking programs and cooking competition programs perhaps having passed their peak, it’s great seeing a show that has the cooking and food elements but without the glossy coating of restaurant quality over it all. These food places are usually old and gritty and they cook with everything that any health concious show would advise against. I mean just look at the burger on the right. You’d never see that cooked on Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules. But damn doesn’t it look awesome?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I’d like to mention that not only do I enjoy watching the show, there have been a couple of items from the show that I’ve made to eat myself. Obviously not the gigantic burgers and table sized pizzas, but some of the food items that are more famous for being awesome rather than massive are quite delicious.

I don’t make them to the famous recipes of the places featured on the show, but I make the closest thing I can to the show with what I can get at the supermarket. So allow me to offer a couple of Man vs Food inspired food related tips/ideas.

Sandwiches: Something I had never thought of until recently was putting coleslaw on sandwiches. While this wasn’t exclusively a Man vs Food thing, a lot of the sandwiches he eats on the show have coleslaw on them. This is a whole new thing to me, coleslaw has always been a side dish to me, but it adds all sorts of awesomeness to a sandwich. It has a bunch of different vegetables in it, so there are a few flavours, plus the sauce/mayonnaise in it means you don’t have to put any other sort of sauce on there. Also, if you have a sandwich with one or more types of deli meat, sticking it in a frying pan for a minute or so on each side to warm it does something to it that releases all sorts of flavour. Give it a whirl next time you’re making yourself a ham, roast beef, pastrami and turkey sandwich that stands a metre tall.

Man vs Food Chilli Dog: At various places along his travels Adam encounters what seems to be an American staple at eateries, the chilli dog. One of them looked so great that I had to give it a try. So essentially I just bought a pack of hotdogs and hotdog rolls from the supermarket. I’ve made this with both regular hotdogs and also Kransky sausage, which is AWESOME. So you cut the hotdog rolls and zap them for 25 or so seconds in the microwave to warm them. Fire up the frying pan and cook your dogs/sausage until they’re nicely done. In the microwave or in a saucepan, cook up a tin of Stagg chilli. You can buy it at most supermarkets and it’s pretty decent; there are mild and hot varieties. Prepare some diced Spanish onion and have some yellow mustard on hand.

To build your epic Man vs Food chilli dog, take a warmed hotdog roll, put in some Spanish onion and some yellow mustard and then lay your dog/sausage down on top of that. Spoon a couple of generous heaps of chilli onto the dog and SMASH INTO IT! You won’t regret it. The awesome taste of the Spanish onion and the crunch of it being raw and the chilli and yellow mustard is such a great flavour combo.

Man vs Food can be seen on 7Mate.