Ken’s House of Pancakes Sumo Challenge

We’re quick to admit that food challenges are a little wrong. They’re gluttonous and certainly don’t help with a fair distribution of food, but there’s something about them that draws you in. While most people would be far more likely to observe someone taking part of the challenge, Hungry loves to step up to the plate when he gets the chance. On our recent trip to Hawaii, a friend from the island who now lives in LA, told us that we had to go to Ken’s House of Pancakes. Why? Well, apparently, the Rock spent a fair amount of time in Hilo during his youth, and he would often destroy some epic pancake platter while there.


When we arrived, the charm of this modest spot was more than evident. Most of the staff felt like they could be your family, the chefs seemed to be having a great time, you were surrounded by regular customers and there was a wall, filled with photos of well-known Hawaiians. The Rock, his father Rocky and his grandfather, the high-chief, were all on that wall, along with Hilo legend BJ Penn, President Obama, and more. This isn’t a review of the restaurant, but more so the food challenge. Our service was great. The wait times were reasonable, the prices were fair, the portions were generous, the food was good. It wasn’t great food, but it’s hard to ask for top of the line fare when you’re paying so little. It is good, diner food.

The challenge itself left me, probably, at a 7-8/10. I had more space, but got tired of the pancakes. They were made well, but I have a hard time eating cold pancakes. A lot of extra calories, maybe even a thousand or two, were added to the challenge, by my choice, in the form of maple syrup or butter. I actually would’ve preferred more meat and eggs, not even in place of the pancakes, to change it up a bit and also fill me up a little more.


Don’t get me wrong. I had to put my headphones on for the last pancake and even use water to swallow some large chunks in my mouth, but it wasn’t all that bad! There are no prizes for completing it, but it only costs $17 or so; basically, it’s a big meal. The best part of the challenge was when the rang a gong, out of nowhere, and all the staff shouted “SUMO” at the same time. I was a little nervous, or know it was going to get real when that happened!

Have you ever competed in a food challenge before? If so, let us know what it was, where it was and how you did! Sometimes, testing the size of your appetite is a great way to see if you’re hungry and fit!


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