It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
A group of friends are out on a treasure hunt, on the search of buried treasure. There, they find the X and start digging. Once they get the treasure chest unearthed, they open it, with great anticipation. However, once they get it opened, they discover that the treasure chest actually contains food instead of gold or jewels.
Of course, a group of starving adventurers would prefer food to gold and gems.
A Comedy Trope
where a treasure is actually discovered to be food of any sort, instead of the usual treasure of gold, silver, or diamonds.
A subtrope to Worthless Treasure Twist
Compare Worthless Yellow Rocks
, And Your Reward Is Edible
Contrast Tasty Gold
Anime & Manga
- Ads that take the form of an adventure story, such as the sugar cereal commercials on Saturday mornings or the Hostess junk food ads in comic books, sometimes end with a treasure chest full of the food being advertised. The most obvious example is Lucky Charms, where the cereal is depicted as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, complete with sneaky leprechaun.
- A very literal example of this came from a commercial for a limited-edition variety of Quaker oatmeal. A small party of archeologists uncover a chest full of a lost treasure made out of the oatmeal, but a kid walks in and eats it all. The archeologists lament how fast they lost the treasure.
- Played with in Episode 8 of the Little Lulu anime, where Tubby, Wilbur, and Iggy decide to hide their lunch in a makeshift treasure chest (actually a lunchbox), and bury it on a nearby island all while pretending to be pirates. However, when they decide to go back to the island to dig up their treasure, Lulu and Annie tag along, all while also bringing along with them a dog that they had found while in town. After the treasure is found, the tables are turned on the boys when the dog refuses to let Tubby get near the treasure (presumably as payback for Tubby insulting the dog as being worthless earlier).
- Almost entirety of Toriko is hunting for this. Main character Toriko and his best friend Komatsu frequently go on trips hunting for legendary food, while fighting the bad guys who are also looking for the food.
- The episode "Lupin's Big Saiyuuki", from ''Lupin III (Red Jacket), was about the gang stealing the treasure of a forbidden kingdom. They risked their lives for... a chest full of salt. Apparently, the food in the kingdom is quite bland, and salt is a highly-prized commodity.
- This is a common trope in comic books. For example, one Richie Rich short story has him show two friends a "treasure map" then when they find the chest, it's full of picnic food. (As they gleefully eat the food, Richie is winking confidentially and making the "okay" sign with his fingers to his butler, who is hiding not far away).
- Among the contents of the Scab Island treasure chest in the 1980 live-action Popeye film are cans of spinach (which serve the sailor well in his final donnybrook with Bluto).
- Dream Park, the first novel in the Dream Park series. The game players find a chest that contains World War II era U.S. Army-issue canned food: turkey rolls, Spam, and tinned pound cake.
- In Firefly, the treasure the crew loots from the cargo ship in the pilot is food bars. Food bars which look like gold bars when wrapped in yellow foil, and also super-sciencily nutritious.
- In 1995 when David Letterman was getting ready to host the Academy Awards he told his tv show audience that the Oscar was actually made of chocolate.
- One story arc in Lee Falk's The Phantom had the children, Kit and Heloise, unearth a treasure chest. When opened, the contents were found to be common kitchen spices. At the time the chest was buried, however, such spices were uncommon, and often as valuable as gold.
- In one of Touhou Spin-Off manga Silent Sinner in Blue, Yukari manipulated Remilia and Reimu into going to the moon to battle the Lunarians. They are actually a distraction so that Yukari can sneak into the Lunar Capital and steal some treasures. Then it turns out that Yukari herself is also a distraction and Yuyuko is the one who sneaked in. What treasure did Yuyuko steal? A bottle of sake. Although an especially tasty one.
- Non-food variant: In a What's New? with Phil and Dixie comic strip about real-world gamers stumbling around in their basements fighting LARP battles, the "treasure" is a much-needed first aid kit.
- An episode of Scooby-Doo had the gang looking for a special buried treasure that is being seeked out by the ghost of Shaggy's pilgrim ancestor from hundreds of years ago. After the ghost is caught and revealed to be another man in a mask, the treasure chest is then opened, revealing it to be corn on the cob.
- Mr. Bogus:
- One of Bogus's dreams in the second act of the episode "No Snooze Is Good News" had Bogus dressed as a pirate open up a treasure chest full of doughnuts.
- In the third act of the episode "Waterboy Bogus", Bogus and Brattus are set to work by Ratty and Mole, in order to find buried treasure at the bottom of the ocean floor at the aquarium (long story). After the treasure chest is unearthed, Ratty and Mole open it up with great anticipation, but become disappointed upon discovering that the treasure chest actually contained lots of cheeseburgers, much to Bogus's delight.
- Played with in Codename: Kids Next Door where the food- specifically candy- is literally treasure, apparently worth more than gold. This leads to a number of pirate and Indiana Jones-style romps as Numbah 5 continues her ever lasting quest to satisfy her sweet-tooth.
- The Smurfs episode "Spelunking Smurfs" had the Smurfs discovering a treasure trove of frozen food hidden in a cave along with a diamond and a frozen ogre who stole both the food and the diamond. The Smurfs used Vanity's mirrors to reflect the sunlight unto the diamond so that the food would be unfrozen, but it also unfroze the ogre, who tried to stop the Smurfs from taking his food. When Papa Smurf reminded him of what the diamond did to him the last time he was selfish, the ogre allowed them to take what they needed along with the diamond. Soon after, Gargamel caught the Smurfs and took the diamond from the Smurfs, and because of his selfish heart, the diamond sealed up Gargamel in ice.
- Chocolate coins
- Pirates once seized a ship loaded with dried cocoa pods en route to newly-chocaholic Spain. They mistook these valuable commodities for sheep droppings and dumped them overboard.
- Modern Drunkard magazine has had a few "Drunken Treasure" contests, where they bury a treasure chest full of good liquor somewhere in Colorado, then give a list of clues as to where it might be found.