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Foreign Queasine
aka: Foreign Cuisine
I guess the saying is true: one man's horrid diseased mouldy vegetable is another man's dinner. No, wait, that's not right.

Connor Macleod: I cannot swim, ye stupid haggis!
Ramirez: Haggis? What is haggis?
Macleod: Sheep's stomach, stuffed with meat and barley!
Ramirez: ... And what do you do with it?
Macleod: Heh! You eat it!
Ramirez: (bridling) How revolting!

The planet Earth is a very diverse place, with many different cultures, each of which has its own traditions, history, worldview, and menu. For the hapless traveler, encountering a new and very different food can be an unsettling experience of the Squick-tastic variety. This is very much Truth in Television, and often finds its way into fiction as well, where it is usually played for laughs. Plus, it's an easy challenge for a Reality Show to pull off. (For example, pictured here is huitlacoche, corn grains infected with corn smut, a true Mexican delicacy!)

One common variant of this gag is for a person to enjoy the food at first but get Squicked out when he asks what it is.

For the outer space version, see Alien Lunch. Foods like this may taste like feet. Contrast with I Ate What?, when a person ingests something that's not food in any culture. Note that most Foreign Queasine is automatically Stock Yuck material. May appear as a Masochist's Meal. Occasionally combined with Dinner Order Flub.

For the non-culinary equivalent, see Americans Hate Tingle. See also Haggis Is Horrible, a Sub-Trope.

No Real Life Examples, Please! There may be Values Dissonance, and taste is subjective.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Ranma ½:
    • Inverted in the first movie. Akane has been taken prisoner by a Chinese clan that eats only rice and pickled vegetables. She asks if she can have some fried eggs, and her kidnapper responds, aghast, "You eat bird embryos?"
    • Akane mistakes it for some bizarre and confining cultural belief, decides that this is no way to live, and cooks them up a proper meal. The main villain-captor-person-guy tries some... and almost immediately collapses in agony. Though this isn't just because Akane is a really bad cook; turns out that where they came from, the populace had been on the rice-and-pickle diet for so long that now their digestive systems couldn't actually handle anything else.
  • Used in Magical Pokaan with underworld princesses and natto juice.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • In an early episode, when Japan is trying to learn about European nations, he sees Italy and Germany eating snails. In the dub, when they ask if he would like some, he turns them down because "I've already had raw fish".
    • Finland and Sweden point out in the manga that most people only know them because of their infamous Surströmming and Salmiakki.
    • England also gets no end of grief for his food, which is invariably pegged as burnt and inedibly disgusting.
      America: Those pastries you served me when I visited your house the other day? They tasted like petrified couch stuffing.
      England: [choking America] Bastard! Those scones were a recipe passed down by my mumsy!
    • There's this conversation, between Japan and Germany:
      Japan: Germany, I was cleaning up my dolphin stew mess, when I found this.
      Germany: Well, who knew Flipper would taste so gamey?
  • In Moyashimon, Professor Itsuki has a fondness for bizarre, and often downright disgusting, fermented foods like kiviak (a paste made from the innards of auks that have been stuffed inside a seal carcass and buried for several months) and hongeohoe (a type of sashimi originating in Korea made from stingray fermented in its own digestive juices and urea).
  • In Crest of the Stars (the sequel series Banner of the Stars), Samson's home planet Midgrat considers cat a delicacy. His Abh colleagues, among whom cats are the preferred household pet, are generally not amused when he brings this up. He promises not to make any of those dishes when he makes a Midgrat style meal in Banner of the Stars II. Midgrat's decision to join the Abh Empire instead of Four Nation Alliance stemmed exactly from their culinary practices. When envoys from the major powers came to Midgrat they were each honored with a banquet featuring a cat centerdish. While the other powers expressed shock and disgust, the Abh partook with no comment.
  • In Darker Than Black, the elderly Japanese landlord lady implies that the main character's people would eat "anything with four legs, except maybe desks"note . (He just laughs it off, probably secure in the knowledge that he's the best cook in the series anyway)
  • Subverted in Noein, when Haruka is brought to La'Cryma and is given a disgusting-looking dinner consisting of, among other things, very large raw grubs and soup that looks suspiciously like blood. She tries it anyway, and comments that it's actually very tasty.
  • Ganymede Sea Rats of Cowboy Bebop are claimed to be a delicacy by various restaurants, allowing it to be sold at exorbitant prices. In fact, the little beasty is dirt-common and tastes horrible. The people of Ganymede only ate it while getting their colony operating and the various companies gathering the Rats had to find new markets once other food sources opened up.
  • In the Infinite Stratos OVA all the girls resolve to make a dish for dinner, including Cecilia the British representative, to the horror of the other girls. Their fears are realized when she cooks by color ("more red!"), spouts metaphors about coming back from defeat, and tries to jazz it up with a laser cannon. There are other instances during the series proper where British culinary skill is ridiculed.
  • The Slayers TRY has the Dradora Surprise. Its recipe is vague, but it's made clear that even the Extreme Omnivore Gourry felt sick when he learned what it is.
  • In Suisei no Gargantia, Ledo comes from space and all he's ever eaten are manufactured nutrient pastes. When he lands on Earth he is startled and disgusted when he finds other people eating "animal corpses". He only joins in to be polite (the fish was being offered to him as a goodwill present) and eats with obvious discomfort, though he is later shown eating meat and finding it delicious.

    Comedy 
  • Peter Kay has routine in which he relates an incident from his own life where his father was baffled by discovering Garlic? Bread?! on a menu in foreign parts, before the dish became popular in the UK, wondering how those ingredients could possibly go together. The skit culminates in Kay senior trying garlic bread and declaring it to be "a taste sensation!"
  • French comedian Jacques Bodoin used to have a famous sketch about haggis.
    "Well, at first, I thought it was shit ...and then I regretted it wasn't."
  • Jake Johanson talks about going to Hong Kong, and running into "chicken doughnuts" and not understanding real Chinese cuisine because of "different meanings of words":
    "For example 'beef.' When we say 'beef,' we mean the meat part of the cow....not the eye."

    Comic Books 
  • In American Born Chinese, the horrible Chinese caricature Chin-Kee eats fried cat gizzards, to the disgust of the other students at school. Cats (being mammals) don't actually have gizzards, but it's a take that to a racist comic by famous political cartoonist Pat Oliphant.
  • Astérix:
    • Asterix, Obelix and Dogmatix are accidentally stranded in pre-Columbian America, and are honored with a feast by the local Indians, Obelix asks what they are serving and discovers it is dog heated up (the translation of hot dog has always been a source of comedy). Even a compulsive eater like Obelix is disgusted, putting his dish aside, and has no heart to let Dogmatix know what it's already eating.
    • In Asterix in Britain, Obelix is relieved to find that the Britons eat boar, like he does... except that they cook it in mint sauce! The poor thing!
      • A Roman centurion threatened by Caesar to be cooked alive in mint sauce and fed to the lions comments: "Poor beasts!"
    • In Asterix in Corsica, a Corsican cheese smells so bad Asterix and Obelix nearly pass out, and once the pirates enter the room in it with a torch, it explodes.
  • In a Doonesbury strip where Uncle Duke is serving as ambassador to China, he encounters birds-nest soup:
    Duke: Birds' nests? That's revolting!
    Honey: That's a misnomer. It's not actually made from birds' nests.
    Duke: Good lord, I should hope not!
    Honey: It's actually made from the salivary glands of—
  • Happens in Tintin. It is mentioned that a prime dish in Syldavia is Slaczek, the hind leg of a young dog in heavy Syldavian sauce (though given the context this is possibly untrue). Although he was more concerned that the chef might have mistaken a previous request and cooked Tintin's own dog for the course.
  • In De cape et de crocs, Don Lope de Villalobos y Sangrin, a wolf, comes to realise that the reason he and his friend Armand (a fox) were nearly eaten by a savage tribe was that they consider dogs to be a delicacy. Halfway through a lunch offered by said tribe.

     Fanfic 
  • In the Star Trek fanfic Step by Step, Spock presents Kirk with some plomeek soup he made. While Kirk manages to hide it from him, he finds it absolutely sickening. McCoy tells Spock that "that stuff's not compatible with human taste receptors."
  • In the controversial Phineas and Ferb fic "The Seer" by Kicster Ash, the cook for the village Phineas, Ferb, Isabella, Baljeet and Buford are staying in Cantoria responds to Phineas and Ferb's positive comments about the simple chicken she's cooked by telling them it's a pity that the main ingredient in her specialty isn't available. Said ingredient? Platypus. Both Phineas and Ferb promptly lose their appetites.

    Film 
  • Crocodile Dundee
    • Sue (Linda Koslowski's character) is out with Mick Dundee in the middle of the Australian bush, and he goes about the stereotypical "bushman" thing of catching a goanna lizard and cooking it up in front of her. She's looking at it somewhat distastefully and asks words to the effect of "You live on this stuff?" Mick Dundee's response? "Oh, you can live on it — but it tastes like shit." He then pulls out a can of beans, revealing that he's screwing with her.
    • There is a callback to the scene from the bush in New York... where they have the same conversation, with the roles reversed, about a hot dog.
    • Crocodile Dundee 2 has one of the aboriginal men eating a large bat he had cooked on an open fire. When a disgusted companion asked if he is enjoying it, he replies "Eh...needs garlic."
  • Happens to James Bond with the sheep's head served in Octopussy. However, he does think it has a truth serum mixed into the eyeball.
  • Features in Ill Met By Moonlight (1957) (a.k.a. Night Ambush in the US); where Captain 'Billy' Stanley Moss, fresh to Crete, is offered a sheep's head to eat. Horrified, he refuses to eat the eye, only to have Major 'Paddy' Leigh Fermor take it and eat it with gusto.
  • In Demolition Man the main character John Spartan is forced, along with his companions, to take a trip into the city's sewers where rebels live. To try to dispel some of the suspicions that the sewers' inhabitants are directing at them, he orders a hamburger (and pays for it with someone else's Rolex). Halfway through eating it, he is reminded by one of his companions that there are no cows underground. He asks the vendor where the meat comes from, and is told it's rat meat. He pauses for a moment, then cheerfully resumes eating, stating it's the best burger he's had in years.
  • In the movie Clue, the fact that Miss Peacock enjoys monkey brains (much to the disgust of the other guests, who weren't told what they were eating) is an important clue in two of the endings.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom:
    • There's a rather serious version of the trope when they're in the village near the start of the film.
    • Indy, Willie and Short Round dine with their Indian hosts and are grossed out to find that every item on the menu is like this. Live eels, served inside a python skin. Eyeball soup. Steamed beetles. And for dessert, chilled monkey brains. Served en suite in chilled monkey heads. Hilarity Ensues. This helped get the movie banned in India for spreading racist stereotypes.
  • In Highlander, Ramirez is revolted by the concept of haggis, in spite of the fact that he's played by Sean Connery.
  • In Funny Farm, Chevy Chase's character enjoys a local delicacy called "lamb fries", which (he subsequently learns) are actually sheep testicles.
  • Overlapping with Alien Lunch is Daniel Jackson's first encounter with Abydos cuisine in the Stargate movie - which is a lovingly prepared roasted desert lizard. After an experimental bite, he decides that it Tastes Like Chicken, which he attempts (with limited success) to communicate to his hosts.
  • In Galaxy Quest Alan Rickman's character is served his characters "native food". It's a bowl full of "Kep-mok blood ticks," which run around his plate and jump off of his spoon. He doesn't eat them.
  • Referenced in passing in Brain Donors.
    Rocco: [as a dog rips his trouser leg] "What a charming little animal."
    Lillian: "Do you know dogs, Mister Melonchek?"
    Rocco: "Know dogs? I used to be a chef in a Korean restaurant!"
  • Icelandic foods in the film Jar City. The detective stops at a takeaway and buys Sheep's Head, wrapped in paper, which he eats with his fingers while reading, tearing off sticky gelatinous strings of dark coloured squick and stuffing them in his mouth with obvious enjoyment. When his dissolute drug-taking daughter makes him a delicious-looking club sandwich he grumbles because it has 3 pieces of bread, so she makes his favourite Meat Soup — lumps of animal bone and other less appealing bits floating in hot water — just like mother used to make. Lampshaded by his assistant in a cafeteria serving a selection of roadkill in watery stuff (again) where everything seems to be served in soup bowls. After looking at the foods on offer he asks if they have anything vegetarian, then settles for coffee.
  • In Transformers 2, Sam's mother orders snails while in France, to her husband's disgust. She takes a bite and spits it back on the plate.
  • The Olsen twins film Winning London has a snails gag.
  • Inverted in Baby Secret Of The Lost Legend, in which some hippies give an African elder some granola. He smiles and nods in apparent enjoyment, then spits it out when they're not looking.
  • In A Christmas Story, the family goes out to a Chinese restaurant in Christmas Day and are a little shocked that the duck still has a head when it's served to them. When the father expresses his concern, the waiter simply hacks the head off and sticks it in his pocket, causing the family to gasp.
  • Despite being a widely available fowl in restaurants over north america, duck meat is treated as this by the hosts of the Show Within a Show in The Ugly Truth.
  • In The Lost Boys, vampire David offers mortal Michael some rice, then tells him he's been eating maggots. After Michael recoils from his suddenly squirming food, David says it was just an optical illusion on his part: it's really rice after all. Then David, in a cruel double bluff, offers Michael a swig of human blood from a wine bottle, and despite the warning of his semi-vampiric crush Star that it's actually blood for real, Michael drinks it and becomes a semi-vampire himself.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Holmes and Watson are eating in the gypsy camp. Watson puts down his plate in disgust when he realises they're chowing down on hedgehog stew.
    Sherlock: "How dare you be rude to this woman who invited us into her tent! Offered us her hedgehog!"

    Literature 
  • Discworld
  • The Colour of Magic: Rincewind is quite disgusted when he finds out that the "sea grape wine" is made from sea grapes — that is to say, a kind of small jellyfish.
    • Jingo: Klatchians (a sort of Arabia-meets-India Fantasy Counterpart Culture) offer sheeps' eyes and similar disgusting things to foreigners who visit them. It turns out they don't actually eat these things but only do it to screw with tourists. Of course, it's no surprise this ends up subverted when we get to the D'regs, because they were trying to fool the ever-suspicious Sam Vimes, who wasn't going to eat it no matter who found it offensive. He did light his cigar on a camel-dung fire, but he said it "improved the flavor". Sam Vimes also later discovers that "vindaloo" roughly translates to "mouth scalding gristle for macho foreign idiots."
    • Witches Abroad: the unusual (but delicious) cuisine of Genua is born of desperate ingenuity: "No one would eat shark's fin soup if they were allowed to eat the rest of the shark." This gets thrown out the window by The Last Continent when Rincewind notes that shark meat tastes like boots that have been pissed on.
    • Interesting Times: "The big meal here is pig's ear soup. You know what that tells me? It tells me someone else already pinched the rest of the pig."
    • In The Last Continent, one of his asides describes "local speciality" as "stuff that people from everywhere else run away from really fast", or something to that effect. This is especially hammered for comedic effect when the local Dibbler (Fair Go) sells Pie Floaters.
    • In Feet of Clay, the uber-proletarian Nobby Nobbs is very briefly elevated to the aristocracy as Earl de Nobbes and alleged pretender to the throne. The members of the aristocracy are forced to toady to him and treat his every whim as if it were Royal Command, so when he orders a pig-knuckle sandwich - and if you're really feeling posh you can cut the toenails off - they have no choice other than to partake of hitherto unknown proletarian food. And a boiled pig's foot tastes every bit as appealing as it sounds. The aristocrats are also forced to drink beer by the pint.
    • Ankh-Morpork is called "The Big Wahooni"; in the Discworld Companion it is explained that the wahooni is a particularly disgusting fruit. The description of the wahooni(e) is based on the durian.
    • Discworld dwarfs consider rat a delicacy and are squicked out if offered meat from more repellent animals, like chicken, cows and, ugggh, pigs. In one book a trading standards and environmental health issue is caused by a Dwarf passing off sirloin steak as prime rat.
    • Some actual recipes for Foreign Queasine are included in Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, including a simulation of rat pizza (a favorite among dwarfs) using sliced vegetables and pressed ham arranged into rodent shapes. The last step in preparing it is to go hide under the bed, overcome by squickiness. According to Nanny Ogg, the best cuisine comes from countries where there wasn't much to cook, so they cooked everything. "No-one is going to invent bird's nest soup because they want to."
    • Witches Abroad also features Granny declaring that one foreign dish was nice enough, but it's called cuisse de grenouille "and who knows what that means?" Nanny does, and makes the mistake of telling her, then tries to claim it's a joke name like toad-in-the-hole.
  • Dave Barry:
    • He uses the "French people feed snails to American tourists as a prank" joke in his book Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need.
    • His book Dave Barry Goes To Japan lists examples from his trip to Japan, including being dared to eat a squid tentacle.
  • A variant is seen in Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover novel City of Sorcery: a character from a culture so pacifist that for fear of killing a living thing they never even eat natural food, but only synthetics, is forced to resort not only to "real" foods, but to actual meat. She can even deal with it, in the form of "just a bar, or a slice", but looking down at a wing on her plate stops her cold.
  • Cordelia Vorkosigan has the same problem fairly often when she moves from hypercivilized and technologically advanced Beta Colony to the barbarian backwater of Barrayar. Notably, on one occasion young Miles catches some fish in the lake at Vorkosigan Surleau, and proudly brings them in to feed the family, only later realizing that his mother's enthusiasm was entirely an act for his benefit when he notices he's never seen her eat anything but vat protein except that once...
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Death of Sleep. The vegan protagonist is undone when she realizes an hors d'oeuvre she's been enjoying actually contains meat.
  • Older Than Radio: Samuel Johnson's Dictionary defines oats as a grain which in England is fed to horses, but which in Scotland supports the people. (Resulting in the legendary retort "That's why Scotland is known for its men and England for its horses.")
  • In Superfudge, Peter and a friend collect worms for a neighbor, and speculate that she might eat them. This is confirmed when she gives them cookies into which ground-up worms (for protein) have been blended. Actually it was a Halloween counter-prank, there were no worms in the cookies.
  • In Shadow Magic, Alcibiades spends most of his time as a diplomat complaining about the food (and the furniture, and his job, and the people, and Caius...). Finding some fried dumplings being sold on the street is the first time he eats sufficiently since he got to Xi'an.
  • Some natives of the Ringworld are disgusted by Luis Wu's love of cheese.
  • In a Star Trek Expanded Universe novel, the crew travels to a planet populated by descendants of Chinese colonists, who have formed their own interstellar empire. Picard's task is to convince the Dragon (not that Dragon), the ruler of that empire, to ally with The Federation in order to fight off an invasion of Lizard Folk. To test Picard, the Dragon makes him eat increasingly exotic and vile food. Picard, having strict orders (and having eaten Klingon gagh), bravely tastes the dishes to the Dragon's delight. Eventually, however, the servers bring in a dish that looks and smells so bad that Picard is forced to refuse. The Dragon shrugs and throws it to the dog, who tries it and dies within seconds. The crew determine that someone is trying to kill the Dragon, but he dismisses the notion, assuming the cooks simply messed up. Since the food is prepared on an alien planet using alien ingredients, this could also be considered as Alien Lunch.
  • Richard Marcinko goes into detail about a Cambodian cobra feast in his first autobiography. Cobra skin salad, then cobra kababs, then cobra eggs, then cobra blood, then finally the venomous sac of the cobra itself, preserved in cognac. Later novels mention dog, cat, rat, monkey brains, as well as the fine foreign foods in Miami and the hottest food known to man. After word got out about the cobra feast the Cambodians deliberately set out to offer him food repellent to Westerners in the hope of grossing him out. Marcinko boasts of being able to eat everything they served him.
  • In You Only Live Twice, James Bond objected when Tanaka offered him a plateful of something that was obviously still living. Tanaka got mildly offended, and Bond sardonically apologized, saying he'd thought it would be rude to the food to eat it alive.
  • Makes an appearance in A Song of Ice and Fire, when a slaver tries to seduce Daenerys with offers of "jellied dog's brains" and "unborn puppy on a stick" to further hammer home that it's a culture of evil! In an inversion, the slaver is grossed out by the fact that the people of Westeros eat beef.
  • The Daily Show: A part of Jon Stewart's Earth (The Book) (a guide to aliens on everything Earth-related) is devoted to foods that one culture treats as delicacy and everyone else finds revolting. The examples include haggis, hasma, balut, and MarshmallowPeeps.
  • Subverted in an Able Team novel. Carl Lyons is in Guatemala and is eating a tortilla stuffed with meat when the man with him says with a grin: "I didn't think you'd like pig guts." Carl just looks at his meal and says, "I didn't think I'd like it either" and then goes on eating.
  • Inverted in Myth Conceptions, in which Skeeve is grossed out by a strawberry milkshake, comparing the proffered drink's appearance to mud mixed with blood.
  • In Neverwhere, Anaesthesia offers Richard an alternative breakfast - cat - after eating the banana he packed for himself. ("Thigh or breast?") Later, when buying food at the floating market, Richard opts for the vegetarian curry after finding out what sort of meat the stand serves. The reader never learns this information.
  • In Count and Countess, Vlad Tepes criticizes Balkan cuisine.
  • The Child Soldiers in Someone Else's War are so neglected that their diet mostly consists of vermin that's not even necessarily dead. The Naïve Newcomer hero is initially repulsed.
  • Played with in The Alien Years by Robert Silverberg, in which a Muslim man raised in seclusion finds a hamburger he gets at a diner particularly unappetizing.
  • The kids' book How To Eat Fried Worms
  • Played with in the Dark Heavens trilogy when the Australian main character reacts with disgust at stinky bean curd, causing a Chinese character to shoot back wondering how anyone could ever possibly find cheese appetising.
  • In Larry Niven's novel, Ringworld, the ring's natives watch in undisguised horror as Luis Wu chows down on "a properly aged steak and a selection of cheeses." One of them mutters about not realizing that Wu's species (that is, humans from earth) were "carrion eaters." They then request fresh food, thanks.

    Live Action TV 
  • Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. That guy will eat anything. Except durians. Inverted for Bizarre Foods America.
  • I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! uses this trope for certain Bushtucker Trails. Hilarity Ensues.
  • This trope played straight and played with as a running gag in the sitcom Perfect Strangers.
    • Numerous times throughout the show's run Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) will often make and serve dishes from his home country of Mypos to his cousin Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker), that contain bizarre (and vomit-inducing) ingredients such as yak bile and the bladders of sheep and pigs.
    • The season three episode "Come Fly with Me" centers on this trope, as Balki and Larry's flight attendant girlfriends Jennifer and Mary Anne get sick from eating Halkidikis (coincidentally sharing an alternate spelling of a Greek peninsula), described by Balki as the "travel food of Mypos", whose primary ingredients are the standard ingredients of milk, eggs, flour and honey, and goat spleen with mold aged to the point where it developed green fur on it.
    • Inverted in the season three episode "Just Desserts" with a dessert known as the Bibi-babka, which contains typical dessert ingredients and which Larry attempts to market (though he tries to make it in such a rushed fashion that they explode because they weren't made with love and care).
      Larry: Thank you Balki, that was a delicious meal.
      (Balki opens his mouth to speak)
      Larry: Please don't ruin it by telling me what it was.
      (Balki smiles and nods silently)
  • Wilson on Home Improvement is famous for his eel pies, tadpole soup and kung pao crickets.
  • Iron Chef. The feeling is apparently mutual, as many items and dishes that looked normal to Western eyes were greeted with dismay (occasionally bordering on horror) by the commentators. And sometimes food that sounds quite appetizing to the American sushi-eater's palate will become this due to the way Japanese chefs butcher animals without killing them first, like the infamous Battle Octopus.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • Crunchy frog.
    • The Undertaker's sketch, where the options are burial, cremation, or putting her in the oven. "And if you're feeling guilty about it, sir, we can dig a hole and you can throw up into it afterwards."
  • An integral part of the Finnish travel show Madventures is trying out the squicky local cuisines, with the two hosts deciding via rock-paper-scissors on which one of them has to try it out.
    • Notable examples include leeches filled with the host's blood, monkey brain, blowfish, chicken fetus and worms.
    • Subverted when the "loser" said that fried caterpillars tasted better than potato chips and kept on snacking.
  • The infamous gagh of Star Trek. A traditional Klingon dish, it is basically live worms. There are apparently several varieties.
  • Mr. Bean: Steak Tartare ie. chopped raw meat (originally horse-meat, but nowadays usually beef) with some oil, spices and sometimes an egg.
  • Survivorman: what do you eat when you've had yourself dropped in the desert for a week? Ostrich eggs, scorpions, and millipedes. Same with Man vs. Wild.
  • The Amazing Race does this to teams Once a Season, generally in very large quantities, and the teams can't get their next clue until they eat the whole thing.
  • In an episode of Blackadder the Third, Mrs Miggins prepares "Scarlet Pimpernel Sauce" for her French customers, made by squeezing a frog. There are also "huge, suspicious-looking sausages", subverted when one of the Frenchmen comments to Blackadder that if he didn't know any better he'd think the sausage was a horse's willy. Which of course it was.
  • Happened frequently on The Beverly Hillbillies, generally with Mrs. Drsydale and her snobby friends tasting some concoction of Granny's, pronouncing it "simply divine", then being told they'd eaten possum, rattlesnake, owl, etc. Cue violent retching.
  • Richard Hammond usually suffers from this whenever Top Gear goes on an overseas trip. He wasn't interested in the snakes offered for dinner in Vietnam, and was less than pleased with the lamb brain, testicles, and entire head that were ordered in a restaurant in Syria. Almost all food is like this to Hammond who likes very plain food, or at least that's how it appears on the show. Extreme Omnivores Jeremy Clarkson and James May will usually take advantage of the situation to torment him.
  • A 1977 episode of Barney Miller had Yemana preparing shabu shabu, which he explains to Wojo is not "garbage" but a traditional Japanese delicacy, composed of fish heads, cabbage leaves, cucumber rinds and celery tops. (Then thinking about it, he says "Come to think of it, that is garbage.") At the end, Barney is forced to be the first to taste it, only to discover... it's actually pretty good. Yemana samples it himself, and sighs and shakes his head. "Must have got the recipe wrong."
  • Sesame Street: Oscar the Grouch eats food that the Normal People find yucky, such as spaghetti ice cream, clam and tuna pie with chocolate sauce, and pickle juice. This appears to be traditional Grouch cuisine, and provides An Aesop about cultural differences.
  • In Masterchef USA, the winner of a challenge got to set the theme for the next challenge, which was based around one of three European cuisines. Joe Bastianich revealed the first choice of Spanish cuisine, Graham Elliot revealed the second choice of French cuisine, and then Gordon Ramsay revealed the third and final choice of... British cuisine. Despite his attempts to talk it up, the contestant and the other two chefs glared at Ramsay with barely disguised contempt, before moving on to discuss whether Spanish or French cuisine would be the better choice.
    • In Season Four, a Mystery Box was composed of ingredients from around the world... all labeled in the languages of the places they were from, which none of the contestants could read. Several contestants stuck to the familiar-looking foods (leafy greens, yam, flank steak), some still managed to find things they recognized (Bime), still others experimented with the unfamiliar items to varying degrees of success (Jordan), and some were, understandably, hopelessly lost.
      Krissi: *spitting* I think I just ate some nasty Chinese pubic hair! (dried seaweed)
  • The Discovery Channel once gave us an episode of Flying Wild Alaska featuring Stink Flipper. Bury a seal flipper in the tundra to rot for a few weeks, dig it up again, boil, enjoy. Yum. White folks need not sample.
  • Survivor has gone here a few times. One episode featured, among other things, duck fetuses in the egg.
  • CSI NY 'Fare Game' centered on an event where diners paid high prices to eat exotic cuisine, with each day featuring different types. The victim died after the seafood day, and Danny and Flack showed up for questioning during the insect day. Danny slurps down a giant centipede when it's offered to him, and later, he brings back more of the stuff which Lindsay also eats, biting into a fried spider on a stick.
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Grissom says he puts red ants on his eggs sometimes.
  • In the British Invasion edition of America's Next Top Model, competitors were required to taste one of the dishes from the opposing team's home base (including grits, pigs' feet, marmite, and cockles). Seymone took a taste of the haggis.
  • In Not the Nine O'Clock News, survivors of an air crash in remote South American mountains are interviewed by a gently probing reporter. They were asked what they ate to keep alive in the snowy mountain wastelands in the weeks between their crash and the rescue. The survivors are reluctant to talk, as if there is some big shameful secret. Then they begin revealing fragments about the "pink squiggly stuff" and the "disgusting squicky God-awful red stuff". Eventually it turns out they'd been putting off the awful moment for as long as possible. But there was no choice. Once they'd finished off the dead bodies, the only thing left to eat was the pre-packaged airline food.
  • The Doctor Who serial "The Romans" has the TARDIS crew happily adapting to ancient Roman life. Barbara cooks supper and (mostly) wins praise from the Doctor, who you'd think might not be too surprisable about this sort of thing.
    Doctor: Wonderful feast, my dear. I don't know when I've enjoyed a meal more. What was it?
    Barbara: Well, the main course was breast of peacock.
    Ian: Delicious.
    Barbara: With an orange and juniper sauce.
    Doctor: Oh, exquisite.
    Barbara: Garnished with larks' tongues and baked pomegranates.
    Doctor: Oh, fabulous, my dear, absolutely fabulous. What was it we had before, the sort of hors d'oeuvres, so to speak?
    Vicki: That isn't its name. French isn't invented yet!
    Doctor: Tut, tut, tut, tut child. Barbara, what was it? Hmm?
    Barbara: Ant's eggs in hibiscus honey.
    Doctor: Oh, absolutely. — What did you say?
    Ian: Ant's eggs, Doctor.
    Doctor: Yes, that's what I thought she said! Ant's eggs!? What do you think I am, a goldfish, hmm?
  • Fresh Off The Boat: Main character Eddie Huang brings Taiwanese noodles to school, his classmates think that he's eating worms. After that, he demands that his mom let him bring "American lunch."
  • There was such a dish served Once per Episode on Fear Factor as a gag reflex test.
  • Daphne Moon squicks out the [[Series/Frasier Cranes]] by coming home with a large shapeless something in a bag, proclaiming that she is going to make a delicacy from home, sheep's head stew. This is Truth in Television. Lamb's head stew was not unknown in the North of England as a means of making the most of a cheap cut of meat. A cookery book dated 1905 has a recipe for sheep's head stew, pointing out how cheap and nutritious it is and therefore ideal for your domestic servants. The same recipe book states that servants from the impoverished and unsophisticated "North Country" would esteem it as a link with their home.
  • Some of the basket ingredients in Chopped are so foreign that chefs are not likely to know how to use in 30 minutes. A sample of these ingredients include stinky tofu, durian and thousand-year egg, though not necessarily in the same basket.

    Music 
  • Via William Bolcom and Joan Morris: "Lime Jell-O Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise". The title dish is actually one of the more appetizing among those described in the lyrics.
  • In Alan Menken's song "Pink Fish", the narrator, on his first visit to New York City, is confused by the people trying to get him to eat "pink fish on a big stale donut".note 

     Pinball 

    Radio 
  • A Prairie Home Companion: Garrison Keillor has opined that Lutherans of Scandinavian ancestry eat lutefisk as a form of penance. Also that the local seafood store owner prepares it in the trunk of his car since it kills all his other business if he makes it in the shop and his wife won't allow it in the house.

    Video Games 
  • Ask Left 4 Dead 2's Ellis if he's ever eaten horse before. He'll reply with something to the effect of "who ain't right in the head now?"
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Dwarves waste nothing when they butcher an animal for food, preparing and eating things like the animal's heart, eyes, brains, and stomach. They will also butcher anything that is edible and not sentient. This includes titans and forgotten beasts, if they're not made of something like glass or amethyst.
    • This can get a little weird when traders start bringing you stuff like barrels stuffed full of monarch butterfly brains.
    • Elves go one step farther and practice cannibalism.
  • The Bosmer, or Wood Elves, of The Elder Scrolls have a peculiar diet as a result of the Green Pact. As they cannot eat any form of plantlife, they've become quite skilled at cooking any form of meat, including one another as cannibalism is a key facet of their society. Perhaps their most bizarre food is an alcohol made by fermenting rotten meat.
  • In Douglas Adams's text adventure Bureaucracy, you'll end up being served some of this when on an airplane. Actually eating it will kill you, and the plane can't land until you stow your tray, and you can't stow your tray until you get rid of the food...
  • In the first Eagle Eye Mysteries game, Hot Librarian Mrs. Garcia tells you that when she was a little girl growing up in Mexico, she and her family ate iguanas as a delicacy. The protagonists are quite grossed out (especially since they have an iguana as a pet), but she assures you that it actually Tastes Like Chicken.
  • Discussed in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan: when Guybrush looks at the manatee's uvula, he says, "Mmm... manatee uvula," then pauses a bit before adding, "Eh, it's a delicacy in some cultures."
  • Subverted in Grandia II. The group comes across a town that is apparently known for Arum Root, which one of the characters had heard was a delicacy in the area. When they sit down and try it, they unanimously agree that it's disgusting. Then it turns out that the locals hate it just as much, but due to being under a curse that completely robs them of their sense of taste, it's the only thing they can stomach anymore, regardless of how revolting it is.
  • In Golden Sun games, checking out stoves in each new town can net you edible power-ups or a brief description of the local speciality. In some cases, it's quite appetizing, while in others, the hero du jour is surprised or disgusted by what's for dinner.
    "Ew! They're frying up bug larvae! It looks awful... but it smells great!"
  • The Fallout games have, by necessity, culinary treats like the (in)famous Iguana-on-a-stick and other wasteland cuisine.
  • Jade Empire features one side mission where the Spirit Monk must test their constitution by eating exotic meals made by a foreign chef. Each round of eating drains one's health, chi or spirit meters, so if you lose too much, you die.
  • World of Warcraft has all sorts of dishes, which can be fairly normal like boar meat, or roasted quail, to more exotic but still looking edible, like bat wings, bear burgers or crunchy serpent. Then you get dishes everyone seems to look at with disgust like Sewer Carp, Mud Pie (made with dirt and coyote tails) or anything cooked by the chefs in Undercity (with the exception of the thrice-spiced cockroach stew, which is apparently surprisingly delicious).
  • The Krogan from Mass Effect are usually willing to eat just about anything. But none of them are willing to touch Ramen with a ten foot pole.
    Grunt: "It looks like worms... dead ones. You mean you people actually eat that stuff?"

    Webcomics 
  • Cinema Bums features a holiday strip where Mr. Hereford tries to convert the concession stand to seasonal fare, sacrificing the appeal of dishes in the process.
  • Harkovast runs into this when Sir Miur and Chen-chen visit Shogun and he offers them Tsung-dao food, which consists of rice and beetles.
  • Schlock Mercenary has a space station-mall whose food court sells huitlacoche. They also sell fermented soybeans or "natto". The house speciality is both together. It's corn smut + natto. It's Smutto!
    Schlock: ...And you automatically serve this to someone who orders number two?
  • The Order of the Stick: Elan is rather put off his appetite on learning that a delicacy in the Empire of Blood is phoenix pate. Since phoenixes explode when they die, the liver has to be cut out while they're still alive. He decides to wait for the main course, which is unicorn flank. Both of these creatures in Dungeons & Dragons are good aligned, and are smarter than most humans.
  • Halflings certainly enjoy...interesting kinds of food In Our Little Adventure.
  • When Thaco of Goblins procures some food from the human city, the other goblins refuse to eat any of the bread or cheese, complaining that they can't tell whether these mysterious foodstuffs are plant or animal.
  • Scandinavia and the World:
    • Iceland complains about Sweden and Norway's surstromming (fermented herring; "Wait, isn't 'fermented' pretty much the same as 'rotten'?") Denmark thinks he's found a kindred spirit until Iceland continues; "Rotten fish is for pussies! I only eat rotten, poisonous shark that has been buried for twelve weeks!" The writer put a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer in the notes; hakarl is a genuine Icelandic dish made from shark which has been buried for some time.
    • King Europe is not fond of mämmi, to Åland’s dismay.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, everyone loves the cookies Grim's aunt makes, which sold enough to win them the award for their scout troop. When accepting the award, Grim's aunt tells them the recipe has nightcrawlers, mashed crickets, and dung beetles in it. Everyone pauses for a couple seconds to look at the still squirming bugs in the treats...before they all just continue eating. One of them passes out, only to spring up a second later and say:
    Troop Leader: Man, those are good cookies!
  • Rolf in Ed, Edd n Eddy is partial to dishes like this, such as stuffed pig's head, which according to him is "a favorite of my country."
  • Samurai Jack:
    • Jack visits the Scotsman's home (not Scotland itself) and is offered haggis. They even use some of the same lines as the Highlander quote above.
    • Subverted when Jack gets offered some food by an alien race and, upon seeing it, is delighted to have sushi and sashimi which he is very used to. The aliens look on with startled amazement that anyone else would eat it.
  • Justice League: Hawkgirl, an alien from Thanagar, enjoys human foods that are every bit as gross as her Alien Lunches.
    Hawkgirl: But after we're done, let's gets some take-out from that Chinese place near your apartment.
    Green Lantern: Great. But this time, no eel heads.
    Hawkgirl: Lightweight.
  • Aside from being a borderline Lethal Chef due to some... unique taste buds, Starfire from Teen Titans was strange in enjoying human food, never once balking at an Earth dish no matter where it was from or what it contained. She also thought that mustard was a "refreshing drink".
  • Used in The Simpsons with Groundskeeper Willie trying to sell haggis at a school fair. There were no stalls anywhere near his.
    Willie: Haggis! Get yer Haggis! Heart 'n lungs boiled in a wee sheep's stomach! Tastes as good as it sounds!
  • The Weekenders: Carver falls victim to this when he scarfs down a large amount of a foreign dish Tish's parents made, only to later find out that it was stuffed with ostrich meat. Carver is shocked and then disgusted, and Tino can only gasp, "JIMMY!"
  • From an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast,
    Space Ghost: Speaking of strange mixes, you know what I had for breakfast this morning? A sausage and mayonnaise soup with a cream of corn omelette, some milk I left out in the sun for a week, and some fuzzy bread.
    Moltar: I'm gonna be sick! <Bleeaaaargh!>
    Space Ghost: Moltar! Damage report!
    Moltar: I just hurled in my helmet!
  • Used in the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender when the Gaang runs into Sokka and Katara's father's friend, Bato, who makes them stewed sea prunes to Aang's eternal disgust. In the third season, Hama makes ocean kumquats, an equally-gross substitute using ingredients available in the Fire Nation. In the Foggy Swamp, the local waterbenders treated the Gaang to a fine meal of giant roasted bug. Sokka was hungry enough that he didn't care that he was eating a giant roach.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, original cartoon: In a scene that establishes her as probably not an actual New Yorker, April O'Neil considers the pizza offered by the turtles — which includes toppings such as whipped cream, ice cream/pepperoni, and peanut butter/anchovies — marginally more palatable than...sushi.
  • Kim Possible is not a fan of this trope. Throughout the series her brain surgeon mother makes meatloaf made to look like brains, declines an offer for squirrel stew and nearly throws up when told about the various bugs that are considered a delicacy. Ron has his own moments, such as the time he ate some chips and found out that they'd been made from crickets.
  • One episode of Johnny Bravo had him and Momma visit Scotland, where he purchased a haggis without knowing what goes into it. The smell attracts the Loch Ness Monster, and Johnny fights to protect his food. When he's finally told what haggis is (by William Wallace), he says "Eeeew!" and gladly gives it to Nessie, who decides he likes Johnny.
  • A Running Gag in Earthworm Jim was Peter Puppy's almost catatonia-inducing revulsion and horror over the content of your average haggis.
  • Subverted on Kick Buttowski where everyone are practically in love with Scandinavian cooking, no matter what it is.
  • Hey Arnold! had Helga throwing up after ordering calf brain and eggs at a french restaurant.
  • The diner in The Emperor's New Groove features giant steamed pillbugs: you smack them with a straw to get them to uncurl, then suck up the innards. Kuzco runs off and barfs after seeing this process.
  • In an episode of The Wild Thornberrys, the Thornberry family, who are in South America, are eating capybara burgers. Debbie enjoys the burger, until her father Nigel informs her that capybaras are giant rodents. On top of that, a capybara walks by the table where they are eating.
  • In the Simpsons episode "Helter Shelter," the family meets a group of reality show contestants in the wilderness. The group was abandoned there when one of the contestants "just couldn't eat anymore kangaroo testicles." Now, he can't get enough of them.
  • One episode of Timon & Pumbaa had the titular duo create their own salsa out of bugs. The recipe becomes extremely popular and they're immediately put into the spotlight. Aware of the Squicktacular response that would come if the main ingredients become known to the public, Timon has Pumbaa swear to keep the secret to themselves and tell no one about it. Lo and behold, during a televised interview, Pumbaa (incapable of lying any longer) screams out the true nature of the salsa, causing everyone eating the salsa at the moment to spit the contents out in disgust, and their fame is gone almost overnight.
  • In the Oggy and the Cockroaches episode "Roachy Redneck", Kustl, the cockroaches' redneck cousin, brings along his specialty cheese recipe. It's moldy, has worms crawling in it, and knocks out his cousins with one sniff, while he eats it no problem. It also ends up having very strong plant-growing properties, much to the delight of Oggy.


It's a cookbook! IT'S A COOKBOOK!!


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