Humanity is often depicted as being quite far behind and unadvanced compared to the civilizations of other worlds. We've barely touched upon space travel, crippled by many debilitating diseases, and still succumb to waging war among ourselves. What could us Puny Earthlings possibly offer to more evolved lifeforms?
Well if there's one thing that humanity has consistently used to impress other species, is our amazing ability to cook. Technologically advanced aliens will obsess over simple foods and in some cases might trade their sophisticated gear for these delicacies. For all our shortcomings, the Earth is of value thanks to its tremendous culinary feats.
In some cases, this can be justified as a result of Alien Catnip, where some chemical in human food is literally addictive to a non-human. Despite the title, the species in question doesn't necessarily have to be extraterrestrial and can even be natives to Earth.
Subtrope of Humans Are Special. See also No Biochemical Barriers, which naturally has to be in effect for this trope to be even possible. Compare Alien Arts Are Appreciated, specifically culinary arts. For when the "human" in "human food" is literal, see To Serve Man.
- Pizza Hut once ran a 2017 campaign that had a green alien homesick and stranded on Earth gloating about their pizza.
- The Catians in Cat Planet Cuties take the many delicious foods that Earthlings make as a significant factor for establishing diplomatic relations. The anime is filled with Food Porn of the many dishes that Eris and the others go crazy over.
- In Cooking With Wild Game, Tsurumi Asuta, the proud heir to a family diner, is transported to another world while trying to retrieve his father's prized knife when the diner was set ablaze. He soon finds that the people living in Forest Edge have it ingrained in their culture that cooking is "unnecessary work", which makes Tsurumi's cooking Impossibly Delicious Food to them.
- In Death Note, Light discovers that Ryuk deeply loves apples. It's unclear if all Shinigami are like this, or just Ryuk. Nonetheless in Ryuk's case it borderlines on being addiction and when deprived he experiences withdrawal symptoms.
- In Dragon Ball Super it's a Running Gag for Beerus and Whis to be amazed by Earth's food. This is really saying something considering that Beerus is a gourmand who has spent lifetimes traveled from planet to planet demanding the best food from the inhabitants, so for him to class Earth as his favorite really is putting it at the best of the best. The two of them are willing to make trip after trip to sample something tasty. Beerus can also easily be bribed into not destroying the Earth if given something new to try. In fact, during Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods the fate of the Earth was at stake simply because Beerus missed out on the chance to try a pudding cup.
- When the the title character Goblin Slayer has his first camping night with his newfound party, the group trade their respective races' native foods. Goblin Slayer offers cheese, and Lizard Priest absolutely loves it, calling it "nectar" and often asking for more in later episodes. He even swears to visit even more wrath upon the Goblins (whom he was already more than willing to hunt down) later on when Cow Girl's farm (which is also Goblin Slayer's home) is threatened by a huge Goblin raid and Goblin Slayer tells him that that's where he gets the cheese that he's been giving him.
- In Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, while most dragons are Big Eaters who enjoy any food both dragon or human-made, Elma holds it in particular high regard and can be easily bribed with it. It's also stated in an early chapter that produce found on Earth is superior to that found in the other world (discounting those of the supernatural variety) due to selective breeding.
- In Plus-Sized Elf, the entire plot revolves around the fact that several fantasy creatures have adopted a human diet, especially junk food.
- Restaurant to Another World revolves around a restaurant in a High Fantasy world that is managed by human chef Tenshu. Although it opens everyday in a human town, on all Saturdays appears a Portal Door in a random place where different creature races (from elves and dwarfs to dragons and demons) can go to eat human food, which they find delicious.
- 3×3 Eyes: Pai/Parvati, despite being an extradimensional demon, adores human foods and treats, such as potato chips, sweets, cakes, chinese food, pizza, sushi and even more. Much later in the manga, Token Mini-Moe demoness Wu Gui laments the lack of avaible human food after the destruction of Tokyo.
- Ushio and Tora: As a Youkai, Tora is normally used to devour humans as many Youkai do, either whole or specific bodyparts such as intestines, brains or souls, but after the Gamin-Sama arc he developed a taste for Hamburgers of all types.
- There was once a story in which Galactus got hooked on Twinkies and gave up eating planets in favor of them. He even made Aunt May his Herald to find more. Fortunately, it just turned out to be Peter having an Acid Reflux Nightmare.
- Martian Manhunter develops an addiction to Chocosnote some time after he visits Earth. At one point it got so bad that after being deprived of them he goes into withdrawal and throws a tantrum as a rampaging monster. Unlike most examples, this one is actually justified as Batman discovers Chocos produce a chemical reaction in Martians similar to addictive narcotics.
- Venom and other symbiotes have a huge craving for chocolate. This one is justified as symbiotes require phenethylamine to survive which can be found in either chocolate or brains.
- Downplayed in Space Battle Lunchtime by Natalie Riess. Peony, the human, comes second place in the interplanetary cooking competition (and it's implied she may have won had the winner not cheated), but the other alien contestants are shown to be competent and skilled chefs.
- One issue of Spider-Man had Firelord, an ex-herald of Galactus, come to Earth just because he had a craving for some New York pizza.
- In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda starts eating Luke's rations when they first meet.
- In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the titular E.T. seems to enjoy the Reese's Pieces that Elliot lays out for him.
- K-PAX: One side quip by proclaimed extraterrestrial prot has him proclaim admiration for Earth's vegetables. "Your produce alone is worth the trip."
- The aliens in Mac and Me love Coca-Cola and Skittles.
- Thor from the Marvel Cinematic Universe develops quite a fondness for the Midgardian beverages. When he first arrives on Earth, he declares he likes coffee, while in his later years he's shown to have developed a fondness for beer.
- Martin from My Favorite Martian adores ice cream and eats copious amounts of it whenever he is able to.
- In Animorphs, if there's one thing that can make an Andalite go out of control, it's letting them try out human food while they have taken human form. Human-morphed Andalites will lose all self-control over the simplest of treats like sweets, chocolate, and buns. This is justified as in their native forms, Andalites do not have a sense of taste in the traditional mannernote so upon taking human form they experience Sensory Overload and are overwhelmed by their new form's instincts. Ax once daydreams of a future where there would be a day each year when Andalites all morphed into humans and spent their time stuffing their faces with "Earth delicacies". Once the Andalites and Earth establish diplomatic relations, Andalite tourists rush to try tasting food for the first time. Cinnabon, in particular, find themselves doing very brisk business.
- In Battlefield Earth, it's not just human chefs but specifically Chinese chefs whose cooking gets rave reviews from various alien species.
- Confederation of Valor: The H'san, one of the oldest races in the Confederation, reputedly really like cheese, which is an invention unique to humans.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent eventually settles down on an alien planet for a few years, where he introduces the sandwich and becomes renowned as a sandwich maker.
- In Hostess, Dr. Tholan remarks that his planet has nothing like Earth tomatoes.
- In Keys to the Kingdom, despite the House being the epicenter of the universe, the Denizens are infatuated with simple Earth food such as tea. This is justified in that people do not actually need to eat in the House and only do so for entertainment, making the consumption of food all the more rarer.
- In Daniel Pinkwater's Slaves of Spiegel, the Spiegelians, a race of fat, food-loving space pirates, hold a cooking contest to determine who is the best chef in the galaxy. Out of thousands of planets, they choose the earthling Steve Nicholson as one of three contestants, eliminating many other civilizations in the preliminary selection process. Steve ends up coming in second place, while the winner gets the honor of becoming the Spiegelians' in-home chef for all eternity.
- In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, in which reptoid aliens called the Race invade Earth during World War II, this winds up being a critical weakness of the Race: namely, the fact that ginger, a common human spice, has a powerful narcotic effect on the Race that reduces their fighting effectiveness and is later discovered to disrupt the Race's mating cycles once the colony ships arrive. Humanity soon learns to weaponize ginger once the Race bans it in the territories they control, through means ranging from ginger smuggling to missile warheads filled with powdered ginger.
- Young Wizards: It turns out that UFO sightings are because Earth is the only planet to have invented chocolate.
- Doctor Who:
- While humans are by no means the only race with exceptional culinary feats, there are certain foods that are distinguished enough to be exclusively human-made, including tea and chips. The Doctor himself is quite obsessed with Earth food, with various regenerations having a different Trademark Favorite Food.
- "The Empty Child":
The Doctor: Know how long you can travel without bumping into Earth?
Rose: Four days? Or is that just when we're out of milk?
The Doctor: Of all the species in the universe, it has to come out of a cow.
- According to the Doctor, humans are the only species to invent "edible ball bearings".
- Farscape: Inverted and played for laughs. Moya's crew is getting together to share a meal, everyone having made something from their home. Chrichton makes his grandma's biscuits, and. . . well, they aren't very good. When he's asked what's in them, he gives the list of ingredients, only to be told none of those things exist on the ship. To which Chrichton nonchalantly replies that's probably the reason his biscuits suck. In a later episode where the crew stops by Earth this gets played straight; human junk food with high amounts of salt sugar and fat is especially appreciated. Rygel in particular remarks that on other worlds sugar is used as a poison, and when he first encountered it in food he got such a sugar high that he assumed it must be an illegal drug.
- In Guest from the Future, Big Eater Jolly U is absolutely delighted with Earth food in the 20th century, his obsesssion with kefir (a fermented milk drink) especially rising to a memetic level. Rat, the skinnier one of the two, berates him for never stopping eating.
- In Stargate SG-1, the Goa'uld Nerus finds Earth food delicious, something General Landry makes sure to use to his advantage when getting information out of him.
- On the other hand, Teal'c finds milk extremely disgusting. When Samantha suggests he drink some warm milk when he has trouble entering Kelno'reem, he responds thusly:
Teal'c: I would prefer not to consume bovine lactose at any temperature.
- On the other hand, Teal'c finds milk extremely disgusting. When Samantha suggests he drink some warm milk when he has trouble entering Kelno'reem, he responds thusly:
- Star Trek:
- In Deep Space Nine, root beer winds up becoming one of the more popular beverages among the alien clientele at Quark's. It's occasionally used as a metaphor for how human culture is slowly dominating the cultures of aliens that ally with the Federation. Played with in that it's explicitly an acquired taste; on first taste they think it's utterly disgusting.
- On The Next Generation, Worf's favorite drink is prune juice, a far cry from the bloodwine preferred by other Klingons. On the other hand, one of the Expanded Universe novels mentions that prune juice became a major export to the Klingon Empire after the Dominion War.
- On Enterprise, Phlox is always eager to sample human food like blueberry pancakes, egg-drop soup, etc.
- In Supernatural, Death has a particularly strong craving for human food, especially junk food. His reasons for saving Chicago was due to being fond of its pizza. Dean even once tries to use Food as Bribe to appease him.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: After Alex wishes that the family substation would turn into her dad's favorite old milkshake bar known as "The Asteroid Belt", a group of aliens decide to visit the restaurant because they believe that the "Milky Way Milkshake" is the best milkshake in the universe, and they are willing to attack over the machine.
- In Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, it's revealed humanity's place in the galaxy is almost entirely based on this. Many people loved frozen, flavored water. Putting it on sticks? That was a new invention.
- Sam & Fuzzy: The Robots, while not strictly speaking alien since they were made on Earth, still fits this trope as an insular, alien species with it's own civilization, being a race of self-aware machines. Despite being generally condescending towards humans, and other humanoid species, many of them are fascinated with human culture, especially food, and some of them have even begun selling illegal technology just so they can indulge in it. The Robots lack any real creative food on their own (a robot chef had to study for ten years just to realize she could shape her flavorless food paste into geometric shapes), because as mechanical beings, they suffer somewhat from Creative Sterility, not helped by their lack of biological drives and their society having to build everything from scratch. They can taste perfectly well, but there's no reason for them to want to.
- In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, this version of Martian Manhunter is shown to have a cookie addiction and is often seen eating from a box he carries. He is also very proud of the human-style pie that he himself cooked and holds it in high regard.
- Ben 10:
- Played with in regards to Max Tennyson who has a Bizarre Taste in Food by human standards, but is an exceptional chef by alien standards. Rook even praises Max's knowledge and skill with alien cuisines.
- Albedo, Ben's Evil Twin, who was once a Galvan, finds himself craving chili fries upon taking on the form of a teenage human boy. However unlike his genetic template, Albedo's obsession with chili fries verges on addiction.
- "Fool's Gold" revealed a town famous for making popcorn which was so renowned that every year a species of alien would send their boys to go there on Spring Break and in turn the aliens would leave behind Solid Gold Poop for the town.
- Inverted by the Gourmands, a species of Extreme Omnivores who can eat literally anything except human food.
- Averted with Ultimos of the Galactic Enforcers, who politely samples a chocolate bar Ben offers him...and ends up temporarily poisoned in the next scene.
- The titular characters of Biker Mice from Mars loved hot dogs and root beer. They ate pretty much nothing but hot dogs and root beer, in fact. Charlie once pointed out how gross it was for them to want hot dogs and root beer at eight o'clock in the morning.
- DuckTales (2017): Scrooge and his family find a civilization of Ancient Egyptians living inside a pyramid, who develop an appetite for burritos and overthrow their Nepharious Pharaoh so that they can get more of it.
- Dr. Zoidberg and his species became infatuated with Earth food upon arriving on the planet, especially to anchovies, which eventually led to the extinction of said species after overeating. Zoidberg himself appears to have an addiction to the fish and upon trying a few he displays the telltale behavior of a drug addict having a relapse.
- Played with in regards to Elzar, who is deemed the Earth's greatest Supreme Chef but is actually a Neptunian. He is an expert cook in all forms of cuisines, human or alien.
- Earth is generally treated as a backwater joke of a planet by most alien races, but humans are held in high regard even by the ridiculously advanced and powerful Nibblonians for inventing the pizza bagel, which is universally considered delicious.
- Played with and averted in Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Kilowog at first seems curious about what cheese is when seeing Hal's cheese sandwich. But once Aya explains it's a byproduct of cows, Kilowog becomes disgusted and tells Hal to eat it in a closet away from him.
- Invader Zim: Zim is disgusted (or in some cases, outright allergic to/hurt by) Earth food... with the exception of waffles. In fact, one episode is built around him just having breakfast, and he seems to greatly enjoy the waffles GIR makes for him.
- Marcianos vs. Mexicanos: The Marcianos really love Mexican food. The humans who are shown cooking or preparing such food, including El Chacas' mom also turn out to be Lethal Chefs to the Marcianos.
- Megas XLR Kiva quickly comes to appreciate junk food like slushies, burgers, and chips thanks to coming from the future where all she had was bland food cubes.
- The Powerpuff Girls (2016): An alien brings his warfleet to Earth and tells the girls he will destroy the planet unless they make him the best culinary dish their planet has to offer. The girls fail to find the ingredients specified for the recipe they are using, so improvise with ingredients found in their cupboard. Convinced they have failed in their task, the alien leader is very pleased with the dish they provided, as he's never tasted anything like it.
- Ready Jet Go!: To say that Jet loves human food is an understatement. He's obsessed with it, especially when it comes to donuts and pies.