A group of friends are out on a hunt in search for buried treasure. At last, after days of excursion, they arrive at the spot marked on their Treasure Map 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. Especially if one happens to be a Big Eater.
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. Not to be confused with Edible Collectible, which is when food is an arbitrary collectible or bonus point-granting item in a video game. Not related to Tasty Gold besides being about treasure.
- 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 archaeologists uncover a chest full of a lost treasure made out of the oatmeal, but a kid walks in and eats it all. The archaeologists lament how fast they lost the treasure.
- In Delicious in Dungeon, Team Touden come across a chest of what they think is treasure, but actually turns out to be treasure bugs. Their Supreme Chef is happy to make them into a meal.
- 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), is 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.
- Episode 9 of season 2 of Strike Witches has Perrine trying to find a treasure in the underground cavern of the base the Strike Witches are residing, only to find out that the treasure is just a herb garden. She points out that the spices were probably worth a fortune back then, but are nothing special anymore.
- 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.)
- One story arc in Lee Falk's The Phantom has the children, Kit and Heloise, unearth a treasure chest. When opened, the contents are found to be common kitchen spices. At the time the chest was buried, however, such spices were uncommon, and often as valuable as gold.
- 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.
- In Pocahontas, the English are in search of gold in the New World. When John Smith describes it as something yellow that comes out of the ground, Pocahontas quickly affirms that they do have that, and hands him an ear of corn.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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, and Yukari considers it being a victory, as Lunarians cannot get the sake back once they drink it.
- In the epilogue of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, Professor Frankly finds a treasure chest in the titular door that contains... a dried mushroom. This isn't entirely worthless to Frankly on an archaeological standpoint, because this proves that the people of the ancient city ate mushrooms a thousand years ago.
- An episode of Scooby-Doo has the gang looking for a special buried treasure that is being sought 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 Numbuh Five continues her everlasting quest to satisfy her Sweet Tooth.
- The Smurfs episode "Spelunking Smurfs" has 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 use Vanity's mirrors to reflect the sunlight unto the diamond so that the food would be unfrozen, but it also unfreezes the ogre, who tries to stop the Smurfs from taking his food. When Papa Smurf reminds him of what the diamond did to him the last time he was selfish, the ogre allows them to take what they need along with the diamond. Soon after, Gargamel catches the Smurfs and takes the diamond from the Smurfs, and because of his selfish heart, the diamond seals up Gargamel in ice.
- The Ren & Stimpy Show: Ren and Stimpy have jobs as guard at the Lincoln Memorial and hear Lincoln's head is full of treasure. They break it open and find it's filled with... caramel corn.
- In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode "Raise the Oozy Scab", Jimmy and his friends complete a school project by going in a submarine to find the lost treasure of a sunken ship. When they find the treasure, it turns out to be filled with salt water taffy, much to Jimmy's dismay. But at least they got an A+.
- 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.