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Exotic Entree

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"Some delicacies are not to be savored, save by the callous."
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So a character relishes the outcomes of their evil actions. Maybe they stew in their own evil juices. Perhaps they are the kind that has a menu of dastardly deeds to choose from, or maybe they've just got a select few on speed dial to take-out.

I'm hungry. We got anything eeeeeevil to eat? Yes, Reptiles Are Abhorrent, but that's just for a pet. Or my Final Form. There's no evil animals? Damn, I'll have to do the next best thing: eat something that makes me more evil for even thinking it.

Bad people thus eat the meat of exotic animals, especially those that are endangered. The concept is generally that they are so heartless, they would help a species go extinct or sink their teeth into something that's generally considered a rare beauty when they could just as easily get some chips. Fridge Logic issues as to how they'd know how to cook an exotic animal they'd never tried before, or that it wouldn't taste like crap, seldom come up.

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Or maybe not necessarily something endangered: perhaps the animal in question is just generally regarded as beautiful or adorable (a Right-Hand Cat may fall victim into this, especially if they lost their usefulness). Alternatively, the dish to prepare it requires some form of twisted, sadistic torture and suffering to the animal, that the very idea of eating such a dish comes off as downright evil.

Since different cultures and ethnic groups have different food cultures and food taboos, this trope is often invoked in propaganda to either lampoon or demonize opposing groups.

Overlaps quite nicely with the Evil Poacher, and is often the meal of the Card-Carrying Villain. For the clothing equivalent, see Fur and Loathing. If the exotic animals are consumed because they get people high and/or confer special powers to the eater, that's Mainlining the Monster. Related to Haute Cuisine Is Weird.

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Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Blade of the Immortal: Played straight with Rin's poor dog.
  • Wolf's Rain: It occurs when Jaguara dines on wolf meat seemingly for the sole purpose of torturing Cheza.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has the Feast of the Unicorn from the Homelands set. The flavor text says it all:
    Autumn Willow: Could there be a fouler act? No doubt the Baron knows of one.
    Baron Sengir: Some delicacies are not to be savored, save by the callous.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin (1993) villain Jaeger makes money off recording himself hunting creatures and individuals who are the Last of Their Kind and it's implied he sells their bodies afterwards to members of his twisted audience for consumption or whatever other uses they might want them for.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: The main character was once temporarily transferred to Marketing, which appears to be a 24-7 Toga party. Lunch that day is barbecued unicorn.
    Dilbert: (staring at the unicorn horn on a bun) I don't think this is really the "best part".

    Fan Works 
  • Prehistoric Park: Returned from Extinction: Inverted in Chapter 171 when Elise and Sean eat a red lionfish to help the environment (Red Lionfish are native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but have become an invasive species in the Caribbean, where the story takes place). There is a campaign in Real Life to do this, since the venomous fish have few predators and can have their spines removed to make them edible.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live Action 
  • The Protector has the bad guys running a restaurant with meals like this. When they served the main character's elephant as a main course, that went a bit too far. Sending him the bill didn't help...
  • In the film The Freshman (1990) with Matthew Broderick and Marlon Brando, the evil, jaded rich people regularly dined on endangered animals as a thrill. Or at least, they thought what they were eating were endangered animals; turns out that although the exotic creatures are displayed alive before the diners prior to each banquet, it's plain ol' chicken that actually gets cooked.
  • From the Disney version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea comes the following:
    Captain Nemo: Eat your pudding, Mr. Land.
    Ned Land: I ain't sure it's puddin'.
    (Ned cautiously samples his "pudding" and seems to enjoy it)
    Ned Land: What is it?
    Captain Nemo: It's my own recipe: sauté of unborn octopus.
    • Subverted a bit here, as Nemo is more of an egomaniac than actually evil, and the original story makes it quite clear that Nemo's whole point with the odd meal is that there's no real need for land-based farming, as the sea is perfectly capable of supplying good-tasting and nutritious food.
    • Also subverted in the novel, in which the Nautilus crew collect milk from a whale for their own consumption, but one that they found freshly-dead rather than killed themselves.
  • David Lynch's Dune (1984) had an inexplicable throwaway scene of Rabban crushing a live mouse in a small device and then drinking the resulting mess with a straw. Yes, the man is generally referred to as "The Beast Rabban", but still.... subtle, Lynch.
  • In the original Journey to the Center of the Earth, it's not until the villain eats his beloved pet duck Gertrude that Hans musters enough outrage to fight the man.
  • In Faces of Death IV, a Vietnamese family is shown butchering(alive) and cooking a puppy.
  • In Theatre of Blood, where a Shakespearean ham murders his critics according to the play, one Camp Gay critic with two beloved poodles has a murder with a Titus Andronicus theme. Take a guess what's in the pies they force feed him.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the guests at Pankot Palace are served strange delicacies, such as live snakes, insects, eyeballs, and monkey brains. This is somewhat foreshadowing the fact that most people in the palace (save for Indy and his sidekicks) are members of the Thuggee cult.

    Literature 
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, Damon Kronski acquires a slab of glacial ice that has the last specimens of an extinct species of fish frozen inside it, just so he can serve the fish to guests at a conference he's hosting for The Extinctionists.
  • The unnamed crazy gluttonous Patrician in The Colour of Magic dined on candied jellyfish. He almost exactly matches later descriptions of Mad Lord Snapcase, Vetinari's predecessor, and in fandom's consensus is Snapcase, though Word of God says it was Vetinari. He might've indeed been the original Pratchett's image of Vetinari, but it's evident that the character was heavily retooled for the Watch subseries. Apparently, the original fat and crazy Patrician lost the Vetinari name and became Mad Lord Snapcase, while Vetinari became the Magnificent Bastard we all know and love. Downplayed in this case, since jellyfish is not endangered, nor is it exotic in some places on Earth; jellyfish salad is a common hors d'oeuvre in Chinese cuisine, and jellyfish biomass is species-wise comparable with true fish.
  • Hagrid comments that in the Harry Potter-verse, only the evil or desperate harm or eat a Unicorn. Voldemort had his reasons, but the implication is that others had done it too.
    • His own cooking may not be evil, but it still seems somewhat strange (stoat sandwiches, anyone?). Of course, that may be because of his giant side.
  • Scott Adam's Clues for the Clueness: Dogbert's Big Book of Manners has a sort of nonvillainous example (Dogbert's evil but Dilbert isn't): According to Dogbert, it's customary to order the most expensive entrees when ordering a meal on your company's tab.
    Dogbert: I'll have the endangered species kabob.
    Dilbert: I'll have the Bigfoot sirloin grilled over moonrocks.
  • One The Destroyer book featured an authentic dinosaur. The Corrupt Corporate Executive who organized its capture and transport to America planned to use it for an "Authentic dino burger" marketing scheme. Admittedly the majority of the "authentic" burgers would be fake, but they did honestly plan to make processed meat out of the zoological find of the century. Remo killed them.
  • In the Narnia book The Silver Chair, it is discovered that the venison served at the table of the "Friendly Giants" came from a Talking Stag. The author notes that for anyone of Narnian culture, this is the equivalent of cannibalism. If that weren't enough, the characters later find out they are on the menu for the following night.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel St. Anthony's Fire, the Big Bad offers the Doctor candied baby cheeks. After torturing a kitten in an earlier scene.
    • Kind of played with in The Infinity Doctors: The Big Bad mocks the Doctor for sticking to vegetarianism in a world created by the minds of the inhabitants by offering him minotaur steak and dragon soup. The Doctor feels this is missing the point.
  • A Batman short story has Batman and Penguin united in putting a stop to a club where rich people eat endangered birds.
  • In Oryx and Crake and the companion novel The Year of the Flood, there is a restaurant called Rarity which is supposedly named that because they have the right sanitary practices to serve rare meat, but in fact have a back-room business in the meat of endangered or extinct animals.
  • Simon R. Green:
    • Rick's, a restaurant in the Nightside, specializing in meals made from extinct or imaginary animals. Not as bad as most examples, as the Nightside is a nexus for hundreds of alternate and fantastic worlds, so Rick can presumably procure his meats from worlds where the animals in question are abundant.
    • The Droods' kitchens offer a bewildering selection of foods, whether foreign or fantastical, and some are more than a little disturbing. The winged unicorns from the family stables get butchered for meat once they die of natural causes, and some meat dishes are temporarily animated as zombies so they can march onto the diners' plates all by themselves. (Eddie does admit that part's not to everyone's taste.) The Droods aren't exactly evil, but they are definitely not sentimental or squeamish.
  • The Neil Gaiman short story "Sunbird" follows a society of epicureans that pursues only the rarest meals. They don't seem to delight in suffering but do take pride in the fact that they may be eating something right off the face of the earth. Trying to sample phoenix doesn't go as they expect...
  • Clark Ashton Smith used these to highlight the loathsome decadence of some villains. In "The Dark Eidolon", the Evil Sorcerer Namirrha invites his King to a feast where he serves wine that was looted from royal tombs and boar that was fed on flesh from torture victims. Since the whole Nasty Party is a Revenge plot to terrify and ultimately murder everyone present, the awfulness is probably intentional.
  • The children's book Dragon Stew by Tom McGowen revolves around a lazy but clever lad's lie to a food-obsessed king that he can prepare a dish the king has never had before, the namesake stew. Then the king's knights bring in a live dragon so he can do so...

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Angel episode, "Unleashed", the villains are a club who like to dine on werewolves. Note that every werewolf is a human with a curse, and the curse dissipates (returning the werewolf to human form) when the werewolf dies.
  • The Defenders (2017). Murakami is introduced removing the organs from a moon bear (an endangered species) presumably for traditional medicine. To his credit, he was at least willing to risk his immortal life killing it.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has a character with an animal smuggling ring, whose members ate several of the animals. The first animal shown prepared definitely didn't get a Gory Discretion Shot.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Out of Time", the crew's evil future selves use their time machine to travel through history, eating delicacies like dolphin sweetmeats and baby seal hearts with hosts such as Louis XVI and Adolf Hitler.
  • The Goodies: In "Dodonuts", Bill attempts to stop Tim and Graeme from hunting and eating the last dodo. They're with the Endangered Species Club, and assure Bill that they always eat whatever they shoot so it doesn't go to waste. In fact, they don't eat anything they don't shoot first, which they prove by shooting a biscuit before eating it.
  • In the Supernatural season 9 episode "Dog Dean Afternoon", a chef has learned hoodoo and uses it to eat animal parts and take on their powers, in an effort to stave off lung cancer. Of course, he gets eaten alive by dogs by the end of the episode.
  • Hannibal:
    • In "Ko No Mono", Hannibal and Will eat ortolan (a protected species, prepared by drowning the live bird in brandy before roasting) while discussing their shared Humanitarian interests.
    • Hannibal occasionally uses these as a creative break from feeding people exquisitely prepared human flesh. In one case, he treats a man to escargot... made from snails that he'd fattened on meat from the man's own arm.
  • In Altered Carbon episode "In a Lonely Place", the super-wealthy Bancrofts are serving a whole tiger as an appetizer during a Fancy Dinner at their estate.
  • One episode of Drake & Josh had the antagonist be a guy who ate rare animals. In the episode itself he tries to eat a chimp the boys buy on a lark, and apparently actually went to prison for it in the past.
  • Star Trek: Discovery shows that the Mirror Universe elites eat Kelpians.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: The Big Bad of the two part "Year of Hell" serves a meal to his prisoners that is made up of dishes which were all taken from civilizations that he erased from history with his super weapon.
  • Succession includes a scene where Tom and Greg, relative newcomers to the billionaire Roys (Greg is a "new hire" cousin, Tom is daughter Shiv's fiance), enjoy the expensive and illegal dish ortolannote , signifying how enamored Tom is with the privilege being rich gives him.

    Music 
  • In The Capitol Steps' "Loonies of the Right," Bob Dole sings:
    How we love the endangered spotted owl
    In a cream sauce, it's a tasty little fowl

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Arduin Grimoire IV (The Lost Grimoire): Dirty Dorg's restaurant (a haven for evil creatures) has a menu featuring the meat of various monsters, including those of good-aligned creatures such as unicorn and hobbit.
  • One old Dungeons & Dragons supplement full of many very short adventures included one in which the source of steaks being served at a newly-popular inn turns out to be either unicorns or purple worms, depending on the DM's preferences. The latter aren't sentient, but they were "harvested" by sawing segments off the rear ends of still-living worms.
    • Late in the 3rd edition adventure path Age of Worms, the party finds itself having to attend a feast held by Prince Zeech, where the main course is two roast centaur zombies (for context, zombies aren't sapient, but the magic animating them is inherently evil, and the centaurs that were killed and reanimated were most definitely intelligent beings and very likely good-aligned).
  • It's not unheard of for the more extreme members of Ashwood Abbey from Hunter: The Vigil to eat, drink the blood of, or make drugs out of supernatural creatures.
  • The Shadowrun supplement Runner Havens has a restaurant in Seattle called the Peaceable Kingdom. The front of the house is a high-quality Chinese restaurant, but if you know the right people and have the money, the back of the house serves fine dishes made exclusively with endangered species (including some magical ones). They're very good at catching would-be whistleblowers, whose leftovers are swapped with perfectly mundane ones before they can have them analyzed.

    Theatre 
  • Variation: In Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad, Madame Rosepettle insists on a diet of nothing but Siamese cats for Rosalinda, her silver piranha fish. She is outraged that one of her bellboys has fed a common alley cat to Rosalinda, and waves aside the objection that there were no Siamese cats in the vicinity.

    Toys 
  • You can actually purchase a product called unicorn meat. It is actually a dismembered unicorn plush toy in a can.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick: Official banquets in the Empire of Blood include dishes such as phoenix pâté (with liver taken from the still-living bird, since phoenixes burst into flames when dying) and pegasus flank. Even though the dinner is in his honor, Elan loses his appetite very fast. (note: these animals are sapient in the Dungeons & Dragons universe, and presumably likewise in OOTS)
  • In "Rush Limbaugh Eats Everything", part of the Electric Sheep Comix web anthology, the right-wing pundit Rush Limbaugh takes up eating endangered animals in his show specifically to piss off his opponents.

    Web Original 
  • In Ramenz mockumentary on Japanese sushi, they suggest asking the chef for "off-menu" recommendations. Then they pan across various meats on the sushi bar, some obscured with pixelation while cutting away to photos of various protected species of animals.
  • Uncyclopedia gives us A Connoisseur's Guide to Dishes on Endangered Species, featuring such delights as Baked Baby Panda Parmesan Pasta, Grilled Spotted Owl, Koala Stroganoff, Baby Beluga Chowder, and Hot Mexican Prairie Dog, amongst others.
  • In Upload, David Choak casually mentions eating an endangered bird sandwich at one point, and also revels in having the last living black rhino killed so they could program the taste into Lakeview for him to eat.
  • SCP Foundation: SCP-971 is a takeout menu for a fast food service that sells hamburgers, chicken fingers, fries, etc. made from the meat of endangered animals. Somehow, the company has a method of non-lethally extracting meat from said endangered animals, not killing them but causing them to lose weight and muscle mass.
  • Cracked has the article The Six Most Sadistic Dishes From Around The World.
    • Number 6 is ikizukuri, sushi prepared alive.
    • Number 5 is ortolan, a small bird that is prepared for eating by blinding them to fatten them up.
    • Number 4 is foie gras, fatty liver, achieved by force feeding ducks or geese.
    • Number 3 is dojo tofu, baby loaches cooked alive in a block of tofu.
    • Number 2 is fen gan ji, chicken that is stuffed and hung out to dry while still alive.
    • Number 1 is fresh donkey, a donkey that is eaten alive by being cut into pieces which are served immediately.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of the Ace Ventura cartoon has a Villainous Glutton who is kidnapping endangered species as part of a planned seven-course meal.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force has an episode where Ben, Gwen, and Kevin are asked to transport an alien baby to an enemy planet as a peace offering. It turns out the enemy leader just wanted the baby to be part of a dish he was preparing. Ben, who is currently stuck in the form of an alien with anger issues, gets so mad when he finds this out that he dives into the villain's mouth to retrieve the baby from his stomach and then threatens to tie his intestines into knots.
  • On Futurama, just to show how messed up the future is, some animals not considered food today, are eaten regularly, like parrots. Not dolphins though, since they're intelligent. Unless they blow all their money on lottery tickets, then it's OK.
    • It should be noted beverages made from humans are also prominent, which shouldn't be surprising given the number of suicide booths there are. And then there's the Executive Powder.
    • Of course, in the Futurama future, rats are endangered and spotted owls are pests.
    • Human noses are apparently both an exotic treat and an aphrodisiac. This trope was invoked during an in-universe news report. However, it turns out that the reason why they went for the nose was that the aliens thought the noses were the genitals.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures had this in the episode where the cast found the Rabbit Talisman, on an endangered Tortoise that a villain was planning to dine upon.
  • One villain in The Secret Saturdays only wants to eat cryptids.
    • Another minor character ate panda dumplings.
  • By the time of the The Legend of Korra, the Earth Kingdom nobility have become fond of dining on rare animal meats - including veal made from baby Sky Bison. It is even rumored (and confirmed in the DVD commentaries) that the Earth Queen had her father's pet bear cooked and served as a meal. This symbolises the decadence the Earth Kingdom has slipped into under Hou-Ting.
  • The Tick averted this by refusing to eat a kitten when he was trying to pass as a villain.
  • Chef Gaston Gourmand from Wild Kratts has made preparing this kind of food his calling - in several episodes planning to cook for the other two Big Bads Zach Varmitech and Donita Donate.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The episode "The Fat and the Furriest" had as the Villain of the Week an Egomaniac Hunter that showcased how little he cared about nature by suddenly shooting down a condor, catching it between two slices of bread, and eating it all for a quick snack with a blissful look on his face. Later in the episode, he pulled a similar reaction to Homer imagining food at the thought of eating condor eggs.
    • In “Homie the Clown”, Krusty the Clown has apparently eaten enough condor egg omelettes that he decides he should cut back on them to save some money due to prior reckless spending — but even thinking about those omelettes is enough to make him immediately want several more. In “Marge Gets a Job”, he swipes and eats a raw egg from a hawk on-air, causing said hawk to immediately attack him.
  • Xiaolin Showdown: One whole dragon is the key ingredient of Lao Mang Long Soup, which acts as a Psycho Serum. It turns anybody who drinks it into an evil, immortal monster, and they must drink it regularly to be able to return to their human form.

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