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"Its like a hell in my mouth and everyone's been damned!"
Minmax, Goblins
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Excessively spicy food invariably results in a (usually metaphorical) blast of flame from the mouth of the diner, often after he or she has quickly turned red from feet to top of head (in the manner of a rising thermometer, sometimes with a distinctive rising "boooOOOP!" or whistling kettle sound effect). Sometimes it may be accompanied by a factory-like steam whistle or a fire alarm sound.

A common subversion is if one character in a cartoon tries to pull this off on another as a joke or part of an Escalating War. The intended victim will always have an insanely high resistance, while the perpetrator, trying it himself in disbelief, will feel the full force of the trope from the tiniest bite.

Video games often weaponize this effect, having a type of Powerup Food that lets the Player Character breathe fire.

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Can also be the result of consuming a Gargle Blaster or Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce (or anything cooked by a Lethal Chef). See also Oven Logic and I Ate WHAT?!.

In Real Life, capsaicin (the chemical found in 'hot' foods) works by directly stimulating the nerves responsible for detecting heat. This fools the brain into thinking the affected area is being burned and causes heat-related effects such as a flushed face and sweating. However, no spice can actually produce real heat, let alone fire - although there are certainly some foods that can make you feel like your mouth is on fire.

The third hottest pepper in the world is the Naga Viper pepper, coming in at a mouth-scorching, sweat-inducing 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units (for comparison, the Jalapeño ranks 2,500-8,000). It has been trounced in March 2011 by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili, which clocks in at 1,463,700 SHU; and in February 2012 by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which measures 2,009,231 SHU. Hot sauces made from any three of the peppers (or even all of them) have to be stored in glass, because they all corrode plastic like (*click!*) that.

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Not to be confused with the Unsatisfiable Customer, for whom the fire breathing is verbal, rather than metaphorical or literal.


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    Asian Animation 
  • In the Canimals episode "Chili Can Carnage", Oz eats some chili peppers from a Mexican restaurant and promptly breathes fire onto a kebab, cooking it. She utilizes this to her advantage by forcing Koby the turtle, who has come with her, to eat the peppers and breathe the resulting fire onto some more kebabs; Koby does not take this treatment very kindly.
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 2 episode 4, Big M. eats a chili lollipop and blows a flame out of his mouth from it.
  • Motu Patlu: In "Baby Dinosaur", Patlu makes a plate of samosas laced with chili to keep Motu from cooking the dinosaur egg. Motu eats one of the samosas and breathes fire as a result of its spiciness.
  • Simple Samosa:
    • In the episode "Chhote Rajaji", a strange spiciness epidemic spreads around Chatpata Nagar, and most of the affected townspeople breathe flames out of their mouths. The culprits of the epidemic, fittingly enough, are a pair of chili peppers who presumably meant no harm.
    • In the episode "Sollid Survival", Sollid blows a kiss to a fan after rubbing the belly of a wild chili pepper. The pepper's skin is spicy enough that it causes Sollid to run around with small flames coming out of his mouth when he does this.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Lucky Luke: Tortillas for the Daltons sees Lucky Luke as the victim of this trope. The Mexican who talked him into drinking tequila just says: "Refreshing, isn't it?"
  • A long gout of flames is one of the effects of the Hideous Hangover Cure that Asterix accidentally invents in Asterix and the Laurel Wreath.
  • In the Scooby-Doo story "The Faceless Phantom", the gang is at a restaurant where Shaggy and Scooby are having chili. The first spoonfuls set their tongues on fire as they run nilly-willy looking for something to put out the fire. When they stop, Shaggy merely quips "Needs pepper."

    Comic Strips 
  • Foxtrot:
    • Peter Fox spent an entire week having to live down his girlfriend Denise's April Fool's joke- a chocolate rabbit filled with hot sauce, which he of course ate in about two bites before his mouth was set aflame.
    • One strip had Jason cheerfully putting four bottles of hot sauce on his taco so he could breathe fire. He'd been to the dentist, and the painkillers hadn't worn off yet, preventing him from feeling the burn. "Is Novocaine great or what?"
    • Things came to a head when Jason and Peter decided to play "Eat That Taco."
      Peter: I can eat this taco with two squirts of hot sauce.
      Jason: I can eat this taco with three squirts of hot sauce.
      Peter: Four squirts.
      Jason: Five squirts.
      Peter: Six squirts.
      Jason: Eat that taco.
      [foom]
      Andy: Paige, stay out of this!
  • Garfield:
    • One strip featured Garfield and Jon having a contest to see who can eat the hottest pepper without invoking this trope. Garfield loses after eating a Peruvian Death Pepper.
    • In one Garfield Sunday strip Jon accidentally eats some dog food, and when he asks Garfield to brings him something to drink, Garfield obliges by bringing him a bottle of hot sauce. Jon chugs the bottle without looking at it; the next panel shows him clutching his throat, breathing fire, with his eyes wild and hair standing on end.
    • Also happened to Garfield on his fourth birthday, because he swallowed his cake before blowing the candles out!

    Fan Works 
  • In several Harry Potter, fics firewhiskey makes the drinker breathe flames for several seconds after consumption.
  • In Happily Ever After this happens to Fred and George after their first taste of goblin food. Harry plans to use this in a restaurant, having a "Eat a dish of goblin food and your party's meal is free" hook and sets them to replicating the sensation without the actual flames.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: The human Pinkie Pie does this all over Vix-Lei after eating a cupcake with a tabasco sauce filling. She loves it.

    Literature 
  • Discworld:
    • In the book Hogfather, the wizards are somewhat disappointed that Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers, doesn't display this as part of the "humorous side effects" of the Hideous Hangover Cure they'd just made for him.
    • There is also Mustrum Ridicully's Wow Wow sauce which is so potent that, in Reaper Man, he uses a bottle of it to cause a magic-resistant slime to explode, taking this trope to its logical conclusion.
  • The SF short story Buck and the Gents from Space features a young boy from the Southwest US serving a group of aliens a meal made primarily of chili peppers. Their reaction is described as being "sort of like the Apache snake dance, except they didn't have no snakes in their mouths. Maybe they would've preferred a snake, at that." He then offers them some of the hired hand's rotgut tequila to wash it down with, prompting much the same reaction.
  • Fire breath inducing black pepper "desserts" are a mentioned treat of Honeydukes in the Hogsmead establishment during Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

    Music Videos 

    Tabletop Games 
  • A magic item available in Forged by Dragon's Fire, an Old World of Darkness supplement, is the "ginger dragon", a small candy most often produced in rural China. They produce real fire.

    Theme Parks 

    Web Animation 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: In the photo on Arthur's laptop in "Freaking Out" he can be seen in obvious pain with a trail of smoke emitting from his mouth from his spicy... milkshake? A closer look reveals Lewis's prankster sister Cayenne laughing under the table with a bottle of hot sauce in her hand implying she put hot sauce in the milkshake.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Digital Series: In "X Marks the Spot", Pinkie Pie eats a sushi roll with too much wasabi, and breathe green fire before dipping her face in a nearby fountain.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 

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