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 Hákarl, fermented shark buried in the ground for 6-12 weeks then cut into strips and hung to dry for several months. It's a true delicacy in Iceland.
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.
Foods like this may taste like feet and may appear as a Masochist's Meal, or more rarely, be considered tasty by a character, especially a Big Eater. 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. Occasionally combined with Dinner Order Flub. If an animal which the diner's culture considers too gross to eat is consumed out of sheer desperation, rather than because it's acceptable fare among foreigners, that's Reduced to Ratburgers.
For the non-culinary equivalent, see Americans Hate Tingle. See also Haggis Is Horrible, a Sub-Trope. For the outer space version, see Alien Lunch. For when it's just one particular chef's pallete that's way out of the norm, see Cordon Bleugh Chef. Compare Haute Cuisine Is Weird.
- 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.
- Hetalia: Axis Powers:
- 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?
- Insulting each others' foodstuffs happens occasionally in canon, such as Romano dubbing Germany the "potato bastard", and suffers Flanderization in fanfic.
- Moyashimon makes Professor Itsuki's fondness for bizarre fermented foods from around the world a Running Gag. These include such delicacies as 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. They still found it disgusting but figured it wasn't their place to tell other cultures what they could or could not eat.
- 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.
- 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 Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, 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.
- Some chapters of Golden Kamuy focus on Asirpa teaching Sugimoto about Ainu culture, including food. Most of the recipes, like squirrel meatball soup, Sugimoto finds tasty. The others, like raw squirrel brain or hare eyeball, not so much. On her end, Asirpa is initially disgusted by miso, which she mistakes for poop. She comes to like it after accidentally trying it.
- A minor Running Gag of Black Clover is that it seems the biggest export of the remote Hage Village (where the main characters Asta and Yuno came from) is a type of potato that seems to be an acquired taste. Asta loves the stuff since he grew up on them, and Charmy develops a taste because they remind her of Yuno. Most everyone else finds them unusually dry.
- Peter Kay has a 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."
- In one Garfield strip, Jon, Garfield, and Odie are at what is taken for a tribal-style restaurant where "Unguah" is the only thing on the menu. When they receive their meal and actually find it somewhat tasty, one of the waiters happens by and steps on something, exclaiming "AH! An unguah!" Cue panicked looks on the boys' faces with their mouths still full, and Garfield calling for the check.
- 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 the mistake wasn't Gene Luen Yang's - the phrase was used as a Take That! to a notorious anti-Chinese cartoon by the famous US political cartoonist Pat Oliphant.
I say, this is delicious, what?
- 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 doesn't have the 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 boil it in mint sauce! The poor thing!
Decurion (facepalming): The warm beer!
- A pair of Roman centurions threatened by a prefect to be boiled alive in mint sauce and fed to the lions comment: "How horrible!" "Yes, the poor beasts!"
- As Asterix and Obelix choke down their first taste of British beer, Anticlimax asks if they're warm enough. They pretend the barrel of magic potion they're carrying is full of the stuff to a Roman centurion, but then a messenger comes in to tell him to look for two Gauls carrying a secret weapon in a barrel.
Messenger: Er, no, decurion, that one's not a secret. This'd be a kind of magic potion.
- At the end, Anticlimax says they're going to throw their heroes a grand feast, with boiled boar and warm beer. Obelix insists on leaving right away. Again: Obelix REFUSES FOOD.
- 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 Asterix the Legionary, the Roman Army's menu turns out to be wheat, bacon, and cheese cooked together to save time. Everyone (a Greek, a Goth, a Belgian, both Gauls, and an Egyptian) is disgusted... except, of course, the Briton.
- 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—Duke: Did I ask? Did I ask?
- 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.
- De cape et de crocs:
Rais Kader: The Imam Bayildi is nearly ready!
- Don Lope de Villalobos y Sangrin, a bipedal wolf, comes to realize 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.
- And an aversion when the two are stuck in a very well-stocked galley along with the Turkish Rais Kader. The Rais produces an eggplant dish that Don Lope is afraid to taste at first, though it's due to the Christian/Muslim rivalry they have going on throughout the series (he loves it, as it turns out).
Don Lope: What devilry is this?
Rais Kader: The name means "fainted imam", for it is said that a holy man of my country fainted after a single bite of these grilled eggplants.
- Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: This is what Germany thought of the hijiki and dried shiitake mushroom spaghetti, calling it "a mockery of Italian cuisine". Japan did not take that insult well. Later on, after Italy started dating both Germany and Japan, Germany apologized.
- 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 Phineas and Ferb fic The Seer by KicsterAsh, the cook for the Cantorian village of River Town 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.
- Anthropology is a downplayed example. While most human beings wouldn't find hamburgers horrifying Lyra isn't exactly keen on eating meat. It becomes her first meal in the human world, to her disgust.
- A humanized Twilight Sparkle has a similar reaction in A Twilight Landing after belatedly learning what sausage is. Meat-eating is considered an abomination in Equestria, and no animal there is purely carnivorous unless it's evil. Fortunately, she isn't the least bit angry at Jo, who fed her a sandwich with sausage in it when she thought she was just a crazy girl.
- In The Wheel and the Butterfly Saga, Pinkie doesn't take finding out what burgers are made of very well since Equestrian cows are sapient and she has some as friends.
- In A Taste of Meat, Sunset Shimmer gets dared to try meat, eats it, likes it... And then finds out it was horse meat. Hilarity Ensues.
- In Bait and Switch (STO), Eleya comments that she likes a lot of Klingon foods, but draws the line at gagh (stewed serpent worms, served alive and wriggling).
- The fact that Dunmer cuisine is heavily bug-based means that this trope plays a big part in Outlanders, the first story in the Daria In Morrowind series. She gets used to it.
- At the beginning of the Tipaan Cloud Horn party in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Ringo and George are planning to visit the buffetuntil Quill comes by displaying the lovely delicacy of pizza with whole songbirds and air worms. The two Earthmen turn away gagging and thoroughly lose their appetites. Especially ironic given that the four had accidentally introduced pizza to the world in the first place.
- Meanwhile, Discworld fic Murder Most Horrible, by A.A. Pessimal, sees Howondalandian Assassin Johanna Smith-Rhodes supervising the preparation of Biltong as a trail ration for students on a Wilderness Survival trip. She bemoans that Ankh-Morpork has such a limited selection of not-entirely-suitable meats, like pork, lamb, and steak, and deplores the complete absence of familiar wholesome things like ostrich, kudo, bokkoms, and snoek. Elsewhere, Johanna is critical of the near-total lack of good solid home cooking like bobotie, boerwors, koeksisters or brikkies. People very carefully don't ask what sort of an animal snoek or kudo or bobotie is. note
"sounds delicious", Johanna lied.
- Elsewhere, Johanna discovers her domestic staff, from Smith-Rhodesia, find Ankh-Morporkian food to be distasteful and far prefer foodstuffs for themselves from their native Howondaland. Confronted in her own kitchen (her cook's domain) by the raw ingredients for goat's head stew with mopondwe worms as a side...
- In Let the World Smile, the food itself tastes fine, however Hylians use too many spices for Gerudo palettes. They even spice their wines.
- If They Haven't Learned Your Name: It probably doesn't actually look that bad in reality, but a seriously hungover Sam vomits at the mere sight of Steve's Croatian mystery meat pastry-thing. (It might be burek, which is basically just a meat pie. Of course, it could've been really bad-looking burek made with mystery meat, too.)
- In The Young Order: Inter Duos Tutela Draco is nauseated when he sees Beau sucking the head of a crawfish.
- In The Black Sheep Dog Series, Walburga forces Sirius to eat pickled herring and brown cheese for breakfast as a punishment after finding out that he had snuck into his grandfather's birthday party (on Dumbledore's orders) under the guise of the Norwegian wizard, Nicolaus Svensson.
Sirius: Is that the rule now? Get caught impersonating one foreigner, and you have to adopt the worst customs of their country? I wish that bloke had been German.
- Played with in The Illusionist when Tatischeff is being fed soup by Alice while also looking for his rabbit (that escaped without either of them knowing). The cookbook Alice is using is out on the counter but turned several pages when the wind blew through the window. Tatischeff looks at the cookbook to see what he's eating and it's on a rabbit recipe.
- Cars 2 has the scene where Mater mistakes wasabi for pistachio ice cream.
- 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 Angel's Project, the protagonist, a Hong Kong cop on assignment in Malaysia, finds out her dinner - the "special treat" from her local contact - to be a deep-fried monitor lizard. She did end up enjoying it though...
- 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 monitor lizard and cooking it up in front of her, along with wild yams, grubs, and honeypot ants. She gives it a dubious look and asks if he's going have any. 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 after she gets him one with all the toppings.
- 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 (which is technically true, as he's spent the last couple decades in cryogenic stasis).
- 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 dead python. Eyeball soup. Steamed beetles. And for dessert, chilled monkey brains. Served en suite in chilled monkey heads. Hilarity Ensues. The idea was that they were trying to get Indy and co. to leave by deliberately serving inedible food (for one thing, live eels are toxic, so no sensible host on Earth would serve them), but it was poorly communicated and the movie was 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.
- In Galaxy Quest Alan Rickman's character is served his character's "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.
- Considering the aliens created the whole ship and everything on it/in it based on watching a fictional television show, there shouldn't BE any such thing as Kep-mok blood ticks to serve him unless they created an entire species whole-cloth, and then how would they know what to make them taste like?
- The Private Eyes: Mr. Uwatsum, a strange Japanese man, offers the inspectors fish eyes and hummingbird cookies.
- 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.
- No Retreat, No Surrender 2: The protagonist, Scott, visiting his Vietnamese fiancee, gets to try her father's favorite dishes: fried locusts, boiled cicadas, dried lizards, animal testicles... and monkey brain stew. The last one which he assumed to be Chinese beancurd stew, and eats a spoonful while complimenting how delicious it is... before she tells him it's brains. Cue Spit Take from Scott.
- 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.
- In The Ugly Truth, despite being a widely available fowl in restaurants over North America, duck meat is treated like this by the hosts of the Show Within a Show.
- 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.
- In The Love Guru, instead of preparing a skunk's bottom, which Guru Pitka says is a lot like calamari, Rajneesh prepares Kartapal Birigalapatt, or "nuts in a sling": two lychees wrapped in a doughy pouch, crushed with a meat mallet, boiled in oil, then served with a pickle and curly fries. Jane Bullard, played by Jessica Alba, declines and has soup instead.
- 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!"
- Subverted in the film version of The Devil's Disciple: after eating a bowl of soup, General Burgoyne asks one of his men what was in it. Clearly expecting this reaction, the soldier admits that it was rattlesnake. General Burgoyne doesn't even miss a beat before pronouncing it delicious.
- In the Mary-Kate and Ashley movie Passport to Paris:
Ally: What is this stuff, François?
Melanie: That is so French! We're eating escargot!
Grandfather: Girls, I had no idea you liked snails.
[the twins scream]
- In The Wind (1928), Virginian woman Letty moves with her cousin in Texas. She's repulsed by the food, which consists of things like sow's belly and other organ meats.
- 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 specialty" 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, trading standards and environmental health issue are 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.
- In Sourcery, the Seriph of Klatch's Wilderness is based on various poetic wildernesses, although he admits he never really understood the bit about "wild honey and locusts". Conina explains that "locusts" in this context refers to the honey-locust plant, and the Seriph turns to where Rincewind had been quite enjoying the crunchy honey things and tells him he might as well finish them off...
- Spy School: The fourth book has an example set in a different part of the same country as the person unhappy with the food. Alexander is aghast to learn the ingredients for Rocky Mountain Oysters are bull testicles after eating several. He quickly excuses himself to vomit in the parking lot. He's also not too crazy about how the salmon he ordered with it has turned green.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Expanse: There are only two things Reverend Doctor Anna Volovodov considers evil; politics and lutefisk.
- Vorkosigan Saga: 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 the very first book, Cordelia ate a steak from an animal she and her future husband personally caught, killed and cooked. Of course, they had been living on a diet of oatmeal and blue cheese salad dressing for several days (due to a lack of any other edible options) at that point, so she probably would have been willing to eat just about anything for an alternative meal.
- In Anne McCaffrey's The 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.
- 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 determines 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 a delicacy and everyone else finds revolting. The examples include haggis (supposedly, originally devised as a projectile to hurl at English invaders), hasma, balut, and Marshmallow Peeps (whose production apparently involves the use of spent fuel rods).
- For bonus points, the author compares haggis to the much more popular food that is made, among other things, from a pig's anus. And that's true, hot dogs are far more popular than haggis.
- 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. The title says it all.
- 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.
- In the Terok Nor novels, we get a look at the Cardassian equivalent of coffee: hot fish juice. Okay, the Cardies are reptiles, but still, squick.
- Subverted in The Yillian Way, by John Keith Laumer. A human diplomat negotiating a peace settlement with an alien race is fully prepared to eat the disgusting slop served up to him, citing this trope, but his aide realises it's a Secret Test of Character. He knocks over the table, marches up to where the big shots are eating and insists on being served good human food. As the alien society is based on alpha male domination, he successfully asserts his authority in their eyes.
- Similarly, in the Retief story "Protocol" Retief and the Terran ambassadors are being served what appears to be disgusting food. Having paid attention Retief realizes they're being served the same slop fed to the pets. He responds to the insult by flipping over the table before the rest of the staff can embarrass themselves and is subsequently invited to eat the same food as the hosts.
- Terisa in Mordant's Need generally finds Mordant's food agreeable, but when Geraden treats her to a delicacy from his native province of Domne, it's all she can do to keep from letting him see how disgusting she finds it. It's not just her, either - Elega, who was raised in a different part of Mordant, has apparently tried it before and is of the opinion that Domne can keep it.
- Michael Pollan is a journalist who has written extensively about food culture. In his book Cooked, he notes that almost all cultures all across the world have their own kinds of fermented foods that people from other cultures find disgusting. In Korea, for example, they eat a form of fermented cabbage called kimchi, with a strong smell that westerners are put off by. Koreans, in turn, find western stinky cheeses revolting. Pollan suggests that it's part of cultural identity to have foods that no one not raised in the culture can stomach.
- On a diplomatic mission to the French Republic in Alexis Carew: The Little Ships, a man from the Foreign Service and a French diplomat attempt to teach Alexis proper French dining etiquette on French food. Alexis turns up her nose at escargot and complains that everything else seems to be required to be drenched in some kind of sauce. Later Dansby complains about the Hanoverese penchant for sausages and warns Alexis off of trying anything called "currywurst".
- Inverted in Animorphs. Andalites don't have tongues, so when they morph into humans they risk becoming addicted to delicious human food. They also think motor oil and cigarette butts are delicious.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, when the students from foreign schools arrive at Hogwarts for the Triwizard Tournament, several foreign dishes are added to the food options of the great hall. Ron seems incredibly disgusted with a bowl of Bouillabaisse, while Hermione assures him it tastes great.
- In Warrior Cats, the cats occasionally consider prey from other Clans' territories disgusting: there's a short story in Code of the Clans where a young One-Eye and Dappletail steal some fish after hearing RiverClan boast about them, only to realize that they hate the taste, and every other Clan expresses revulsion at the idea of ShadowClan eating frogs, toads and lizards.
- Subverted in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: The land-dwellers are originally squicked out by several of the foods that Nemo serves them, such as grilled sea cucumber and dolphin-liver ragout, and Ned Land complains vociferously about the lack of red meat. However, they soon shut up, since Nemo's chef is a genius and while the food may be strange, it is always delicious.
- In Sea Change (2016), when Eliot sits down to dinner for the first time in his Great Uncle Earl's house, he finds, to his disgust, he finds that Earl prepared cow tongues to eat. When it becomes apparent to Earl that Eliot won't eat it, he makes him a grilled cheese sandwich.
- In Shadow of the Conqueror, Cueseg has a low opinion of all Hamahran food. His hunger is stronger than his disgust, however, and he still ends up eating a ton of it. Ahrek later reveals to him that the source of the problem is him buying from the infamously low-quality Hamahran street vendors, rather than going to a restaurant.
- The French detective writer Charles Exbrayat had a habit of including Food Porn descriptions of meals in most of his stories set in Europe (France, Italy, Belgium etc.) The only exception, naturally, were those works set in Great Britain, where they bordered on Nausea Fuel instead, like the description of what had been a perfectly good roast turned into a rubbery, shrunken thing then drowned in mint sauce.
- In an Older Than Radio example, in Vanity Fair, after Becky comes to live with Amelia's family, she eats her first curry (Amelia's brother Jos having been part of the colonial administration in India and becoming enamoured with the cuisine) and is not prepared for how spicy it is. Things get even worse for her when she's offered "a chilli" and accepts it, assuming from the name that it's something cooling.
- In the Bounders novel The Tundra Trials, the protagonists spend six weeks on the planet Gulaga, which is inhabited by mole-like aliens who mostly eat fungi, tubers, and leaves. Jasper vomits up his first meal. He manages to keep later ones down, with difficulty.
- Our Miss Brooks: A staple of early radio episodes, was landlady Mrs. Davis' reliance on outlandish foreign recipes for Miss Brooks' breakfast. One such dish were Armenian Pancakes, which relied on sour goat's milk. Another was an Eskimo recipe for "blubber burgers", whale meat fried in seal fat. Mrs. Davis become more staid as time goes on, and the show moved to television. However, Miss Brooks complains of eating Hungarian Goulash in a later episode. Miss Brooks outright refuses to touch a plate of Veal Scallopini and Garlic Bread Mrs. Davis presents her with one morning.
- Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. That guy will eat anything. Except for durians, walnuts, and Spam. Inverted for Bizarre Foods America.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Being a huge foodie, this kind of cuisine is practically Charles Boyle's Trademark Favorite Food. He will constantly recommend the most obscure ethnic restaurants and make a beeline for the gnarliest thing on the menu. Some of the tamest examples are when he deals with a breakup by compulsively snacking on Japanese octopus balls, and when he recommends a Hungarian restaurant on the strength of their "platter of a thousand sausages" (which cause nonstop dumps, according to Jake). It also doesn't help that he always describes food in the most unwittingly disgusting terms imaginable.
Boyle: (Describing a Turkmenistani goat stew) The hoof is the best part of the stew. Think of it as marrow-nougat wrapped in a thick toenail!
- No Reservations and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown with Anthony Bourdain, who chronicled his trips around the world, featuring dishes that most Americans would find questionable but is considered normal fare to the cultures he's encountered.
- 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. In one very notable appearance, judge Julie Dreyfus (yes, the chick in Kill Bill) flat out refused to eat one dish because one of the ingredients was whale tongue (which isn't as taboo in Japan as it is in other countries, and let's leave it at that), and it's likely that cost challenger Toshiro Kandagawa the win in that battle.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus:
- Crunchy frog.
- The Undertaker's sketch, where the options are, as Graham Chapman put it, "burn her, bury her, or dump her". But after he has a look in the bag with the deceased inside, he suggests a fourth option: eating her. "And if you're feeling guilty about it, sir, we can dig a hole and you can throw up into it afterward."
- 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. For Klingons, gagh is considered to have "gone off" when it's dead. One Klingon general in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is put off his dinner because the gagh is barely moving.
- Mr. Bean: Steak Tartare, which is 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."
- Shabu-shabu is an actual Japanese dish, but not like that: it's a simple hotpot with meat and veggies.
- 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.
- Similarly, in Season 3 the chefs were assigned to cook one of three desserts for an elimination challenge: American strawberry shortcake, Italian tiramisu... and English trifle. The chefs who got strawberry shortcake and tiramisu were going in confident, while the chefs who got the trifle were just left thinking "What is this shit?" Subverted though as Stacey and Monti's trifles were judged the best desserts submitted in the challenge.
- 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)
- In Season 2, a Scottish lady named Pauline entered with a dish that used the classic example of this trope: Haggis. Gordon and Graham loved her dish, but Joe hated it. Haggis was also used to great effect by Fiona from Season 7 of the Australian version of the show; judge Matt Preston was initially disgusted by the idea of eating haggis, but liked the dish so much that he gave her an apron and a spot in the show.
- 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, balut (duck fetuses in the egg).
- CSI: Grissom says he puts red ants on his eggs sometimes.
- 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 (which featured live baby octopi), 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 tarantula on a stick.
- 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 porridge oats, 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.
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?
- In "The Mind of Evil" the Third Doctor becomes friendly with the Chinese ambassador. The Doctor is taken by the ambassador's invitation of dried squid and stewed jellyfish for dinner, but the Brigadier isn't as enthusiastic.
- It happens again in the New Series. In "Thin Ice" the Doctor's latest companion finds herself in a fair in Regency England. She declares her intention to try everything, then balks at eating sheep's heart and ox cheeks. Ironically when she eats a fish pie, it turns out to be an Alien Lunch.
- 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. For example, a Christmas-themed episode had whole raw reindeer testicles.
- Daphne Moon squicks out the 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.
- In the Columbo episode "Swan Song", the Lieutenant is taken aback to find the chili he just ate has squirrel meat in it.
- In M*A*S*H, a visiting Canadian corporal causes consternation when he praises the legendarily bad food provided by the 4077th's mess tent. He asks what it's like to eat so well every day. All becomes clear when he explains the Canadian forces in Korea are dependent on British Army rations and catering services. It is accepted by all that not even the 4077th's catering can be that bad.
- One episode of Pawn Stars has Old Man order Chumlee to go out and buy the best coffee he can find. He does, and everyone loves it, but when asked what kind it is, the others (except for Old Man) react this way when they find out that it's civet coffee...note
- Played With once on NCIS when Ziva is noshing on something unidentified in a Burundian café.
Ziva: There are delicious.
Abaka: Then I won't tell you what they are made from.
- NCIS: Los Angeles has Deeks spent an episode trying to open a durian fruit. In the end, he succeeds—and the smell convinces him and the rest of the team that it was a very bad idea.
- In an early Castle episode Castle and Beckett are served lunch by a Nigerian restaurateur while consulting her on a case. The chef asks Beckett what she thinks of the cow's foot stew she's eating.
Beckett: (suddenly grossed out) Cow's foot? I thought this was beef.
Castle: It is beef.
- In one episode of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, the detective of the week, Valmont (who in some ways prefigures Hercule Poirot) invites his Scotland Yard colleague to dinner. The Englishman finds it delicious... until Valmont tells him he's eating frog.
- The Plot Against America: Given a playful spin. After braving scenes of shocking antisemitism in Kentucky, New Jersey Jews Herman and Sandy stop at a Midwest gas station and must eat bologna and mayonnaise sandwiches on white bread, the quintessential gentile food. They regard their sandwiches dubiously, and Herman quips, "They're trying to kill us!"
- 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
- Our Miss Brooks: A staple of early radio episodes, was landlady Mrs. Davis' reliance on outlandish foreign recipes for Miss Brooks' breakfast. One such dish were Armenian Pancakes, which relied on sour goat's milk. Another was an Eskimo recipe for "blubber burgers", whale meat fried in seal fat. Mrs. Davis become more staid as time goes on, and the show moved to television. However, Miss Brooks complains of eating Hungarian Goulash in a later episode. Miss Brooks outright refuses to touch a plate of Veal Scallopini and Garlic Bread Mrs. Davis presents her with one morning.
- 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.
- Swedish radio panel game På Minuten has offered prizes of exotic foreign food to the winners since 2004. Some of the prizes have been so exotic and bizarre that the panellists have gone out of their way to lose.
- Of Thee I Sing:
French Ambassador: Will you surrender the baby?
Wintergreen: Never! Give my baby to France and have it eat snails and get ptomaine poisoning! Never!
- Come From Away: Ali, a professional chef, is puzzled by the local dishes when he is stranded in a tiny Canadian town, particularly cod au gratin. Becomes a Brick Joke towards the end, when Ali is home and writes to Beulah thanking her for helping him... and asking for the recipe to cod au gratin.
Beulah: It's fish with cheese.
Ali: Are you sure I cannot help with the food?
- 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: Cooking in this game is Game Gourmet meets Foreign Queasine. Anything you make can be liked by a dwarf if they prefer one of the ingredients, of which there are a very wide variety.
- 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 and goblins take this a step further by practicing cannibalism; elves will eat the corpses of defeated foes and goblins are the only civilization that will straight-up butcher sentient creatures.
- Also, Dwarves will cook anything with anything else, which can result in some pretty unappetizing-sounding meals even if the ingredients themselves are normal. Oyster, yak cheese, and strawberry stew, anyone? Or how about a roast made from sugar, kangaroo milk, oil, and apple cider?
- The Elder Scrolls:
- The Bosmer (Wood Elves) are bound to some unusual dietary restrictions due to the Green Pact, a deal they made with their patron deity to never harm the plant life in the forests of their homeland, Valenwood. Because they cannot harm the plant life in any way, they live on an almost strictly carnivorous diet (though it also includes honey, dairy, and mushrooms which do not count as plants), essentially Inverting Veganopia. In order to get around these restrictions, they are also known to eat a variety of insects. Thunderbugs, in particular, are used along with rotten meat to create the alcoholic beverage "Rotmeth." Additionally, they are known to smoke insects in their bone pipes instead of the usual plant matter smoked by most races. Another term of the Green Pact requires them to consume the bodies of fallen enemies, as they are not to be allowed to rot within Valenwood. It's been said in the lore that they fast before large battles so they can be hungry enough to eat their fallen foes. (This restriction is understandably relaxed for Bosmer outside of Valenwood, and its practice is said to be all but nonexistent as of the 4th Era.)
- The Sload, a race of "slugmen" native to the Coral Kingdoms of Thras to the west of Tamriel, are said to serve various molds and fungi as meals. One account even mentions Sload consuming a regurgitated substance from one of their elders.
- 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 any more, 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 specialty. 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 cuisines.
- 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 Grunt at least is disgusted by ramen. He'll only eat it on a dare, as seen in the third game's Citadel DLC.
Grunt: It looks like worms... dead ones. You mean you people actually eat that stuff?
- EarthBound has Tendakraut, which the Tenda tribe love the taste of in spite of its awful smell. (The Japanese version made it a type of durian.)
- In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic and Chip travel around the world, and one optional thing to do is to try out the local foods of the various Fantasy Counterpart Cultures they're in. If Sonic feeds Chip, Chip will provide his opinions on whatever Sonic gives him. Some of them he likes, and some of them he doesn't, the latter fitting this trope. In particular is the Canned Horror found in Holoska (their counterpart to Surströmming), which causes Chip to engage in Symbol Swearing after he tries it out.
- Implied in Below the Root using a bit of Genius Programming. Roast lapan (rabbit) is considered a Comfort Food among the Erdlings (descendants of Kindar who were trapped Beneath the Earth for running afoul of the ruling theocracy). The Kindar (tree dwellers) are vegetarian and (mostly) pacifist. Kindar player characters who eat lapan for food don't get as much nutrition out of it and take a temporary hit to their mana stat.
- In Breath of Fire II, SimaFort is a castle populated with a race of Frog Men (French Frog Men, no less). Cooking is fairly Serious Business for them, albeit with dishes like "cockroach and green onion salad", "worms in caramel sauce", and "gold fly pudding". While Prince Jean is considered a Supreme Chef by his own people's standards, the rest of your party doesn't have the stomach for his cuisine.
- In World Neverland, local Supreme Chef Wiala loves cooking items from around the world. She frequently asks you to bring her ingredients so she can try new recipes. While many of them end up being delicious, a few of them, such as jellied fish aspic, force her to admit that they're definitely not to her taste.
- 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.
- In Schlock Mercenary, 31st-century cuisine is usually a combination of various cultures, but "Panda Gonzales, home of authentic Hong-Kong-Tex-Mex" is found on a space colony that's been on the verge of famine since it was built. The house specialty is a mixture of huitlacoche and fermented soybeans; they call it Smutto.
Schlock: ...And you just automatically give it to people who say "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 pâté. 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. They're also quite visibly disgusted upon hearing how cheese is actually made.
- Scandinavia and the World:
- Iceland complains about Sweden and Norway's surströmming (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; hákarl 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.
- This indirectly gives Blue Milk Special its name: while blue milk comes from female banthas, blue milk special comes from male banthas. Do the math. Han and Chewie look horrified when they find out, as Han's been drinking special.
- Yoffrey's Yogurt Yurt in Latchkey Kingdom seems to be an acquired taste.
- Housepets! after trying to convince his classmates that Japan isn't "weird", Itsuki is asked what he has for lunch. (Although his reaction to their reaction implies he was kidding.)
A disappoinment! You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find squid eyeballs and bee larvae around here!
- In Outsider, the cuisine of the Loroi world Perrein is generally seen as gross by non-native Loroi, as its ecosystem allows for a much larger variety of animal-based foodstuffs than the other worlds.
- Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire has an odd case, combined with Alien Lunch. Poiled slurgs are perfectly edible by hominid, carbon-based life forms, so they are food, even when they're steamed in wixxel grease — typically used as an oven cleaner. They just require a lot of antacid.
- Unsounded: Sette is happy to be given bacon for breakfast, but when she learns that the Crescian version is made from turtle meat, she lets the bite fall out of her mouth.
- In Girl Genius, Agatha is worried when she doesn't react like this:
Van: There are a thousand and one things the chefs of Mechanicsburg can do with snails, you know!
Agatha: Okay, I'm hungry enough that even snails sound good!
Van: Just wait until you try the snail gelato!
Agatha: Oh dear. I must be starving to death!
- A blog called The Sneeze had a subseries called "Steve, Don't Eat It" in which the writer tries various weird supposedly-edible things, including huitlachoche and natto, both of which he found disgusting. For reference, he also ate wild mushrooms off his own tree once and liked it. (Disclaimer: He had a professional mycologist confirm it was a non-toxic species first)
- Someone was mad enough to try making disgusting food from Schlock Mercenary in real life.
- Why Would You Eat That? A show from the Youtube channel "Tasted", which involves explaining why people from foreign (and domestic) countries consume foodstuffs that seem Disgusting/Distasteful/Dangerous.
- Stuart Ashen eats very strange foreign food from time to time on his channel. So far the foreign queasine entries are Chinese Century Egg (with the expected reaction) and Sturströmming (although for the latter, he had to engage food expert Barry Lewis to help him prepare).
- When Barry and Brian of Game Grumps played Frogger: The Great Quest, the topic of eating frog's legs came up, which led to a discussion of weird foods they've eaten when traveling. Brian has apparently been served whole rabbit head in China.
- In one episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, everyone loves the cookies from a recipe from Grim's aunt, 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 of 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.
- 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:
- In "Lisa the Beauty Queen", Groundskeeper Willie trying to sell haggis at a school fair. There were no stalls anywhere near his.
Willie: Haggis! Get yer haggis right here! Chopped heart and lungs boiled in a wee sheep's stomach! Tastes as good as it sounds!
- In "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson", Homer's only option for food in New York City is a street vendor selling something foreign and disgusting on a stick called "khlav kalash", which he washes down with a hefty serving of crab juice (which he chose over Mountain Dew).
- In the 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 any more kangaroo testicles." Now, he can't get enough of them.
- In "Lisa the Beauty Queen", Groundskeeper Willie trying to sell haggis at a school fair. There were no stalls anywhere near his.
- 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!"
- Lor also made her friends eat haggis once at a Scottish festival. When they asked her what it was, she said "If I told you what it is, you wouldn't eat it. In fact, you might not eat anything ever again." Tino's mom later comments that his breath smells like sheep.
- The Food Museum was usually the basis of Incredibly Lame Fun jokes... but then there was the episode where they offered samples of hakarl.
- 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!
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: This proves to be a bit of a Running Gag, with the ethically vegetarian Aang's reactions to Water Tribe cuisine. When the Gaang run into Bato, a Water Tribesman recovering from injuries before meeting with Katara and Sokka's father, he makes them stewed sea prunes, which Aang finds that he detests despite it not being meat. Meanwhile, in the Foggy Swamp, Sokka eagerly tucks into roasted bugs about as big as Momo. In the Fire Nation, Hama makes ocean kumquats, which all present state tastes pretty much identical to sea prunes. Makes a great amount of sense, as a monk such as Aang would have no experience with the "Let's see if we can eat this" situations of tribal cultures.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): The turtles cheerfully scarf down pizza topped with whipped cream, ice cream/pepperoni, and peanut butter/anchovies, but find sushi too icky to contemplate.
- In the The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius episode "Win, Lose and Kaboom!", the needleheads are repulsed when they are forced to taste banana cream pie. Turns out it's not digestible for their species.
- Kim Possible is not a fan of this trope. Throughout the series, her brain surgeon mother makes meatloaf made to look like brains, she 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. The movie "A Stitch in Time" also shows that Ron is disgusted by Norwegian food such as lamb and cabbage stew and meat cakes, but he pretends to like them because he doesn't want Kim to see how miserable he is while stuck in Norway.
- 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: Suburban Daredevil where everyone is 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.
- 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 Movie, Debbie eagerly scarfs down termites when Boko offers them to her. When she finds out what they are, she looks a little shocked, but politely describes them as "delicious."
- 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", Elvis, 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.
- The Rocket Power episode "Welcome to the Club" features Sam and Twister trying some tripe at the Ocean Shores Beach Club. They both enjoy it until someone else tells them that tripe is made from sheep's stomach, at which point they're promptly grossed out.
- One of the challenges in Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race involved the teams choosing between finding a fossil and eating a plate of traditional Icelandic delicacies, which included eyeballs and boiled sheep's head. Even Owen was disgusted.
- Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! features an extraordinarily rare instance of Shaggy and Scooby actually running away from food, namely the traditional Irish dish of crubeens and farl, while a Super-Persistent Predator of a chef keeps hounding them at every turn, trying to get them to eat it (while speaking in the same rhyming scheme as Green Eggs and Ham, to boot). In an aversion of the usual trope, when they finally do try it, they find it just as disgusting as they expected.
- Subverted in the Futurama episode "Cold Warriors":
- In Amphibia, a land populated by amphibians, a great deal of the local diet consists of insects. At one point Anne (a human) is disturbed to discover she's come to enjoy the taste of beetles and pillbugs. A great many insects are edible, and are sold as snacks in various parts of the world.