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Masochist's Meal

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"It has a funny taste. You can't put your finger on it, but if you had to describe it you would say it has the flavor of INTENSE PAIN."

The masochist's meal is any food that is so unpleasant, painful, disgusting, or even outright dangerous to eat that the only reason any sane man would eat it is to be able to brag that he did... which possibly puts his sanity in doubt. Real-Life examples abound, to the point that fictional analogues tend to be really over-the-top.

It will often be prepared by a Cordon Bleugh Chef or a Lethal Chef. Can overlap with Stock "Yuck!", Foreign Queasine, Eat That, and Bizarre Taste in Food. It's common that a character Prefers Raw Meat or is a Metal Muncher for this reason. For bad tasting coffee, see Bad to the Last Drop, or A Tankard of Moose Urine for nasty alcohol. For drinks that are way too strong instead of bad tasting, see Klatchian Coffee and Gargle Blaster. See also Fire-Breathing Diner, Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce, Unaffected by Spice, and Hot Sauce Drinking for more stuff on the spicy side. If the food is gross because it is unhealthy rather than bad tasting it may fall under Nutritional Nightmare. If the food horrifying because it is sadistic instead of masochistic, or otherwise makes you feel guilty about eating it, it is an Exotic Entree. A person trying dodgy foods may respond with It Tastes Like Feet or I Ate WHAT?!.


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    Hot Stuff — Real Life 

The hot foods we're most familiar with are mostly from three groups — the Brassicas (cabbage, turnips, radishes and relatives), the Capsicums (chile peppers, related to tomatoes, potatoes, and nightshade in the Solanaceae family), and the Piperaceae (black pepper and a couple of exotic relatives like long pepper and cubeb). (There's also spices like cinnamon and ginger, but except for things like cinnamon candy, they're better known for their overall flavor than just the heat.)

  • Many types of hot peppers, particularly the species Capsicum chinense and hybrids thereof. The most notable of these are the Habanero and the Scotch Bonnet; the average C. chinense is a tiny round thing with a festive orange color that looks quite harmless, but causes really severe pain to the unprepared (like this guy). You need to build up a serious capsaicin tolerance before you can appreciate the delicious smoky/citrusy taste (hence why habanero and lemon, lime, or orange are such classic cooking combinations, as well as habanero with seasonings and other ingredients that go well with citrus like rosemary, ginger, and mango).note 
  • There's one type of hot pepper called the Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Chili) that can make you go temporarily deaf by sheer heat. It was ranked by Guinness Books as the hottest pepper in the world at 850,000 - 1,050,000 Scoville Heat Units. The only things known to be hotter are pure capsaicin, some of its derivatives and military/police grade pepper spray (which isn't actually that much hotter, just a few times). It is used for many things, including treating stomach ills, and the juice, when smeared on fences or added to smoke bombs, is potent enough to drive elephants away. (And it's been outdone by a variant of a variety called the Trinidad Scorpion, since outdone in turn by the Carolina Reaper and then the Dragon's Breath.) That said, increasing heat tolerance means jalapenos and tabascos and even habaneros are now making way for these heat bombs. Buffalo Wild Wings now uses ghost peppers as the base for its hottest sauces.
    • Note that if you seriously intend to eat one of these peppers straight you should check to make sure you don't have gastric or esophageal ulcers, GERD, Barrett's esophagus, family or personal history of esophageal or gastric cancer, or other internal cuts; the amount of raw, concentrated capsaicin can actually kill you if it hits your bloodstream without being diluted. Check out this video of a pepper aficionado deciding to eat 100 Carolina Reapers in one sitting. It sent him to the emergency room because he was vomiting blood.
    • Also worth noting is that the Bhut Jolokia and onwards should not be handled with your bare hands. Unlike other types of chili peppers, the capsaicin permeates the entire fruit and not just the parts around the seeds. In India, where the Bhut Jolokia was bred, the peppers are rubbed onto fences and trees to permeate the air with capsaicin and repel elephants. note  The capsaicin will permeate your skin if you touch it. People typically handle them with latex gloves, and even then, they will leech through the gloves after about 30 minutes of contact.
    • Oh, and check for any history of blood flow problems in your brain. That much capsaicin ingested in once can cause a condition called reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS); essentially the blood vessels in the brain temporarily constrict, causing symptoms like "thunderclap" headaches. This happened to a guy after eating a Carolina Reaper.
    • Two further cultivars of Capsicum, the Dragon's Breath pepper and "Pepper X" have been ranked at 2.48 million and 3.18 million Scoville units, and according to legend, both of them contain potentially lethal amounts of capsaicin. However, the Dragon's Breath pepper has another purpose besides culinary: scientists believe its essential oil can be used to make more effective anesthetics.note 
    • Paqui Tortilla Chips offers the One-Chip Challenge, wherein courageous pepperheads must eat one tortilla chip (as in, that's all the package contains) flavored with Carolina Reaper, Scorpion Pepper, and Sichuan Peppercorn, and then endure the burn without tapping out by eating or drinking anything else. Both the website and store displays feature a disclaimer warning people of the potential medical complications from eating said chip, including keeping it away from children and pregnant women. Sales of the Challenge have ceased after a teenager died on September 1, 2023 from eating one.
  • If you don't just want to take a bite of a super-hot pepper but want to try a super-hot full meal, then British-Asian cuisine is the place to be. Specifically the phall. It's basically just bits of chicken/ lamb/ beef/ whatever drowned in Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce with some lost tomatoes. Have a glass of milk handy or a lassi. Even beer won't do any good, and water might even make things worse.
    • Capsaicin is soluble in fat and alcohol, but not water. Sadly, most beer is less than 10% alcohol so won't take away that much of the spice compared to, say, swishing a shot of the hard stuff in your mouth or even using mouthwash. Mind you, most curries wow you with the chili, to then mug you with the ginger, mustard and black pepper when you've got complacent. So... yeah: milk covers all bases.
    • First hand experience: you're better off with the full-fat dairy than the beer — more fat. And, with a phall, you need that fat. You could get away with a beer and a vindaloo or downwards in the curry-heat stakes, though (depending on your taste buds' abilities at survival). Yup: mitigating the pain is as much of an art-form as creating it in the first place. Sweet can also help, if mixed in with the fat, as it gives the mouth a different flavour to latch onto in its desperation. You're a bit screwed, however, if you're going for one of the hot ones that already contains cream, yoghurt and almonds along with the ghee, though, as the chili is already quite at home with the fat. British-Asian cuisine: pick your pain and your medicine wisely.
    • One restaurant in New York City serves phall so hot, the chef wears a gas mask to cook it, and before you eat it, you must sign a waiver freeing the restaurant from legal blame if you die. These acts are not part of some presentation to hype it up. That phall really is that dangerous.
    • The above is a naga phall, and most British high streets have least one takeaway that has it either on the menu or by request. It's a phall made with naga chillies (bhut jolokia by another name) in some capacity, usually either fresh, smoked or pickled, rather than "just" scotch bonnets or habaneros. And, yes: masks and careful overalls and gloves are needed unless the chef has a death wish. Anything with "naga" attached to the name means "ghost pepper added", whatever its strength; so, it can be a relitively tame naga dopiaza... or a not-very-tame one. There are even hotter curries than a naga phall available. "Rajastani", as it pertains to curry shops, is a term to step warily around, for one.
  • A restaurant chain in the US now serves "triple atomic wings" for masochists to numb their mouths and clear their sinuses with.
  • Wasabi. There are several very good reasons why it is recommended that one use only a dab of wasabi sauce on your sushi, and the ones that don't involve flailing around in pain like an idiot have to do with the subsequent volcanic trip to the bathroom.
    • Horseradish as well. Wasabi is frequently cut with or imitated by green-dyed horseradish — though the wasabi plant is not in the same genus as true horseradish — and in Japan horseradish is known as "Western wasabi".
      • It depends on what classification you use. Some botanists put them both into genus Cochlearia. Still they are both in the cabbage family, Brassicaceae, and are similar enough in biology and taste.
    • On the other hand, wasabi is also a very clean spice. Unlike the things listed above, it doesn't really linger or taste 'hot', as the compounds that give wasabi and horseradish their hotness are water-soluble and do not cling to your mouth as capsaicin does.
      • A good analogy is that the spice of wasabi is like a flammable gas: a quick explosion of heat, but fades quickly. Peppers are like burning wood or other flammable materials like that: a slower, steadier burn. The stronger peppers could be compared to thermite: Very strong, and there's almost no chance of stopping it once it's started (like how it's hard to cool a mouth that's suffered something blisteringly spicy.)
    • A nasty trait of wasabi that most other spicy foods don't have is that when you swallow it, some of the spicy molecules may float up into your sinuses and cause you to feel like your nose is burning deep within. Luckily this only lasts for a few seconds, but it is really painful while it lasts.
  • Chimpanzees will sometimes deliberately seek out and eat fire ants which have venomous stingers like wasps. Gustatory masochism must be a common trait of the tribe Hominini.
  • Birds are immune to the effect of capsaicin, they can therefore eat all forms of hot peppers without ill effect. This is the point of capsaicin since peppers spread their seeds far and wide through the droppings of birds that eat them and would be digested too much if a mammal ate their fruit instead. Hence some varieties of bird suet have capsaicin mixed in and some stores sell seeds coated in it to deter squirrels from raiding bird feeders.
  • Russian mustard, or rather anything with black mustard seeds. It's more or less the Jalapeno of mustards.
    • Same goes for Estonian mustard, especially Põltsamaa brand. Swedish mustard is very mild, and many unsuspecting Swedes have tasted Põltsamaa with obvious results.
  • People used to American mustard should approach the British version, which is exactly the same colour, with caution. Brits tend to find American mustard blandly insipid, and with good reason. The standard English table mustard is overpoweringly strong to those who are not used to it. French's Classic - it ain't. And many British people will still buy powdered mustard, and make it up into a paste to suit their taste. It can make you feel like your ears (yes, your ears) are on fire. You have been advised.
    • This is primarily due to how they are prepared. Mustard seeds contain certain chemicals that when ground up and water added will gradually get hotter until it reaches a potentially lethal peak before very gradually settling down. This reaction is shut down with the presence of an acid, locking it into that particular heat. American prepared mustard introduces the acid with the water keeping it at its lowest amount. British mustard by contrast introduces the acid after the reaction's been occurring for a few minutes, locking it in a much hotter level.
  • Raw garlic. A powerful taste that can painfully burn your mouth for several seconds, possibly give you an upset stomach if you eat enough, and curse you with a stench that not only taints your breath but your actual body odor as well. That's not going to stop some people from chowing down on a few cloves a day. Justified, as studies have suggested that eating raw garlic has health benefits. On the "folk remedy" side of things, garlic has been used as both food and medicine in many cultures for thousands of years, dating at least as far back as when the Giza pyramids were built. Russians are also fond of this one, and of equally hot snacks made from raw garlic and cheese In some parts of China, a piece of it is eaten with dumplings.
    • Garlic is also an natural antibiotic, very useful for curing toothaches. This is done by soaking a towel in hot water mixed with chopped raw garlic and leaving the hellish mass of pain in your mouth next to the already painful toothache. It works.
    • Another benefit of having a diet rich in garlic: A garlic-eater's body-odor acts as a natural mosquito repellant.
    • To get the full benefit of raw garlic, you can't just chop it up and cook a bit of it in your meals, but have to chow down on whole, peeled and uncooked cloves. Multiple times a day. The reason is that garlic only releases those chemicals as a biological deterrent to being crushed and cooking it causes the chemicals in it to react and change into something completely different. This is also why when you dice garlic, you usually have to crush it first.
  • The San Francisco-based Japanese fusion restaurant On The Bridge has spice levels that are as follows: Mild, Medium, Spicy, X-Spicy, XX-Spicy, XXX-Spicy, and XXXX-Spicy. Casual customers have been known to reach their limit at XX or XXX level. However, there are also "secret" spicy levels that go beyond XXXX-Spicy, the catch being that the chef has to know you personally before he'll let you try them. There are reports of people having done as high as 20X-spicy.
  • Salmiakki.note  This stuff is especially loved in Finland, and it is ammonium chloride mixed with liquorice. The taste is simultaneously sour, fiery and sweet, and ingesting ammonium chloride will accelerate salivation. It is enjoyed also elsewhere in Scandinavia, Netherlands and Northern Germany, but not so much elsewhere. Salmiakki Koskenkorva (salmiakki mixed with Koskenkorva Vodka) is the Finnish version of the Gargle Blaster.
    • In Finnish colloquial, the word salmiakki refers also to ammonium chloride compound itself, not only to the candy made from it, because "salmiakki" is a Finnish take on the Late Latin term sal ammoniac, that is, "Salt of Amun", a somewhat rare mineral which is almost pure ammonium chloride.
  • Chilli (the dish) in the west, and curry in the east may have broad appeal, but make no mistake, just because there's weaker stuff doesn't mean there aren't brutally spicy variants out there.
  • Blair's (an artisan hot sauce manufacturer, known for being exceptionally spicy and serving as a benchmark for heat tolerance with burgeoning chiliheads) got its start when the founder worked as a bartender and would use his homemade sauces to clear out drunks who had worn out their welcome; if last call was imminent or someone was too drunk to continue serving but wouldn't leave, he would prepare something (usually wings) with one of his sauces and tell them that if they could finish them, they could stay as long as they wanted. None of them were successful.
  • The Toe of Satan. It is a lollipop that is several times hotter than even the hottest peppers in the world, created by the Flamethrower Candy Company. The company challenges you to hold it in your mouth for five minutes without spitting. It measures at about 9 million Scoville units. Pure capsaicin is 16 million, while all the world's hottest peppers are less than 3 million. The creator stated it's done with a compound worse than pepper spray, that during confection requires people to wear full Hazmat suits!
  • Samyang's Hot Chicken Flavor Ramen, which was popularized by the viral fire noodle challenge, where one tries to finish a bowl of them as quickly as possible without any water. They will probably be by far the spiciest noodles you can easily find in a store. While not as ridiculously hot as some of the other things on this list, they are spicy enough enough that if you are not used to eating really spicy things it can make you feel like you tried to drink a bowl of scalding hot water. The hottest version, the 2x Spicy Mini, is measured to be at about 12,000 Scovilles, making it the spiciest instant noodles in the world, while the regular version is over 4,000.
  • Nashville hot chicken was accidentally invented by a woman who decided to prank her womanizing boyfriend with an overly-spicy chicken breakfast, which didn't go as planned because the boyfriend loved it.
  • Resiniferatoxin is an analogue of capsaicin produced by a few Euphorbia plants. It is a thousand times more potent, reaching approximately 16 billion Scovilles for the pure toxin if anyone were to consume it that way. It can also permanently destroy pain-sensing nerves. Diluted latexes from the plants are used as pesticides and to repel animals; and have sometimes been eaten by humans - but only after being diluted even further.

    Hot Stuff — Fiction 
Anime & Manga
  • Angel from Angel Beats! is the only person that would eat the Legendarily-spicy Mapo Tofu not as a side dish, but as the ONLY dish, and enjoy it, when it would make other, grown men cry from the pain. She even eats half the dish in one go when she got into trouble for eating in the Lunch Hall during classes.
    • A few other characters eat it during the show, and while they do find it incredibly hot, they also remark that it does really taste pretty good.
    • TK even ate all the Mapo Tofu (and only Map Tofu, by the looks of it) in the cafeteria during the special. Instead of being absurdly round like the other two cast members, he looks and sounds completely dried out, and enters and exits the bathroom multiple times. "My stomach is destruction..."
  • My-HiME had a moment where Mai made someone eat hot spicy curry, during a Beach Episode while being dug into the sand.
  • In an omake strip for Nabari no Ou, Gau ate a piece of sushi with a huge blob of wasabi on it. The title says it all ("M" standing for "Masochism").
  • The reason Kaolla Su is never allowed to take kitchen duty in Love Hina is because her spicy native cuisine is inedible to the rest of the cast.
  • Although not hot per se (although one variety can melt solid metal), Bianci's "Poison Cooking" technique in Reborn! (2004) can cause any food or later any object, to become dangerous to touch or lethal to injest, with the exception of the prior use of an "Iron Stomach" shot.
  • Anthy's cuisine in Revolutionary Girl Utena includes curry so hot it blows you out of your body and into someones else's.
  • This is pretty much the point of the entirety of Oni cuisine in Urusei Yatsura. Even food that Lum and her family would describe as "bland" has been known to make humans breathe fire and run for the milk.
  • Yoshiko Tsushima has her signature "Tears of a Fallen Angel", a takoyaki variant with a black outer shell and Tabasco instead of a squid filling. Ruby takes one bite and goes into Fire-Breathing Diner mode. She makes a variant in Love Live School Idol Festival ALLSTARS with "Tears of a Fallen Angel - Revolution", now with habanero sauce.
  • Food Wars!: during the Moon Festival Soma Yukihira chalenges Terunori Kuga to see who can make the most money and Soma decides to try to beat Terunori at his own specialty by coming up with a better Chinese food dish. This turns out to be quite a challenge as Terunori is serving an extremely spicy mapo tofu dish that diners can't stop eating despite the pain because the spicy flavors are so well balanced. Soma experiments with making dishes that are even more spicy, inflicting a ton of pain on his test subject Megumi, but soon decides that he can't beat Terunori's expertise in spiciness and eventually comes up with a better mapo tofu dish that is milder.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: Episode 29 had an Escalating War between Kawasaki's restaurant and Dedede's new restaurant with the two competing with spicer and spicier dishes. The entire town, except Kirby, became Fire Breathing Diners. Eventually, Kawasaki invents a curry so hot that tasting one drop causes him to spontaneously combust, a spoonful reduces both Dedede and Escargoon into piles of ash, and it's the only dish to even have Kirby scorching from his mouth.


  • One of Jasper Carrott's most famous routines involves a particular kind of curry called "magmaloo", which was invented in Newcastle because vindaloo and phall were no longer considered powerful enough for the local hard men to use for Macho Masochism purposes. Being from Birmingham, whose curry scene is a matter of no small civic pride, Carrott feels unable to back down from the challenge and tries some. It doesn't end well.

Comic Books

  • A very funny page from a Green Arrow Secret Files issue shows Ollie's famous chili recipe (which is not only an actual recipe, but apparently a very good one, if not really as hot as depicted). The JLA all have horrified reactions to it (including J'onn comparing it to fire and freaking out), with the exception of Superman, who is shown freezing his spoonful with his super-breath before he puts it in his mouth... and Batman, who just thinks it needs more crackers: Link. It comes back in Scooby-Doo! Team-Up revealing that Scooby and Shaggy both can handle the chili, despite flames shooting out of their ears.


  • In Fab Five/Lian Harper: A Chili Reception, Roy Harper/Red Arrow is making his mentor's signiature chili (see Comic Books) with the help of little Lian. When the Titans are called away, Roy leaves his daughter in charge of stirring and watching the chili. To her horror, an explosion knocks over various spices and dumps a ton of salt into the chili; in a panic, she begins throwing in whatever she can grab. Once the chili is served, all of the Titans save Roy try the chili and at first have no reaction. Then Wally begins screaming about it burning, Donna shrieks that she's gone blind, Garth hits the floor and Dick starts choking. Roy is confused up until Lian wails about her mistake, whereupon he scolds his teammates for scaring her. After gently scolding his daughter, Roy decides to try the chili on the table, to Lian and the other Titans' horror...and promptly declares it fantastic and Lian a genius; Lian agrees with him after sampling some herself though both say they need to cut back on the salt, to the other Titans' utter confusion. The story is eventually revealed to have been narrated by Lian to Iris and Jai West, who are both unnerved by the story and freak out when Lian and Roy, who's babysitting the pair, imply the chili is being served for dinner.
  • The fandom tends to take Misato Katsuragi's lack of cooking skill to Lethal Chef levels for fun, but Aeon Natum Engel and its rewrite Aeon Entelechy Evangelion make this actual characterization. Because of brain damage from an injury (the original) or exposure to Leng (the rewrite), Misato can barely smell or taste anything, and has to have her food at weapons-grade spice levels to be able to enjoy it.


  • In Wasabi, the commissaire is discussing the case with his friend Momo in a Japanese restaurant. Before Momo can warn him, Fiorentini is snacking on the offered wasabi by the chunkful, as if it were guacamole, exclaiming after many mouthfuls on how delicious it is. At this point Momo, who knows perfectly well how powerful wasabi normally is and was terrified, seems mollified and tries a tiny bit out of curiosity... and promptly collapses in agony.


  • W. Bruce Cameron's "Chili Judge" is about an inexperienced chili-taster who is selected as a judge in a Texas chili-cooking contest. While the notes from the other two judges talk about the nuanced flavors and proportions of ingredients, the newbie reacts like someone's coating his tongue with flaming LSD (using large quantities of beer to attempt to cool the heat isn't helping his mental state). Has made the rounds via email and the Internet with minor alterations (usually profanity or emphasizing the newbie being from a Northern state), including the altered punchline of one judge wondering how the new guy would cope with spicy chili.


  • Hotroot soup, eaten by otters in the Redwall books. They tend to have contests to see who can load theirs up with the most hotroot without spontaneously combusting.
  • In Discworld, Mustrum Ridcully's powered up version of the Wow-Wow sauce, whose ingredients include scumble, sulphur and saltpetre. And the Vanglemesht Red Python Chili.
  • Ange from Little Brother carries around a spray canister of diluted capsicum.
  • From the Animorphs series comes Cassie's dad's chili, generally considered to be just barely on this side of edible on a good day. Ax loves it, of course.
  • Master of Formalities has chowklud (yes, it sounds like "chocolate", one of the tastiest things in the world) is a Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce that's served with every meal on the planet Cappozzi. To say that it has a strong flavor is to put it mildly. The Cappozzi pride themselves on enduring hardships, so they tend to pour Chowklud all over their food (which is deliberately made bland and tasteless to heighten the effect). It tastes and feels awful, but deals no permanent damage, and some people can grow accustomed to it.

Live-Action TV

  • The Observers from Fringe have little sense of taste, so they always spice up their foods. The first episode to focus on them has one eat a roast beef sandwich topped with eleven jalapenos, an entire bottle of Tabasco sauce and a whole shaker's worth of pepper. Another has them eating whole Bhut Jolokia peppers in an Indian restaurant.
  • MythBusters once tested various methods of curing the burn from chillis (using whole milk as a control). One of them was using wasabi. Grant (who was using jalapeños for the initial burn) was in even worse pain than with the chili peppers alone. Tory (who was using the hotter habaneros) actually got some relief from the wasabi. None of the cures they tried were as good as milk.
  • Adam Richman's lunatic food challenges in Man v. Food very often revolve around insanely large quantities of insanely hot things.
  • During the King of Iron Chefs tournament in Iron Chef, Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi, recognizing that this could be the final battle he does, decides to make his mapo doufu extra extra extra spicy, just the way he'd eat it. The fumes alone were so strong a cameraman had to pull away, coughing. Sumo yokozuna Akebono (who, it should be noted, is a Hawaiian) loved the extra spicy mapo doufu though. By the way, Chen did win that battle and went on to the final.

Newspaper Comics

  • FoxTrot has a number of strips involving Peter accepting dares to put a ridiculous amount of Tabasco sauce on his Mexican food (and suffering the consequences).
    • They've actually done two variations on this. In one, Jason and Peter play a Name That Tune-esque game ("I can eat this taco with five squirts of hot sauce); in another, Peter does it to himself ("Who wants to see me eat this taco with eight squirts of hot sauce?!") as Paige and Jason look on, wryly remarking "Ah, the tears of a clown..."
    • One strip has both Peter and Jason loading up on Tabasco after both have been to the dentist. One wonders about what will happen when the novocaine wears off.
    • Jason also once played a prank on his father by dumping Tabasco sauce into his cup of coffee.
  • In a Garfield strip, where Jon takes Liz to a restaurant:
    Waiter: Not really.
    Guest (offscreen): GAAAHH! MY THROAT! MILK! ICE WATER! ALOE VERA!!!
    Waiter: Unless you're a weenie...
    Jon: Bring it on!
    Liz: Jooooon...
    Guest (offscreen): I CAN'T SEE!


  • In The Goon Show, Major Bloodnok is often introduced suffering the after-effects of one of these.
    Bloodnok: I was finding out what happens when you mix hot Bombay Duck and curried gunpowder. Aeiough!

Video Games

  • The curry in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, originally from Kirby's Dream Land, is so hot it causes characters to run around the stage spitting fire.
  • There's a hot pepper item in Super Mario Galaxy 2 which, if Yoshi eats it, causes him to freak out and start running really fast. It allows you to do things like run over the surface of water and run up (and across) vertical surfaces.
  • In Tales of Monkey Island W.P. Grindstump is the proud owner of a Fugu Jolokia Pepper. He won it by being able to place his tongue on the outer skin of the pepper for a full 10 seconds, and now offers a challenge for anyone who would place their tongue on the pepper for a full 11 seconds! No mean feat, as not only is the pepper spicy beyond all sanity, even on the outer skin (whereas most real-life peppers have their heat in the juice or seeds), but it is also hot temperature-wise to the tongue, to the point that Guybrush's skin nearly burns when he tries touching the pepper with his good hand; he needs to numb up his tongue if he wants to win the challenge.
  • The Sega Genesis game Donald Duck's Quackshot allows to collect hot peppers. Eating enough of them causes him to turn red and throw a temper tantrum, becoming temporarily invincible.
  • In the "Heaven's Feel" arc of Fate/stay night, Shirou meets Kotomine in a restaurant notorious for hellishly brutal mapo tofu Shirou wishes to avoid. Kotomine gulps it down like gazpacho and, to Shirou's disbelief, orders more. When Kotomine offers him some, Shirou abruptly and emphatically refuses.
  • In Persona 4:
    • One of the dishes the Chinese diner Aiya serves is a spicy rice bowl. Eating it will boost your Courage stat.
    • Rise makes food spicy to the point it causes physical pain. While Nanako is able to tolerate Yukiko and Chie's cooking without much issue, she has to struggle to say something even vaguely nice about Rise's. Given Rise grew up in a tofu-making family, one wonders where she got the spice obsession from.
  • Persona 5 has the Phantom Thieves ordering a "Russian Takoyaki" at the school festival, a plate of normal takoyaki topped with a "special" red one that happens to be incredibly spicy. This special red takoyaki also happens to be the one Goro Akechi takes and eats as a fee, much to his chagrin.
  • Starbound has the "Hot Hot Hotpot", a cookable dish that contains chili, meat, avesmingo (the fruit with a hundred flavors) and molten lava. Eating it boosts your speed and max health for a few minutes, as well as set fire to any enemy near you. You also catch fire yourself for five seconds. Eating the hotpot will literally hurt you, but the bonuses can often be worth it.


  • In the Firefly-esque webcomic Crimson Dark, the captain's chili has been described as volcanic. This also leads to one of the funniest moments in the comic.
  • Freefall:
    Florence: It must be so much fun being human. You guys can eat anything. Even the weird stuff like jalapeño peppers. I mean, really. What other species would eat something like that and sit there with nose burning and eyes watering, trying to figure out how to make it even hotter?
    • Mr Raibert's regular pizza order features Carolina Reaper peppers, which measure 1.6 million Scoville heat units (for context, cayenne pepper is only about 40,000, give or take). It's not because he particularly likes the taste; it's because the man considers four hours of sleep per night a luxury and is perfectly willing to bite down on a pizza that has to be handled with safety gear if it'll keep him up for another twenty minutes.
  • In Rhapsodies Blossom isn't allowed to take her curry to potlucks anymore.
  • Sydney of Grrl Power makes a point to offer mortal insult to a new chili restaurant her first time there, just to be sure she gets a sufficiently hot meal.
  • Doc of The Whiteboard attempted to have wings labelled as "Death by Nuclear Inferno" but failed as the fumes took out the cook and are burning their way to the earth's mantle. Roger pretty much demanded all the beer in the place after one plate and a drop of the sauce left a rabbit player imprinted on the wall. Doc, by contrast finished off three plates after only his ears being literally lit on fire and then referring to them as bland!

Western Animation

  • In The Simpsons episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer," Chief Wiggum challenges Homer to try his chili made with extra-hot peppers "grown deep in the jungle primeval by the inmates of a Guatemalan insane asylum." Homer screams in pain with the first taste, but after coating his tongue with wax, he successfully eats four whole peppers to everyone's shock. Then he begins to hallucinate.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender Sokka cannot stand the heat of the Fire Nation delicacy fire flakes, although Mai has no problem snacking on them.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Weekend at Benson's", Benson, Mordecai and Rigby get involved in a hot-sauce drinking contest, and their last course is a concoction their rival calls "Mississippi Queen", consisting of a whole bunch of hot sauces and shellfish mixed in a large sifter. All three drink it down and at first feel just fine. Then the hallucinations start.
    • In the episode "Bachelor Party! Zingo!!", the group comes across a hidden hot wing restaurant called "Wings for Real Men" that offers the Inferno Challenge: Eat a whole bucket of their inferno wings in two minutes and you get free wings for life. The sauce is made of mutated ghost peppers, hot magma extract and black widow venom. Oh, and they throw the blue cheese container against a wall before you start.
  • In the Futurama episode "The Six Million Dollar Mon", Hermes' favorite food is goat curry which is so spicy, it melts through the floor, through the residences below, and eventually hurts the Robot Devil while eating a bowl of fire. It also make Hermes skin so spicy, it melts Roberto while eating a piece of him.
    Hermes: Hmmm, not bad. Needs a little hot sauce.

    Other Dodgy Foods — Real Life 

Cheese and Other Dairy

  • Casu Marzu, a Sardinian delicacy. The cheese gets its unique flavour and odour from the live maggots that inhabit it, but you have to be careful when eating it because said larvae are known to jump into the eyes of diners or live on in their intestines as parasites. Apparently, the best way to eat it is to put it into a paper bag or similar item to suffocate and kill the larvae inside, and then quickly consume it before the larva corpses become toxic.
    • For a short time, Casu Marzu was banned in Sardinia due to the intestinal parasites. As more than one comic quipped, why would you ban something in the only place where people are crazy enough to eat it?
  • At first glance, the French Mimolette and German Milbenkäse are seemingly regular cheeses, albeit with unusual, crumbly crusts. Then you learn that the entire surface of both cheeses are actually covered in countless tiny cheese mites, and that their distinctive crusts are composed of these tiny organisms and their moulted skin and feces.
  • It's almost impossible to get real kefir, a liquid dairy product, in the United States, as it contains so many (harmless) strains of living bacteria, fungi and protozoa that it's considered "contaminated" by FDA standards, even fresh from the vat. Biologists believe that such compound colonies of protozoa, that existed in the bacterial mats on early Earth, were predecessors of all multicell organisms. Genuine kefir is so alive that the lumpy curds it's derived from not only grow larger inside those vats, but actually split in two as they grow due to agitation of the liquid.
  • From the British Isles, we have Stilton, a type of cheese that is REQUIRED to be moldy. This isn't specific to Stilton, it's true of 'most all "blue" cheeses, meaning Roquefort and Gorgonzola are in the same boat. And these aren't the only moldy cheeses. Certain kinds of cheeses allow benign mold to grow on the rind and gradually age the cheese from the outside in.
  • In fact, many cheeses employ microorganisms to impart certain qualities to the cheese as they age. Many cheeses known for their distinctive smell (like limburger) become that way due to being regularly washed in a bacterial culture that then feeds on the proto-cheese and alters its composition.
  • Bog Butter: lumps of butter or lard/tallow sometimes found in peat bogs, mainly around historical Celtic areas like Scotland or Ireland, with dates ranging from Bronze Age to the late Medieval times. Some of them lack any packaging and are clearly intended as offering to gods, while others are carefully wrapped in cloth or straw and packed into insulated wooden containers or even genuine barrels, and show all the signs of planned retrieval and consumption. Fats, as a very nutritious and somewhat rare food was very valuable in the ancient times, and the cold temperature and acidic water of peat bogs helped to conserve it. While the short-term storage changed the product very little, the prolonged storage essentially aged the butter into a sort of very rich cheese, which is an acquired taste, but is still edible even after centuries-long aging: some gutsy archeologists have even tasted the ancient specimens along with the modern recreations.
    • A modern cousin to the bog butter still lives in the Maghreb: in Berber cuisine, a salted clarified butter called smen is spiced with thyme and packed into clay jars that are then buried into the ground to ferment and age it. Like the bog butter, a properly aged smen is said to taste like an old, sharp cheese, and there is a custom to bury a jar of smen when a daughter is born so it can be unearthed and consumed for her wedding (usually as the cooking fat for the wedding feast rather than straight).

Creepy Crawlies

  • There is a specialty restaurant in New York where people pay through the nose to eat such things as deep-fried tarantula. You can also roast them, apparently, together with other delicious creatures, like cockroaches and centipedes among others...
  • People have been known to eat live scorpions. Yes, live as in "still got the poisonous stinger".
  • In Cambodia, certain villages started eating tarantulas under the Khmer Rouge regime due to famine. They got used to it and still eat them. Arachnovores of the world, unite!
  • The Chinese, being averse to waste, have a traditional treat in the Northwest: Fried silkworm pupae. They're sold alive and wiggling their back ends and served stir-fried or deep-fried. Taste is actually quite nice, being reminiscent of cooked sunflower seeds. The trick is to pinch the tail, removing the insect, and slurp the white goo inside.
    • In most silk-producing areas, including Korea and rural Japan, the silkworm pupae are a common rural dish — in the ancient times, it's been a way too valuable protein source to throw them away after the cocoons are ready. BTW, the pupae aren't usually sold live, because they are typically killed by steaming the cocoons before unraveling them, as when the moth comes out of it, it produces enzymes that melt the silk thread, making the cocoon useless. Thus the pupae usually come out already par-cooked, and are only finished by the cook to make them more palatable.
    • The huge silkwormsnote  known as witchetty grubs are a shining example of Australian "bush food", and in some areas represented the most easily and readily available protein source for Aboriginal Australians.


  • Fugu, or Japanese blowfish, carries tetrodotoxin (TTX, one of the most potent neurotoxin in the world) in their skin and internal organs. Death by TTX is extremely nasty: rapid full-body paralysis followed by slow asphyxiation, and the patient remains conscious throughout the ordeal; there is no known antidote and the treatment consists of helping the paralyzed victim get oxygen while waiting for his/her body to process the toxin (one wonders how they discovered which bits were safe to eat). Aspiring fugu chefs must take a 3-year course, and the final exam requires the students to prepare a plate of fugu, then eat it. Only 30% of applicants pass (most of them fail the written portion, EMS is on hand to take care of everyone else). Averted nowadays, as most Japanese restaurants serve farm-raised fugu, whose diet does not contain the poisonous stuff wild fugu eat to get so screamingly toxic. The finished dish is then sprinkled with a very small amount of highly diluted bottled toxin to get the tingly/numb lips and tongue (if the numbness spreads past your neck, go to the nearest emergency room as fast as your and your friend's legs can carry you). Aesthetes claim it's not as good as the wild stuff though.
    • Fugu is supposed to have a narcotic effect. Apparently it's good enough to be worth the risk of waking up in your own grave (the active ingredient is a key component in the zombification process - really, no kidding). What some people will go through just to catch a buzz. It's not a new phenomenon either; one ancient writer outright said that fugu's taste is so delicious that it's well worth the risk of death for a true gourmand.
    • A famous Japanese kabuki actor once killed himself after eating four fugu livers, the most poisonous part of the fish, on a dare. Not at the same time, four separate times in his life.note  Similarly, hobos are known to accidentally ingest it after digging through the trash of restaurants. This is why serving fugu liver is illegal in Japan and why it's considered biohazardous material which must be properly disposed of.
    • The Emperor of Japan is specifically forbidden from eating Fugu. At least one chef feels that it would be quite safe for him to try, and help get rid of the negative "stereotype".
    • The Munchkin Expansion Munchkin Fu has the Fugu card. It gives you a level up... 5/6 of the time. Otherwise, it kills you stone dead.
  • Lutefisk, from Scandinavia. Essentially, you take a perfectly good fish, dry it thoroughly until it resembles a 2x4 plank, and let it rot slightly, then soak it in lye and smoke it. Then, you soak it in water to get all the lye out, boil it, and serve it with innocent mashed potatoes which had done nothing to deserve the treatment. The resulting substance often tastes like a science experiment gone tragically wrong. According to some, the best lutefisk is the kind that can dissolve the silverware used to eat it!
    Cracked: For those of you who don't know, lye (potassium hydroxide/sodium hydroxide) is a powerful industrial chemical used for cleaning drains, killing plants, de-budding cow horns, powering batteries, and manufacturing biodiesel. Contact with lye can cause chemical burns, permanent scarring, blindness or total deliciousness, depending on whether you pour it onto a herring or your own face.
    • Lye is a strong base, so it won't attack silver, but it can cause damage to nickel-based alloys.
    • Eating lutefisk is something of a rite of passage for people who live in Minnesota (which, of course, is largely populated by people of Scandanavian descent). Legends of its origins vary from "way to eat fish that had been stored outdoors" to "food intended as a deliberate poison given by St. Patrick to Viking raiders that was declared a delicacy after they ate and loved it."
    • Properly made lutefisk is delicious, but the problem is that the right amount of time to soak it in lye is in an extremely narrow range. Too little time, and it tastes hideous. Too long and the lye will turn the meat's entire fat-content into soap, because the way soap is usually made is by treating fats with lye.
    • Finns prefer birchwood ash instead of lye as the softening agent. The advantage is that the base of the birchwood ash is potash rather than lye, and it is milder and won't attack the fish fats. Lutefisk prepared with potash usually will not have any rancid odour and the taste is rather pleasant. The risk of saponification (fish fats turning into soap in high pH environment) is minimal compared to lye treatment.
  • Surströmming, which is herring that has been fermented. Sold in tins that are designed to bend and warp, and (on some unfortunate occasions) occasionally burst open, from the gases released during the process. A polarising delicacy, as you either love it or more often, try to avoid it like the plague — quite literally, as a single tin can stink up a whole building (one person in Germany got evicted after the brine was spilled on a stairwell; he sued, and the landlord's defense was to simply open a can of it in the courtroom. The landlord won the case immediately). Most airlines explicitly ban passengers from bringing it aboard planes either as a carry-on or as checked luggage (in large part because the drop in pressure as the plane climbs means a smelly blowout is all but guaranteed). Unsuspecting non-natives have been known to try to alert authorities about biohazards when presented with the dish for the first time.
    • The trick is to open the can under water, such as in a water bucket. The herring itself is not decomposed in the fermentation process as the proteins are not attacked by the bacteria. Jamie Oliver compares it to fish sauce, something that initially smells disgusting but is actually pretty good once you start eating it.
  • Hákarl is an Icelandic meal made by gutting a Greenland or basking shark, burying it in the sand for 6-12 weeks, cutting it up, and hanging it out to dry for several months. It has a high ammonia content, stinks to high heaven, and will usually trigger a first-time eater's gag reflex. Not surprisingly, eating it is, to quote from The Other Wiki, "often associated with hardiness and strength." Mind you, the whole process is a necessary evil if you want to eat the sharks; they otherwise have too much urea in them to be edible.
  • Russians are no slouches in the department of queasy fish, either. Smoked Siberian omul emits an astonishingly strong smell of not exactly fresh fish and aggravates the innocent passengers of the Trans-Siberian rails to no end.
    • Russians are fond of salting and air-drying fish in general, and actually do this to any fish and/or seafood they encounter, and if the fish has fermented a little too well, then what's a little smell among the friends. In fact, such foods have a distinctive name ("s dushkom", literally "with a litte smell"note ), and are considered a particular delicacy by some.
    • Actually, the many varieties of dried and/or salted fish are quite divisive in Russia. People would protest the smell and the mess that's created by eating that kind of delicacy, with small pieces of fish skin everywhere. Could go very well with beer, though.
  • Japanese have kusaya, a sort of a middle ground between the surströmming and hakarl, in that the fish is first salt-fermented like the former, and then air-dried like the latter. Even dried, it still stinks to the high heaven, thus the name, but the taste is quite agreeable, much like the Russian example above.
  • Hongeo-hoe is fermented skate from the southern coast of Korea. Skates secrete uric acid through the skin instead of urinating, and like Hákarl, needs to be fermented to be (barely) edible. Its odour has been described as being "like a public outhouse".
  • The Egyptian spring festival of Sham el-Nessim involves a lot of people going on picnics and eating at least some of the three traditional foods of the season: romaine lettuce, lupini beans, and fesikh. The first two are self-explanatory; the last is what belongs in this list. Fesikh is a dish consisting of sun-dried, salted, and fermented gray mullet. The stuff stinks to high heaven during preparation and doesn't smell much better once prepared (the odor is sometimes compared to urine—if the witness is being charitable). Every year, the Egyptian government advises people to please be careful where they are getting their fesikh from this Sham el-Nessim because dodgy fesikh regularly sickens or even kills a few people. Still, the dish has an ancient pedigree (possibly even an Ancient pedigree), so the people aren't giving it up.note 
  • There are three little words that will strike fear (and nausea) into the heart of any city-dwelling American: gas station sushi. The reputation of such products (being on display well past expiration day or not given proper refrigerating due to, respectively, terrible logistics in the supply-to-replace cycle and technical problems in the refrigerator) is bad enough to border on Stock "Yuck!". There are even (apocryphal) reports of at least two person suffering worm infection after eating gas station sushi.
  • Chile and the southern side of Peru have their share of oceanic dishes that can send foreigners into a panic. Unlike most on this side of the list, however, they're not common fish prepared strangely, but rather applying regular cooking techniques to creatures that border on bizarre. Piures are among the most notorious, looking like sacks of bleeding organs inside an otherwise normal rock and can be eaten raw or cooked; their taste may vary, going from bitter, soapy and iodine-flavored to sea urchins but better. Picorocos may be more universally liked, but they get a honorable mention by way of being enormous barnacles that look like a cross between a shrimp and a half-hatched facehugger on the inside of the shell.

Military Rations

Feeding large armies in the field has led to some rather creative and unique solutions over the centuries:

  • Hardtack: An incredibly dense and hard form of bread, valued more for the fact that it will never go bad if kept dry than for its edibility.
    • U.S. Civil War: The standard Civil War solution to consuming it was to whack it against a hard surface to knock most of the weevils out, then soaking it in your cup of coffee to soften it up enough to chew. Still consumed in a few places a long way away from regular resupply. Taste-wise, though, it isn't so much bad as it is bland. Think of a biscuit or cookie made out of unsalted hard pretzel dough and you'll have an idea of what it tastes like.
    • Finland: Hardtack bread belongs to the daily diet of the Finnish Armed Forces. The usual slang name is vaneri (literally "veneer" or "plywood"), with mess halls called Valtion vanerimurskaamo (State Plywood Crushery). Incredibly, many conscripts actually develop a taste for it.
    • The D Ration Bar is essentially the modern warfare equivalent of hardtack. It was essentially a chocolate bar designed to be heat resistant and extremely dense, so that it would be viable for any type of climate as well as being extremely compact yet high in calories so that it could serve as a meal substitute in emergencies (the soldier was only expected to eat it for maybe 2-3 days; afterwards it's expected he'd at least get something like a K-ration, the period equivalent of an MRE). However, to prevent troops from snacking on itnote , the colonel who requested it asked for it to taste "slightly better than a boiled potato". This, combined with the fact that most soldiers couldn't even chew it (some had to shave off bits with a knife and eat the shavings), meant that they would rather starve than eat the damn thing. Later iterations of the bar recognized this problem and were made slightly more palatable.
    • Korea: Hardtack is such an integral part of Korean military life that combat uniform thigh pockets are called "hardtack pockets" because that's where soldiers keep their snacks. Not only is it a hardy way of providing fuel to soldiers, a lot of manufacturers include a small packet of candy in each packet of hardtack, meaning that soldiers have another treat to look forward to. And because military service is mandatory in Korea, hardtack has become a popular snack in general as a lot of men will seek it out because of the memories they associate with it and share it with their children.
    • Russia: Traditionally, instead of baking a special sort of bread, normal loaves were sliced and baked/dried in the oven for the second time (just like some varieties of hardtack), resulting in diamond-hard croutons called sukhari (literally, "dries"). Later, shortly after the WWII, Soviet military switched to cracker-like "galety" mentioned below, because they were more palatable, and being canned in packaging similar to the small-arms ammo,note  the shelf-life wasn't an issue anymore.
      • Around same time the canned bread was developed for submarine crews, because nothing could save the dried bread from soaking in the wet, dirty submarine air, resulting in swift spoilage, and baking fresh bread in the notoriously cramped diesel boats of the time was out of question. Again, the freshly baked loaves were taken out of the oven, soaked in neutral spirits to preserve them, and then packed into cans. Before serving, the cook would take the bread out of the can, reheat it in the special oven to boil off the alcohol, and serve it as if it was a normal freshly baked bread. Reportedly, the method worked perfectly, resulting in a product virtually indistinguishable from the normal bread, but sneaking the cans of alcohol-soaked bread from the storage after the mission became a favorite sailor feat and pastime, so the later, larger boats— especially nuclear ones with their much larger living spaces and energy budgets, not to mention several dedicated cooks (including a baker)— had normal bread ovens instead.
    • National People's Army of East Germany took the abovementioned concept of canned bread a step further. There were two variants of it, both providing rye bread. The first was a small, cylindrical loaf packed into a can that was good to eat after opening, tasting like regular, day-old rye bread, and providing a serving of fresh bread for a meal for a single soldier. But the other variant was far more (in)famous: a raw dough packaged in much bigger cans, large enough to feed ten men at once. The can with the mix, unopened, had to be put into a pot with boiling water and cooked this way for about 45 minutes. Take it out too soon and the bread dough was still unbaked. Keep it too long and the can would open up from the building pressure, soaking the bread with the boiling water. Don't maintain full soak of the can for the duration and the bread would be uneven and half-baked. However, if done right, it was a loaf of regular, if oddly shaped rye bread. After the German reunification, both variants were readily accessible in mil-surplus stores in Germany during the 90s (having expiration dates for late 00s) and gained particular popularity among hobby sailors, since you could easily get a loaf of fresh bread despite lack of oven to make regular bread and being few weeks already on the high seas.
    • Other: Hardtack is still a mainstay of many a combat ration around the world, though the modern versions, like Japanese kanpan or Russian galety, are made with salt and shortening, making them basically indistinguishable from the normal crackers, and thus much more palatable. This is possible as the modern packagingnote  allows these much richer crackers to be kept almost as long as the simple hardtack of the past.
  • MRE's: The distant successor of Hardtack is the Meal, Ready to Eat (MRE) series of meals, the combat ration of the U.S. Armed Forces. Keeps for years and can be prepared in 15 minutes by literally just adding water, which reacts with the heating element to cook the pouch of food. On the downside, it's notorious for being extremely dry and even causing constipation (a common joke in the American services is that "MRE" stands for "Meal, Refusing to Exit", and Al Franken, on a USO tour in Iraq,note  once joked that of the five MREs he'd had, "none had found an exit strategy"). They see wide use in the military, where keeping up with one's nutritional needs on the go is a very high priority, but American civilians who really want to try them can easily purchase them at the local surplus store.
    • MREs are so dense-packed with calories, carbs, protein and other nutrients that a single meal has well over 1000 calories in a relatively small amount of food. For the unprepared, it's like crapping bricks.
    • Flavor-wise, opinions on MREs vary from being actually pretty good to being completely terrible, but the original MREs were universally despised, leading to them acquiring the nickname "Meals Rejected by Everyone/the Enemy/Ethiopians" and various other e words. This got especially pronounced during the first Gulf War, when a shipping error led to ham MREs being accidentally sent to Saudi troops, who were, of course, Muslims. The nearest US force had to trade all their chicken and beef MREs to the Saudis, resulting in them being stuck eating nothing but ham MREs for weeks.
  • On the Canadian side of the border is the IMP. No, not that one note note , it stands for "Individual Meal Pack", but imp meat might be an ingredient for all we know. They're effectively MREs in design and intent, albeit packaged in a little brown brick, with different meal options, and an utter lack of a heating pouch. For the most part they range from edible to decent, but God have pity on you and your ancestors if you're forced to eat the "poutine" which is this trope full-stop. It's telling enough that it's poutine Canadians don't want to eat, but it's most commonly described by the troops as cold slugs drenched in brown mucus.
  • Cold-weather rations and some early Russian rations can be this for people not acclimated to extreme cold. Because when you're in cold conditions your body burns massive amounts of calories, these foods are almost universally (and quite literally) drenched in salt and fat. When used in the proper climate, these are rather tasty. Eating them in warm climates? Absolutely disgusting.

Fruits and Questionable Vegetables

  • Kimchi, Korean pickled vegetables, can be quite off-putting to those not used to itnote . The most popularly known type, baechu kimchi (made using Chinese cabbage), smells overwhelmingly of garlic and chili powder. The odor will permeate everything in a refrigerator if kimchi is improperly stored or even render the appliance completely useless. For this reason, Korean companies sell dedicated kimchi refrigerators and regular refrigerators with a separate kimchi section below the fridge and freezer. Many people add jeotgal (fermented seafood like squid and oysters) when making kimchi, adding greatly to the pungency. And the smell only gets stronger as kimchi continues to ferment until it crosses the line from pickled to spoiled (the smell will go from sharp to sour). Non-Koreans who are more familiar with the lightly fermented kimchi served in restaurants or sold in non-Korean supermarkets may find themsevles overwhelmed when trying properly made kimchi for the first time.
  • Cloves, a seasoning typically found in small quantities in Indian food; they are occasionally boiled whole in something to season it instead of powdered and added. Biting into a clove is easily enough to numb an area of your mouth entirely, which is why eugenol, the chemical that gives cloves their distinctive flavor, is frequently used as a topical painkiller and disinfectant in dentistry.
    • Not just Indian food. Whole cloves can be found in several traditional winter dishes in Germany as well, such as plum preserves (both simple home-canned fruit and a kind of marmelade made by slow-cooking the plums with several spices but not much sugar until you get a thick, brown mush to spread on bread) and red cabbage (cooked with vinegar, apples, raisins and cloves and used like cranberry sauce as a side-dish for festive poultry dinners). In both cases, you usually have to take care to spit the cloves out while eating, as there is no feasible way to strain them from the food before serving.
    • Eugenol also makes a fine filler cement and root canal sealant when mixed with the zinc oxide. Remember that weird spicy-medicinal smell always hanging around dentists? It's the eugenol, usually used in its raw form — directly as a clove oil.
  • The durian fruit, known for its notoriously strong odor. So strong, in fact, that metro systems and hotels in Southeast Asia, where durians come from, are known for banning them. Said odor has been compared to everything from raw sewage to rotting flesh. The fruit itself has a tough husk covered entirely with the kind of spikes that a cactus would envy. One must wonder how hungry someone must have been to say to himself "the inside of that spiky ball might contain something delicious."note  Though, for some people, it is delicious; its flavor has been described as "savory, sweet, and creamy all at once" and "having a hint of chives mixed with powdered sugar". Others have described it as diced garlic and caramel poured into whipped cream. The only inoffensive way to consume it is by eating a freeze-dried version, which keeps most of the taste, but loses the smell almost entirely, or durian flavored foods, such as ice cream, which have a much milder smell.
  • Nattō, aka fermented Japanese soybeans. Sticky, stinks like hell,note  and tastes very bitter, though it's sometimes said that if your natto is bitter then it's spoiled. It's occasionally used in Japanese media as a stock gross-out food. Even the original Iron Chef used it twice as the theme ingredient. Both battles (one versus Michiba, the other versus Morimoto; both prevailed) featured challengers that were sticklers for tradition.
  • Lemons. They are great for making a sweet drink and flavoring things, but you have to be pretty masochistic to eat a lemon by itself.

Alleged Eggs

  • Balut, a boiled duck or chicken egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside. Although a popular snack in such countries as Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines, its unfamiliarity to most Westerners has made it a standard "gross-out" food challenge in such reality game shows as Survivor and Fear Factor. Unlike most examples, the dish itself is merely horrifying in concept and looks (its flavor is somewhere between a cooked egg and cooked chicken), but given what it is, it's actually not that much worse than the bird it would have become, and foreigners who can get past the aesthetics will enthusiastically eat it and ask for more.
  • Century Eggs are another Chinese delicacy that often sends foreigners up a hill in revolt. It's an egg that has gone through a fermentation process in alkali that turns the entire egg black and the yolk into a gooey grey mush. Its taste is extremely pungent and polarizing; you either love it or will puke at the merest taste. This is due to the high amounts of iron within the egg (which, given the color, you wouldn't be blamed if you thought there was only iron left in it). The legend on how it's made isn't exactly pleasant either; the rumor is that it was invented by someone soaking eggs in horse urine, doubtless because of its strong ammonia smell.
    • In short, it's a Chinese answer to a Norwegian lutefisk, only made with eggs instead of a cod, but similarly polarizing.
  • Speaking of urine, another type of weird Chinese egg is the "Young Boy Egg" (Or Virgin Boy Egg). It's made by boiling eggs in the urine of 10 year old boys. It's currently considered by UNESCO to be a cultural delicacy and also considered a type of folk medicine.


  • YouTube has hundreds of videos of people eating things they probably shouldn't such as straight capsaicin right from the bottle. Just one example is This infoMania Viral Video Film School. Please don't become one of these people.
  • Everything mentioned in the Steve, Don't Eat It! series of articles from The Sneeze (except perhaps the "tree brain," which a mushroom fan would instantly recognize as not only edible, but delicious—as Steve found out). If you think the dog treats and pickled pork rinds look unappetising, wait till you see the silkworm cocoons and fungus-infected corn.
  • The Travel Channel and its sister network The Food Channel have hosts delve into this area regularly:
  • Cracked:
    • The 6 Most Terrifying Foods in the World. Items not listed elsewhere on this page include:
      • #6: Escamoles, the larvae and pupae (the article incorrectly states it is the eggs) of a species of large and very venomous ant, which are surprisingly delicious, but expensive due to how difficult they are to collect.
      • #3: Baby Mice Wine, rice wine with baby mice fermented in it.
      • #2: Pacha, boiled sheep's head.
    • 9 Horrifying Foods You Won't Believe People Actually Eat. Items not listed elsewhere on this page include:
      • #9: Odori Don, a bowl that includes an octopus or squid so freshly killed that it is still squirming and may choke you if you try to eat it.
      • #8: Sourtoe Cocktail, a cup of an alcoholic beverage with a preserved, frostbitten human toe in it donated by helpful (if unlucky) mountain climbers. You don't actually eat the toe, but it is required that the toe touch your lips when you drink it.
      • #7: Drunken Shrimp, live shrimp soaked in a strong alcoholic beverage to make them less resistant to being Eaten Alive.
      • #6: Fruit Bat Soup, a soup that includes a completely intact fruit bat. Not even the fur is removed and you eat the entire thing down to the bones. Eating this has the potential to cause you to get multiple brain diseases at the same time due to the toxic plants the bats eat. Plus bats are known to carry several potentially deadly viruses. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, an urban legend sprouted that a dish like this was what infected Patient Zero (naturally there's no proof).
      • #5: Uni, the gonads of a sea urchin. You may have seen this at sushi restaurants.
      • #4: Witchetty Grubs, the four inch long larva of the cossid moth, eaten alive with no preparation at all.
      • #3: Blood Clams, a species of clam that produces an excessive amount of hemoglobin so appears to have Overdrawn at the Blood Bank, traditionally cooked for only about 20 seconds and so are almost raw. They actually are illegal in China because they have a high chance of giving you hepatitis, but people eat them anyway because they are apparently delicious.
      • #2: An entire meal prepared from various parts of a freshly slaughtered cobra, including the cobra's still beating heart eaten raw and a drink made from the cobra's bile and venom (most snake venoms are harmlessly destroyed by digestion as long as you don't have any wounds or ulcers in your mouth or digestive tract though which they can get into your blood).
  • This video by Good Enough, The Deadliest Foods in the World:
    • #4: Larb, a salad dish originating in Laos and popular in other Southeast Asian countries which often contains uncooked meat.
    • #3: San-Nakji, an octopus that is still moving, either freshly cut into pieces or eaten whole and alive, which is a major choking hazard as the suction cups may stick to the inside of your throat.
    • #1: Any meat purchased from an exotic meat market, which are known for being vary unsanitary and for keeping live animals in poor conditions where diseases can easily spread and few safety precautions are followed. COVID-19 is suspected to have originated from such a market.
  • Pufferfish don't thrive in the Baltic, but Finns have their own version of cuisinal Russian Roulette: the false morel mushroom (Gyromitra esculenta). False morel is one of the three most lethally toxic mushrooms in the world (the other two are death cap and destroying angel), but unlike those two, fortunately the poison can be extracted from false morels. The usual way to detoxify false morel is parboiling (boiling the mushrooms really fast and throwing the water away, repeating it at least three times), which will (hopefully) render the mushroom edible. Once detoxified, the mushroom itself is utterly delicious. All Finnish schoolchildren are taught how to prepare false morels and all false morels sold fresh in Finland are required by law to be supplied with a warning and preparation guide. Canned false morels have been already processed so they contain no poison. The poison of the false morel is gyromitrin, which will metabolize into highly toxic monomethyl hydrazine, known better as rocket fuel, which damages the central nervous system, liver and kidneys, and is probably carcinogenic too. Fortunately, only two Finns (both small children who accidentally ate raw false morel) are known to have died from gyromitrine poisoning during the 20th century, and none during the 21st.
    • Russians eat false morels, too, along with various other dubiously edible mushrooms. Poisonings occur regularly.
  • Many monks during the Middle Ages, in an attempt to make their food less pleasurable, would sprinkle various powders on it to make it bitter. At least one (who later became a saint) is known to have done this to an extent that another monk who tasted it was laid out for three days with nausea.
  • Any place where you can choose what goes in what you want (as in a sandwich, milkshake, etc.) typically has a few disgusting options for the sake of it. An example being a milkshake with pickled beetroot and custard.
  • Mämmi, the Finnish Easter delicacy. It is basically unleavened rye pudding. Its taste is simultaneously sour and sweet, and it is usually eaten with cream. Yet it looks exactly like human excrement.
    • It is also called poop pudding, not just because it looks like poop, but also because it helps your body with digestion.
  • Everything from The Old Wolf's Banquet from Hell, from a certain point of view.
  • The Heart Attack Grill. Not so much the taste so much as how disgustingly unhealthy their options are. Their options include fries cooked in pure lard, milkshakes made from butter fat, and more infamously, the "Quadruple Bypass" burger, a four-patty burger that easily tops 9,500 calories, over four times the generally-recommended daily intake for most adults. Since their introduction, they've since gone up to the "Octuple Bypass" burger. The best part is, customers who weigh over 350 pounds and weigh in with staff get to eat a meal for free. And yes, people have suffered fatal heart attacks there.
  • Stinky tofu, popular in parts of China, lives up to its name. It smells like concentrated sewage mixed with vomit, and you can usually smell if a street stall is frying it from several blocks away. The proper fermentation process takes months, and enterprising street vendors have been known to take shortcuts... Notable in that stinky tofu proved to be the one food too unpalatable for Andrew Zimmern. While he found that a mild version sold by a street vendor to be delicious despite the bad smell, when he tried a much stronger version from a specialty restaurant, he found that he couldn't even swallow the first bite he tried due to the overwhelming rancid taste.
  • The Spartan black soup. There is a famous case of a person from Sybaris (a Greek colony in southern Italy which had a reputation for gourmet cooking and luxurious living)note  tasting it and saying, in effect, "now I know why Spartans don't give a damn about dying in battle". The Spartans, from their side, claimed that it's quite edible if you live like a man — that is, exercise like a Spartan and swim in ice-cold rivers (or as is reported in Plutarch, "To savor this broth, one must first bathe in the Eurotas"note ). Unsurprisingly, no genuine recipe survived, though it's been known from description to contain, in addition to the pig's feet broth, the very same pig's blood, flavored with salt and vinegar, and fortified with chunks of stale bread, and, probably, lentils. No wonder that it was considered an acquired taste. Tasting History tried to make a semi-authentic recipe, and considered it to be not exactly terrible, but probably not something you'll be itching to make when fall weather rolls around, either.
    • There are plenty of recipes from around the world that are basically a way not to waste the nutritious, but fast-spoiling blood of a just-slaughtered animal. And there are plenty of "bread soup" recipes designed to use up stale bread. It's just basic poor-people-food. Europe has various kinds of "blood sausage" (or "black pudding" in the British Isles), which is basically the same as described above, minus the lentils and vinegar, and likely replacing the bread with oats or similar, if it's mass-produced. And while the blood-and-grain mush is normally used as a sausage stuffing, there's a version from East German school meals that was served without the casing, resulting in something that looks exactly like a bad case of diarrhea. It was colloquially known as "Dead Granny". Though at least that dish was cooked. There's are several dishes in Southeast Asia that are based on congealed, raw blood. See also The Other Wiki's lengthy article on blood as food.
  • Blood Tofu is not in fact blood-flavored tofu, but blood congealed with salt then cut into tofu blocks. Taste-wise, it is slightly milder than straight up blood with the texture of tofu, though it's also known to take on the flavor of the broth that it's cooked in. To those who don't know what it is, it might be palatable and interesting. Once they know what it is, 90% of the time the implication will cause them to gag. It is another one of those foods that is an acquired taste.
  • Sour candy. While a lot of sour candy is pretty mild, some sour candies are so sour that they can mild burns on the tongue and mouth if too many are eaten at once and so have to have warnings on the box. Really strong sour candies are marketed with really scary names like Warheads or Toxic Waste.
  • Australian conservationists, in an effort to further the battle against the dreaded cane toad, have actually been promoting the idea of people eating them; they even showed up in an episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. The reason this qualifies is, beyond the Stock "Yuck!" of cooked frog's legs, cane toads are covered in toxin-secreting glands with a poisonous mucus so virulent that it can kill crocodiles, which is why the only predators in Australia that can eat them are meat ants, as invertebrates aren't affected by the toad's poison. (Yep, the little bastards are too toxic even for the Land Down Under — or more specifically, toxic in a way that Australia wasn't used to, cane toads being invasive and all.) So, an improperly prepared dish of cooked cane toad can legitimately kill its diner, which has led the idea's original proponents to backpedal and persuade people to only eat meat from professionally butchered toads.
  • Kuchikamizake is a Japanese alcoholic beverage that is made using human saliva. Rice is chewed up in a human mouth then spat out and left to ferment. In South America, a similar alcoholic drink named chicha de muko, which is prepared from chewed cassava or maize.
    • In fact, before koji mold (which can convert the starches in the rice into the sugars digestible to the yeasts) was discovered, all sake was produced that way: yeasts cannot digest starch as such, and needs some enzymes to break it into digestible sugars. In the beermaking, these enzymes are supplied by the malt, and in modern sake manufacturing by the koji mold, but before that people had to rely on the human saliva, which also has them. Note also that the chewed rice or corn is only a part of the whole grain bill, most of which contains of fresh (or steamed) grain.
  • A number of unintentional examples occurred in the book Tales from a Forager's Kitchen, written by Instagram star and food blogger Johna Holmgren, who isn't a certified nutritionist, herbalist, or health professional. It was full of recipes containing raw ingredients that people quickly found were inedible, toxic, or just plain disgusting without being cooked, including morel mushrooms dipped in chocolatenote , a frozen elderberry smoothienote , a pumpkin soup recipe with raw acornsnote , raw cinnamon rolls with activated charcoalnote  and a French toast recipe that suggested soaking wild rice, but not cooking it. As a result, the book was swiftly recalled so people wouldn't try the recipes in it and get themselves sent to the emergency room... or the morgue.
  • Most pills taste absolutely horrible if bitten into. This is probably a good thing since you're not supposed to crush or chew pills in most cases, or eat more of them than you're supposed to.
  • Kiviak may be one of the most disgusting sounding foods in the world. It is hundreds of small birds fermented whole for months inside of a dead seal, and then eaten raw by sucking out the birds' liquefied insides. People have died as a result of eating kiviak prepared using the wrong species of bird. The Inuit people of Greenland invented this so that they would have something to eat during the winter months when food is scarce. It tastes kind of like cheese.
  • The Turkish flavor of culinary Russian Roulette is deli bal, which is honey made from the nectar of a particular species of rhododendron blossom, which contains Grayanotoxin, a neurotoxin that in small quantities is hallucinogenic, thus earning this food its Anglophone nickname: mad honey.
  • Marmite (as well as a handful of similar products like Vegemite) is a spread made from the yeast leftover from making beer mixed with a ton of salt and eaten on toast or crackers. There is a very good reason why they advertise it as Love It or Hate It. ASDF Movie even did an Our Product Sucks advertisement for marmite that depicts marmite as a Jerkass who does things like eating your pet pony and sleeping with your wife in front of you, which probably is what it makes you feel like it is doing when you taste it.
  • Nutraloaf, a food served to misbehaving prisoners in the US and formerly Canada that consists of various ingredients including meat, fruit, vegetables, grains, etc. blended up and baked into a meatloaf-like shape. It's been described as "a thick orange lump of spite with the density and taste of a dumbbell." In Chicago's Cook County Jail, one prisoner went on a hunger strike rather than eat it. Multiple lawsuits have been filed, alleging that serving the stuff qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment. A dining critic tried it:
    The mushy, disturbingly uniform innards recalled the thick, pulpy aftermath of something you dissected in biology class: so intrinsically disagreeable that my throat nearly closed up reflexively. But the funny thing about Nutraloaf is the taste. It’s not awful, nor is it especially good. I kept trying to detect any individual element—carrot? egg?—and failing. Nutraloaf tastes blank, as though someone physically removed all hints of flavor. “That’s the goal,” says Mike Anderson, Aramark’s district manager. “Not to make it taste bad but to make it taste neutral.” By those standards, Nutraloaf is a culinary triumph; any recipe that renders all 13 of its ingredients completely mute is some kind of miracle.
  • Camels are capable of eating cactuses thanks to their extremely tough throats, and not just the little puny cactuses, but also the ones covered in inch-long spikes. They do this because food can be hard to come by in a desert. It doesn't appear to hurt them, but it's still hard to watch videos of them doing this.
  • There was a period in the 20th century when the middle class suddenly had access to a new variety of foods and food storage options, meaning they could try out unprecedented food pairings in an imitation of "upper-class" foods. This led to a culinary Cambrian explosion of doomed dishes like lime cheese Jell-o salad or ham and banana hollandaise. Author James Lileks has quite a compilation gathered in his Gallery of Regrettable Food. Note that most of these dishes don't even look appetizing in their glamour shots.
  • As detailed in this video by Brew, there is a disturbing trend on social media of people consuming putrid raw meat because it can allegedly get you high and because they think it has probiotic benefits. Definitely Don't Try This at Home. It is very likely to give you serious food poisoning. Proper fermentation and other kinds of food aging are very different processes than decomposition that don't allow the growth of dangerous bacteria, and even fresh raw meat can contain all kinds of bad bacteria and parasites so trying this is a really unsafe idea. (Also it won't actually get you high.)
  • In Binging with Babish, Andrew aims to recreate foods seen in fiction as accurately as possible. Because many dishes in fiction are solely intended for the realm of fantasy, expect quite a few of these like the Car Panini or the Every-Meat Burrito. There are even cases where he goes out of his way to make the dish potentially dangerous. For example, for his take of the Death Sandwich, he figured out how to make it with Fugu so that, while it wouldn't kill you if it was eaten wrong, it would if it was prepared wrong.
  • A few articles on Sydlexia have Syd attempting to eat horribly out-of-date cereals and other foods. Some of them end up surprisingly edible, but others, such as the Cabbage Patch Kids cereal, cause him some consequences post-consumption.

    Other Dodgy Foods — Fiction 

Anime and Manga

  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You: Chapter 83 centers on a ramen shop owner attempting to create an unbeatable challenge dish, and Moving the Goalposts whenever one of Rentarou's girlfriends beats the new iteration. Some of the dishes delve into this category:
    • It starts with a "spicy-as-hell" challenge ramen, which Kusuri and Yaku beat due to their Professor Guinea Pig habits leaving them Unaffected by Spice.
    • The next dish is a "hot-as-hell" challenge ramen, which is kept hot by a lit flame under the bowl. Resident masochist Iku is the one to complete the challenge.
    • After this, the owner crafts a "steamy-as-hell" challenge ramen, so steamy it would blind anyone who tried to eat it. Mei completes the challenge without any difficulty.
    • The owner goes on to make a "tough-as-hell" challenge ramen, made with a tough slab of meat. Karane struggles at first, but Momiji tenderizes the meat, enabling the former to complete the challenge.
    • A later iteration is the "stupid-as-hell" challenge ramen, made to look too disgusting for anyone to want to eat. Unfortunately, one of the focal ingredients was a Big Mac, the Trademark Favorite Food of reverse Occidental Otaku Naddy.
    • The final version is a "massive-as-hell" challenge ramen, made with every ingredient in the ramen store and bigger than the owner herself. So, of course, the one to take this challenge is Kurumi.
  • Tadashi of Onidere is one of two people able to eat Saya's cooking. Every time someone tries it, there is a flashback to the worst pain they have ever endured, and then a multiplier. For Tadashi it was 30 times worse than stubbing his little toe as a child. That was the first bite. The tea served afterwards? Five times worse than the entire meal.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, anything that England cooks is this, due to his preparation. The only character who can eat his food without suffering is America, since he grew up eating his food (he doesn't like it, however). Finland's food is also this, due to the ingredients such as salmiakki, and even his dog describes it as "poison".
  • In Ranma ½, Cologne gets a hold of an order of Chinese noodles with an absolutely horrific taste (they managed to knock her, Shampoo, and Mousse out, they were so vile.) But she has crates and crates of the stuff, so, to get rid of it, the Cat Cafè holds a contest: she'll hide a mystical "noodle of strength" in a mountain of the rancid ones. Cue the egotistical martial artists in town (and a few Muggles) scarfing their way to the (quite literal) afterlife. Oh, and the strength-giving noodle? It tasted even worse. And it didn't work as advertised.
    • Again, when Ukyou was sick and Ranma, Akane, and Konatsu volunteered to tend to her restaurant, Akane's okonomiyaki were so gruesome no one would eat them. Ranma is then inspired to hold a similar contest, with a prize going to whoever could finish their whole meal. Akane was not amused.
    • And also related to Akane: after a whole saga involving her trying to get Ranma to eat her home-made cookies, he finally takes them just to make her happy. He spends the next week bedridden. The several dozen incriminating photographs he had disposed of earlier probably didn't help.
    • The very first time Akane's cooking entered the scene, Ranma and Genma retched and gagged, but didn't even call Akane out on it (yet) and instead just ran away. When Ryoga tasted it, he was visibly in serious pain but he kept grinning madly and eating it just for the joy of having Akane's cooking. In the original manga version, cue Ranma himself forcing himself to eat it just to prove to Akane that he liked it too (in other words, to prevent from being "shown up" by Ryoga). Needless to say, that was the last time in the series he would dare to try giving her cooking a chance, and otherwise would have to be forced to eat it.
  • A very literal masochist's meal is prepared in MM!, when Mio attempts to make squid ink pasta. (Key word: attempts.) The first to try it is Tarou, the masochist who enjoys any pain or discomfort inflicted on him by a girl. Naturally, he loves it. Then a couple other people try it...
  • Some ingredients on Toriko are even more dangerous to eat than they are to catch or prepare. In the "Gourmet Casino" arc, Toriko eats a Nitro Cherry and barely survives since it's like eating a lit stick of dynamite. And he only survived because he ate two other masochistic foods — the Dynami-Dragonfly, another explosive ingredient that reduces the effects of other explosives, and the Troll Cheese, whose foul odor messed up Toriko's super sense of smell so that he wouldn't succumb to the Nitro Cherry's fumes. Near the end of the arc, he eats a Poison Potato, the most poisonous food in the world, one that not even Coco can fully neutralize. Luckily for Toriko, the Poison Potato is compatible with his Gourmet Cells, so he gets a powerup instead of a nasty death.
  • All food with the exception of coffee and water is this to the titular Ghouls of Tokyo Ghoul. It tastes incredibly vile to them, often causing them to become violently ill — tricks have been developed to pass for human by swallowing small bites whole, creating the illusion of eating without having to taste it. However, their bodies cannot digest the food and if they don't throw it up within a short period of time, it will make them seriously ill. Because her Muggle Best Friend is a Supreme Chef, Touka frequently forces down human meals for her friend and makes herself ill. On the other hand, Kaneki gives some horrifying descriptions of what human food tastes like, often comparing it to rotting garbage or various inedible substances.
  • Fairy Tail includes a species of allegedly edible fish which taste terrible no matter what you do to try and prepare them. Naturally, they are often the only available source of food.
  • Food Wars!:
    • Jouichiro Yukihira is widely considered a god in the culinary world, and his son Soma is, at age 15, already looking like he will surpass his dad. Both are capable of turning out dishes that are literally Better than Sex, but they also take delight in experimenting with flavor combinations that God never intended to see the light of day. The standouts so far are Soma's charcoal-grilled squid tentacles with peanut butter and Jouichiro's dried sardines in strawberry jam. When Soma sees one of his dorm-mates collapse after sampling one of Jouichiro's dishes (snake, boiled with the skin on), he immediately tries it and:
      Oh, pops, this is legendarily bad!
      I know, right?! Straight into the ten best bad recipes!
    • Nao Sadatsuka actually specialized in masochistic food, and is even a masochist herself who enjoys being verbally abused. During the Autumn Elections, the curry dish she prepares is explicitly compared to BDSM by the judges who taste it because it looks and smells awful, but you can't stop eating it once you taste it. During the Moon Festival, her booth serves several foul smelling foods listed in the real life section of this page and she connects with Soma over their shared love of disgusting food.
  • A quite literal case appears in Blend-S. Maika accidentally puts vinegar, salt and Tabasco hot sauce into her limited time menu dessert, mistaking them for vanilla extract, sugar, and food colouring respectively. The dessert actually becomes a hit with the customers due to Maika being the cafe's "sadist waitress" servicing a bunch of masochist customers.
  • Miia's cooking in Monster Musume is terrifying. Despite this, Ren Kunanzuki, the daughter of Rachnera's previous host family, manages to finish an entire plate of it even though the smell alone caused her to pass out after every bite. No one else even bothers to eat it, they just feed it to Suu since she's immune to being poisoned.
    • Justified and Discussed, since as the characters note, carnivorous reptiles like Miia have far fewer taste buds than omnivores like humans do.
  • At the end of the Fish-Man Island Arc in One Piece, Zoro and Sanji got into a fight where Sanji threatened to put shards of glass and metal in Zoro's next meal. The next time Zoro was seen eating, he seemed to be chewing something incredibly hard. According to Word of God, Sanji did indeed follow up on his threats.
  • In Spy X Family, the only one who can eat Lethal Chef Yor's cooking is her brother Yuri, who grew up eating it. He still suffers vomiting and bleeding, all the while saying he loves it (other people are simply knocked out cold).
  • One episode of Slayers has the heroes assisting a chef with hunting a dragon whose meat is legendarily delicious. Much to Lina's frustration, they never actually get to try it because it turns out that the dragon's flesh is so toxic that it takes several months of being cooked or buried underground to make it safe to eat.
  • Yet another literal example in UzaMaid: Our Maid Is Way Too Annoying!: Midori is a masochistic maid who intentionally cooks horrible-tasting food, and gets off on both the others' horrified reactions to it and having to eat it herself afterwards.
  • In The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. Saiki and friends end up at an extremely questionable ramen joint, and are served an unappetizing bowl that oozes bad odors. However, Teruhashi, in her desperation to be seen as a gracious and perfect young lady, forces herself to eat the food.

Comic Books

  • Asterix:
    • In Asterix in Corsica, there's a cheese whose smell can knock out non-Corsicans; it also occasionally explodes. Likely a reference to Casu Marzu, which is commonly associated with Sardinia, but also made on Corsica.
    • In Asterix the Legionary, the secret of the Roman Army's success is discussed: The worse the food, the better the army as it keeps the men grumpy. On tasting the food (wheat, bacon and cheese cooked together to save time), Asterix comments that he didn't think the army was that powerful, along with similar commentaries from the rest of the squad... save for the Briton, who likes it.
    • In Asterix and the Laurel Wreath, Asterix and Obelix are sold as slaves to a Roman noble family, rather than to Caesar as they wanted. They try to get their master to return them by creating a concoction of whatever was in the kitchen, including soap and a whole chicken, feathers and all. They accidentally invent a Hideous Hangover Cure, which is exactly what he needed for his drunkard son. The side effects are... less than pleasant.
  • One issue of Usagi Yojimbo has an official die of fugu poisoning, and it turns out an apprentice chef had switched the intended meal with his own inexpert preparation. When discovered, the culprit commits suicide by swallowing a puffer fish liver.

Fan Works

  • In one chapter of Voyages of the Wild Sea Horse, Ukyo tries to get back at her crewmates for teasing her about her preference for serving them okonomiyaki at most meals by serving up a banquet of "exotic delicacies" — bugs, snakes, monkeys and offal. To her dismay, almost everyone tucks in without hesitation, and even enjoy the meal... except for the hongeo-hoe.


  • Played with in Men of War when the villagers perform an elaborate ceremony serving the invading mercenaries large eggs containing unborn chicks which they choke down out of respect. Turns out it's a practical joke.
    Nick (a mercenary): So you guys eat this all the time or is just for... uhm... ceremonies?
    Po (a villager): Are you kidding? We don't eat that shit!
  • In End of Days, Schwarzenegger's character is seen starting his day by mixing coffee, beer, pepto bismol, leftover chinese food, and a slice of pizza dropped on the floor in a blender and then chugging the resulting concoction. Ick.
  • In The A-Team, Murdoch makes Face and B.A. some steaks that have been burnt beyond imagining through the application of gunpowder on the meat. He then offers them some of his "secret sauce", which is antifreeze. Face mentions how he got temporary Bell's Palsy last time, so Murdoch tells him to "take it like a man".
  • In The Returner Mizoguchi shows he's a tough guy at his meeting with the Triads by eating his lobster—shell and all.
  • "Tyler's Bullshit" from The Menu consists of undercooked lamb alongside inedible chopped shallots and leeks, topped with way too much half-melted butter sauce. Predictably, it is lambasted by a professional chef who actually knows what he's doing.
  • In Around the World in 80 Days (2004), while visiting Passepartout's village in rural China, his mother gives Phileas a cup of rice wine that is implied to be both homemade and EXTREMELY potent. Phileas takes it and drinks it with a smile on his face and, still smiling, declares it to be "absolutely vile", no doubt grateful that the old lady can't speak English. Still doesn't stop him from drinking enough to get completely sauced.
  • The Devil's Backbone shows a human stillbirth preserved in a strong alcohol which people actually drink from because it supposedly has medicinal properties. The director claims in the film's commentary that people have actually done this in real life.
  • In "Crocodile" Dundee, this happens in two directions, both under the guise of "cultural delicacies". First, Mick offers Sue a rustic bush meal of roasted goanna, wild yams, and sugar ants. Later on, Sue gets her revenge by buying Mick a New York hot dog with everything on it, from sauerkraut to ketchup.


  • The Discworld books have several examples:
    • Dwarf bread is tremendously useful for surviving in the wilderness with, because if you have some on hand, you're always willing to find something else to eat. Like your own foot. This is because dwarf bread is so hard (and literally made with gravel in it), it's of better use as a blunt instrument.
      Rincewind: "Dwarf bread?"
      Mad: "Too right! That's what kept us going across thousands of miles of shark-infested ocean. If we hadn't had that sack of dwarf bread we'd—"
      Rincewind: "—never have been able to club the sharks to death?"
      Mad: "Ah, you're a man who knows your breads."
    • Apart from dwarf bread, dwarf cuisine consists of "what the dwarfs found underground — rats, snails, worms (useful protein), bits of stone and so on." Dwarfs are famed for their sauces, since no one would eat rat without something to hide the taste. In Ankh-Morpork, "fusion" cuisine aimed at humans is designed to look a bit like actual dwarf cookery, while being in a very real sense nothing like it.
    • The Compleat Discworld Atlas introduces the related concept of Dwarf Chocolate, which takes a form suspiciously like a Toblerone bar and is described as being hard as concrete, taking the form of serrated teeth rising from a bar, and — worst — may contain nuts. It has been used as an impromptu weapon and as a means of extracting stubborn teeth. It is technically edible, in that it melts in your mouth. Eventually.
    • In Pyramids there's a parody of fugu which contains a poison that, if not removed, causes the eater to expand like a blowfish and explode. It's traditionally served with roots that need to be prepared exactly over several days, or else they react catastrophically with stomach acid. This is described as 'fish and chips For Men'.
    • Further Discworld example: CMOT Dibbler's sausage-inna-bun. It's possible that the books exaggerate, but they're described as the culinary equivalent of a B-movie: they're absolutely awful, yet somehow appealing.
    • His Fourecks counterpart, Fair Go Dibbler, serves a meat pie floater. Apparently you have to be astonishingly drunk to consider eating one a good idea. In fact, all food served by Dibblers are like this, from Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah's disturbingly live yoghurt (he had to keep hitting it with a spoon to stop it escaping) to May-I-Be-Kicked-In-My-Own-Ice-Hole Dibooki's chunks of blubber (Rincewind reflects that it's one thing to butcher beached whales, and something else to just wait until they explode into bite-sized pieces on their own). Inverted with Disembowel-Meself-Honourably Dibhala, who we first see being accosted by a customer complaining that he's been sold a fresh egg, rather than one that's a thousand years old.
    • And yet another: Sam Vimes is the first man to be brave enough to refuse to eat the "tribal delicacies" of the D'hregs, guessing that the D'hregs are having him on and that nobody could eat that rubbish. He's right.
    • Although it's doubtful that he actually intended to digest the thing, a performer in Maskerade is seen applying mustard to a blade in preparation for his sword-swallowing stage act.
    • In A Hat Full of Sky, one of the flashbacks Tiffany experiences from a past victim of the Hiver is that of a long-ago desert queen who'd poisoned her enemies. Emerging from the memory-flash, the young witch groggily murmurs about a scorpion sandwich.
    • The Monstrous Regiment has an experienced corporal (who had only one actual limb not made of wood, with at least one of his legs having gone by being swapped with another man's to stave off starvation in a campaign, which they considered preferable to Autocannibalism) make it pretty clear to the recruits to expect this in military life should they have anything at all. A thin soup made of...whatever, called scubbo, is frequently mentioned. To the shock of absolutely everyone, the squad's lieutenant rather likes the stuff (some are less surprised upon learning he went to a school "for young gentlemen"). The corporal in particular prefers rat over horse.
  • Harry Potter has Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, another example of the "Russian Roulette" version. They're presented as the Wizarding World equivalent to jelly beans, and the majority of them seem quite normal. The catch is, when they say "every flavor," they really mean it. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Dumbledore, who is otherwise known for his Sweet Tooth, says he swore them off as a boy after sampling a vomit-flavored bean. After mentioning this to Harry, he gives them another shot, only to get one flavored of earwax.
  • In The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson, the three nannies, after the infant prince is kidnapped from under their noses, punish themselves by inflicting horrible meals on themselves, vowing to never ever again eat something they like, until the prince is rescued ... the earliest opportunity for which is after nine years of horrible food, and dipping their toes in ice water whenever they start to feel too good. When, finally, a rescue team can make it through the magic portal, the nannies sit in front of a crate of bananas, hoping to be able to open it, soon. (Their punishment is entirely self-inflicted, the Queen and King are much too kind to punish them at all.)
  • All of Pervian food in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures. As Aahz once put it: "The biggest problem with Pervian food is to keep it from crawling away from your dish while you are eating it..." And it stinks.
    • In the comic book, they mention that they serve this stuff on purpose to scare away would-be interdimensional tourists.
    • On one occasion, Skeeve walked into a Pervish restaurant and ordered something Klahddish... only to be served a stuffed Klahd. Not really, but only because the place didn't have a license to serve sentient creatures.
    • Gleep the baby dragon is sometimes seen swallowing unidentified things he's found in gutters or basements. Usually Skeeve is glad not to have a clue what they are, as the number of legs sticking out between his pet's jaws is disturbing enough.
  • Just about everything Miss Mush cooks in the Wayside School series.
    • Ironically, she's fine if she just cooks for one person. She cooks for over 300.
    • Specific dishes she's made include "Baloney-Os" (Oreo cookies with a slice of baloney in the center - Ms. Jules ate them while pregnant), a mystery mushroom dish (which seemed to look strange but actually not taste bad, though it had the side effect of making the eater zonk out and kiss whoever's nearest. It's implied that the students might not have minded it after seeing it tasted okay, but Ms. Jules made production of it stop) and potato salad (which also seemed to taste all right, but came to life when molded into the image of Mrs Gorf. It's not clear if this was a property of the potato salad or if it was more of Mrs. Gorf's evil magic.) She also made a pie filled with pepper, but that wasn’t for eating- it was for saving the students.
  • Sam the Cat: Detective: The “Catslop” cat food is described as something that looks and tastes like a goat ate it and then retched it into the can. Even Sandy (the cat who does commercials for it) only pretends to eat the stuff.
  • Moonglow in the Star Wars universe is not unpleasant to eat (the description makes it sound rather like an Asian pear), but requires a ninety-seven step process carried out by a trained chef to make it safely edible, otherwise it will kill you in under a minute. Prince Xizor eats it primarily for the thrill of danger — what if the chef made a mistake?
  • In Bridge of Birds, improperly prepared porcupine meat — and when we say improper, we mean such as cutting the meat into pieces of the wrong shape — will kill you in a horrible way that we won't even go into here.
    • Well, must be noted that "porcupine poisoning" doesn't actually happen to anyone in the book. Two characters claim that it happened to someone as part of a ruse. The whole scene reads like some finicky gourmet's preferences got mixed up with actual cautions, similar to those concerning fugu, to create an Urban Legend of epic proportions.
  • In The BFG, the snozzcumber is the only plant that grows in Giant Country. It's a repulsive vegetable that tastes of frogskins and rotten fish, but it's the only thing the BFG can eat since he won't eat humans like the other giants and refuses to steal food from humans.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The slave soldiers known as the Unsullied regularly consume a drink called the "wine of courage" to numb them to physical pain, made with nightshade, bloodfly larva, black lotus root, and many secret things.
    • A milder example is available to the destitute in Westeros, called simply "brown". It is a stew made with whatever locally available ingredients might qualify as "meat", though speculation abounds about its actual ingredients. Popular theories include cat meat, dog meat, or even human meat.
  • Rihannsu: Naturally a series about the Romulans had to cover Romulan ale, long established in Star Trek as a Gargle Blaster. The Romulan Way mentions that it's not any easier for the Rihannsu themselves to drink kheh-irho (it's harsh to the throat), and they drink it partly to prove that they can.

Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek
    • In Star Trek: Generations, Data has just acquired emotions, and is having a drink (type unstated) in Ten Forward. He tastes it twice, concludes "I hate this! It is revolting!" ... and then immediately accepts Guinan's offer of a refill.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Dragon's Honor seems to take this to its logical extreme. Our intrepid crew is having dinner on a planet based on ancient China, and Picard's politeness regarding the local (hideous) cuisine bites him on the butt. The emperor orders the most elaborate dish possible. It hasn't been prepared in a hundred years, and it's an honor just to be part of the staff cooking it. It's a vile conglomeration of miscellaneous animal parts, mostly from venomous creatures and smells like a Klingon locker room. Picard has completely lost his appetite after eating stuff that makes fugu look palatable all night, and says that he can't eat it. Continuing to be dense, the emperor suspects that Picard may not want any because it was prepared wrong. He tosses a bit of it to a dog, who dies within seconds. However, an investigation reveals that it actually was prepared right and had been poisoned deliberately.
    • In Star Trek Klingon food and drink are often like this. Example: Gagh is unprocessed serpent worms, usually eaten live. The taste is revolting and it is eaten solely for the unique sensation of the gagh spasming in one's mouth and stomach in their death throes.
    • In Deep Space Nine, Ezri implies that you're supposed to eat it whole, and alive. It's one thing she doesn't have in common with prior Dax hosts. Curzon and Jadzia were comfortable enough with Klingons and Klingon food. Ezri isn't; after recalling some of the more masochistic varieties, she had to excuse herself.
    • In another Star Trek: The Next Generation novel, Riker becomes violently ill (to the point where he has to be beamed directly to sickbay) from having lunch with Worf and forgetting that some Klingon foods are indigestible to humans (Dr. Crusher had given him a list). His reaction after being treated? "Bring on the next course."
    • Riker actually spent time with Klingons in the episode "A Matter of Honor", so he'd learned to stomach a number of Klingon foods and seemed to find it something worth experiencing.
    • Klingon tea is deadly to humans and not particularly good for Klingons. It's consumed in a ceremony with two or more participants as a test of courage and to show that "Death is an experience best shared". Thankfully for Dr. Katherine Pulaski, she is aware both of the poisonous nature of the tea leaves and what to take beforehand as an antidote.
    • An interesting twist occured in one episode, where Riker tries to make omelettes from alien eggs, only to end up with the food declared horrid and inedible by his crewmates... except for Worf, who thanks to his Bizarre Alien Biology is scarfing down his helping and enthusiastically asks for seconds.
    • All of this leads up to an amusing inversion: when Worf tries prune juice for the first time, he declares it a "warrior's drink", and it becomes his standard drink order for the rest of his run on TNG and DS9. Someone on the writing staff must really hate prunes.
  • There's an episode of CSI: NY where the murderer is tracked to a restaurant serving bizarre foods such as deep-fried tarantula, with the murder weapon being a live baby octopus. The octopus was meant to be eaten alive after its tentacles were bound, but the killer deliberately left them loose so the victim would choke on it.
  • Top Gear (UK): Jeremy Clarkson's extremely manly V8 smoothie. It works as a drink up until Jeremy adds the brick.
  • The two businessmen played by Key & Peele in this sketch start off ordering perfectly sensible soul food, but then feel the need to one-up each other with more esoteric orders until they're essentially ordering garbage.
  • Dave Lister's fixation with vindaloo curry in Red Dwarf. Lister is a man who drinks vindaloo sauce for breakfast. It is said his shishkebabs require enough chilis to boost a small rocket into space. His chosen vindaloo becomes a weapon that slays space monsters and fells a tyrannosaur. When the Starbug runs out of all forms of curry, it precipitates a disaster that escalates until the course of human history is altered and the USA is destroyed as a world power.
    • There's also Lister's favourite sandwich, triple fried egg with chili sauce and chutney. He claims you have to eat it quick, before the bread dissolves. Rimmer equates the experience of eating it to the pain of childbirth.
  • In the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch "Trade Description Act" the police come to arrest a man for selling chocolates with disgusting and sometimes outright dangerous ingredients and not properly labeling them.
    • The Cherry Fondue is extremely nasty.
    • The Crunchy Frog contains a whole raw frog and is crunchy because it still has the bones in it.
    • The Ram's Bladder Cup is made of a literal ram's bladder and is garnished with lark's vomit (or mouse feces in a different version of the sketch).
    • Cockroach Cluster and Anthrax ripple are also mentioned.
    • The Spring Surprise contains a booby trap that stabs you through the cheeks.




  • In A Prairie Home Companion episode of The Lives of The Cowboys called The Second Lefty, the titular character engages in a high-stakes game of Scrabble with Dusty. During the match the Second Lefty orders a whiskey, and soon after we hear a crunching sound. Dusty asks him not to chew his ice cubes while pondering his next move. The Second Lefty replies it wasn't ice; he was chewing the neck of the bottle.
    Second Lefty: I happen to like glass.

Tabletop Games

  • Dragon: The Embers: Dragons can eat non-food-like "foods" such as gasoline and ammonium nitrate/fuel oil, though they suffer temporary minor penalties for doing so. But so long as it burns well, it recharges their Breath.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Orks regularly engage in a unique kind of eating contest where they attempt to eat a live squig. Bear in mind that squigs in general have More Teeth than the Osmond Family and are very hungry at all times, meaning that the contest is basically to eat a squig before it eats you. This is only one of many Ork cultural elements, dietary traits and hobbies that boil down to Testosterone Poisoning, to the point where a lot of Ork flyers path the fuel lines through the cockpit in case the pilot gets thirsty.

Web Original

Video Games

  • Cult of the Lamb: The lamb can cook Grassy Gruel, Bowl of Poop, and Minced Follower Meat, but the worst thing they can make is Deadly Dish, which combines the main ingredients of all three. Any follower that consumes it will drop valuable items, but also have a 3/4 chance of instantly dropping dead. If the lamb eats it, they lose one normal heart, but gain a diseased heart. The main use for it is killing off elderly or dissenting followers if you don't have any other way to easily get rid of them. Grassy Gruel and Minced Follower Meat both have cult doctrines that remove their negatives effect if selected. Sometimes followers will actually ask you to feed them the Bowl of Poop in order to prove their loyalty to you, or out of a strange desire to know what it is like.
  • Subverted by the "Sinner's Sandwich" in Deadly Premonition. Upon hearing its list of bizarre ingredients, York assumes it's this type of food, meant to be eaten as atonement for one's sins. Upon actually trying it, however, he announces that it is in fact delicious.
  • Final Fantasy XIV
    • Shadowbringers brings us Archon Loaf bread, created by the Scholarly society of Sharlayan. Archon Loaf is described as the definition of Boring, but Practical in food form, being packed to the brim with all the nutrients a person would need in a simple, easy to consume and simple to digest loaf of bread, but having no consideration for the taste or texture, being akin to a hardtack made out ground herring and carrots. While considered a godsend to those needing a serious boost and students having to spend long nights cramming, it serves its purpose... but that requires actually being able to tolerate it.
    • Endwalker brings us Panaloaf, from the same chef that made Archon Loaf. This is even more nutrient packed and healthier than Archon Loaf, but even more unpalatable. The Endwalker questline for Culinarian revolves around trying to find a way to make Panaloaf appetizing - and, when that fails, finding a substitute that fills the practicality and ease of access niche - because unlike Archon Loaf which you can grin and bear for its positives, nobody can hold Panaloaf down, which makes any benefits it could offer irrelevant. The substitute gets accepted over Panaloaf (despite being slightly less practical) when someone points out that "People in any situation where they'd have to eat this are already stressed out and may cross the Despair Event Horizon if this is their only food."
  • I Wanna Be the Guy: Delicious Fruit is what the people of the game eat. You know, those enormously lethal, gravity-defying apple/cherry things that kill you in one hit? (Just like everything else) According to the creator of the game, people have to knock them off trees with sticks and then they boil them three times to eliminate all the poison. If you only boil a Delicious Fruit twice, it turns into a bouncing ripe red engine of death, as evidenced by the Breakout level. And people eat these things! But... they're Delicious...
  • Jade Empire: You can meet Chai Jin, an exotic chef. The dishes are revolting and downright damaging - depending on what you choose you'll hurt your body, mind or spirit — but if you sit through three courses of escalating grief to your system, you won't have to pay. You can then also try his newest meal, which is so horrid he won't even describe it, and which he hasn't even tried himself yet. If you survive the thoroughly harrowing cuisine, you can either warn him of its danger or tell him it's delicious. If you choose the latter, he will sample the food and drop dead. The game implies that the man who gave him the recipes is Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom, a man from the game's equivalent of England. It's possible that the dishes are standard English cuisine like Bubble & Squeak or a Full English, with them only being considered disgusting due to cultural differences.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has all kinds of unpleasant foods, like brain-meltingly-hot chicken wings or centipede eggs, which inflict damage, substat-loss, or a negative status effect if you eat them. Dwarf bread is included as a shout-out to the Discworld example above, and although you have the option of eating it, you can also throw it at enemies to stun them. However, special mention goes to black pudding, which is described thusly: "This is either a sausage made of congealed animal blood, or an acidic underground-dwelling scavenging ooze. Either way, mmmm-yummy." Sure enough, if you try to eat it, it has a 35% chance of attacking you. There's actually a trophy you can earn for defeating 240 of them in combat... which takes about three straight months (real-world time) of stuffing your face with black pudding every day.
    • There are several meals and drinks that can only be created when your bartender-innabox or chef-innabox explodes. They're universally horrible things, such as the "white chocolate and tomato pizza" and the "tomato daiquiri". Consuming enough of these two get you the Weeping Pizza and Disgusting Cocktail trophies, respectively.
    • Another special mention must go to World's most unappetizing beverage, which is... you know.No really, what is it?
    • The PVP revamp introduced "nailswurst", which is probably the closest thing on here to the page image, and "used beer". Yep. Neither of these gains you adventures, but they piss you off (giving you extra PVP fights.)
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, the name changes in each game, but the effect is still the same. You can find a Sit-Down meal that, when consumed, brings the party's HP to One, but raises their CP meter by 100.
    Abbadon Potluck: A pot dish only for the brave of heart...and stomach.
    Dark Stew: The work of a madman. Tastes... dangerously good.
    Enigmatic Stew: A stew containing...things. You may not want to know what.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online: Lampshaded. In one dungeon infested with undead, you can find a piece of cheese. If one didn't think a piece of cheese found in thousand-years old ruins would be bad to eat, the description for the cheese even says "It's quite smelly and no doubt highly deadly. Only the unwise would eat it." Eating it results in a big Damage over Time-effect that lasts for 20 minutes, in addition to the character title "The Unwise".
  • NieR: Automata plays with this trope with mackerel, a fish that is safe for humans to eat. When consumed by androids, however, it is as dangerous and lethal as eating a blowfish; bodily fluids congeal, paralysis sets in, and death follows shortly thereafter. Reportedly, however, it is still very delicious, even as it kills you. You can eat it, too, if you like.
  • The first three Paper Mario games have a cooking activity where you bring one or two items to a chef to see what they make out of them. A few of the resulting items can't actually be eaten and are used as weapons or cause harm when they are eaten. The best example is the item called trial stew. It made by combining a couple's cake with a poison mushroom. In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door it reduces your HP to 1 and FP to 0, but completely fills your star power and temporarily triples how fast you gain it. While in Super Paper Mario it also reduces your HP to 1 but gives you a huge amount of experience. Giving an invalid ingredient combination produces a dish called mistake, which heals 1 HP. Super Paper Mario also has the taboo fruit, which the player has to find in order to cure Princess Peach after she falls into a 100 year sleep due to eating a delicious golden apple. The taboo fruit turns out to be a black apple, which is the only thing that can permanently counter the effects of the golden apple because it tastes absolutely awful.
  • Persona 3 has the Wild Duck Burger, a burger with mysterious ingredients. Eating it will increase your Courage stat.
  • In Persona 4, when individually lethal chefs Chie and Yukiko join forces, the result is a concoction that Yosuke aptly names "Mystery Food X". You can choose to eat it willingly (if your Courage stat is high enough) or be forced to eat it because there's no other way out, but either way, one bite makes the protagonist and Yosuke faint with a very loud crash as they hit the table.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney case 3-1 probably qualifies, as Phoenix willingly chows down a glass bottle with poison residue. And survives it just fine. If that doesn't taste as pain, I don't know what does! He didn't outlive the taste of betrayal within that bottle just as easily though.
  • Pikmin 2: Louie's notes provide detailed descriptions of how to cook and eat every plant and creature encountered in the game. This includes golden candypop buds, whose juices can erode holes in frying pans.
    Louie: Eating it would be unwise.
  • World of Warcraft: Cuisine in Azeroth is a bizarre and frightening thing. You can buy innocuous enough food from vendors, like grapes, bread, fruit juice, tea, or filtered water, but if you pick up the Cooking skill, bad things start to happen immediately. If you can kill it and it's not obviously sentient (with the exception of murlocs), somebody's figured out a way to make it into a stat-boosting food. You can learn to make bat wings, rat stew, spider cake, wolf steak, bear burgers, rhino stew, ravager sausages, chimera chops, and a brand of chili so hot that it causes you to randomly breathe flame, among many other options.
    • Bear is the odd man out on this list, as it is in fact quite a tasty meal.
  • Yoake Mae Yori Ruri Iro Na: Moonlight Cradle: Trattoria Samon begins offering intensely spicy pasta dishes. One of the side stories involves Karen and Wreathlit trying to one-up each other: Karen succeeds in finishing the spiciest dish available, while Wreath gives up in the final round, leaving Karen to finish her plate.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: For one quest you have to imitate a world famous chef and make his signature dish (which you have to improvise for), the player has the option of adding some absolutely insane ingredients (Vampire dust? A septim? A giant's toe?!) Humorously enough, if you choose the most outrageous options the dish actually turns out fantastic despite the dodgy items you put in there.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online has the story of Rallaume Lemonds, a self styled 'culinary crusader' who is implied to be a Breton, eating a variety of odd Argonian foods. Most of it probably more in the realm of Foreign Queasine (as most of the food is some kind of invertebrate Eaten Alive, befitting the Argonians' species origins as swamp-dwelling reptilians) but the final humdinger is Aojee-Sakka, a dish which involves eating sliced toad and cold soup simultaneously. This doesn't sound so terrible until you learn that the two dishes are horrifically virulent; the toad is a neurotoxin that causes uncontrolled seizure-like tremors and foaming at the mouth (followed by death) while the soup is loaded with enterotoxins that inflict agonizing stomach pain and uncontrollable vomiting (followed by death). The catch is, these two dishes are antidotes to one another, and the trick is to consume them in just the right proportions so as to not poison yourself to death. As for how this turns out, well...
    Mach-Makka: (postscript) "I return this book to you, Rallaume-friend. I try to cook Rallaume other foods, but he demands Aojee-Sakka. I cook it for him, but he eats it wrong. Too much toad. I am very sorry he dies.

    Have a good life! We hope you come eat with us, too! But not the Aojee-Sakka."
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The game gives us the extremely rare Robo-Sandvich—it's made from bread-shaped chunks of sheet metal, screws, circuit boards, a blinking light, a switch, valve knobs, loose wires, and what look to be pieces of carpet. In spite of its sharp edges, unappetizing appearance, and more iron content than some of the game's maps, the Heavy can still eat it to heal his health completely.
    • Then there's the Festive Sandvich, which doesn't seem like much except it's gift-wrapped, and the Heavy doesn't bother to unwrap it before chowing down.
    • Though not implemented in the game as of yet, this mod turned community contribution has all the hallmarks of this trope. The only nod it has to actually being food is the presence of bread. The rest of it consists of Huntsman arrows, spy knives, minigun bullets, and a railroad spike. To top it all off, what was once a toothpick with an olive is now a needle from the syringe gun.
  • In Monster Hunter 3 (Tri), one of the food items at the canteen you can eat for buffs is Thorny Meat, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. According to the chef, the prickliness has made it surprisingly popular.
  • In Billy vs. SNAKEMAN, the Ultimate Pizza is topped with red onions, blue peppers, beef, pepperoni, broccoli, kaiju flakes (as in the dried remains of giant monsters) and 9mm bullets. Yes, it's edible, and grants incredible bonuses.
  • In Oxygen Not Included, the most basic food you can make for your Duplicants is the Mush Bar, which is made from dirt and water. It's basically a stick of mud that's been heavily processed into something vaguely edible. Not only is it the lowest possible food quality level, but it can give Duplicants diarrhea.
  • RuneScape:
    • The "Rum Deal" quest has the player assisting with creating Braindeath 'Rum' also known as unsanitary swill that a bunch of zombie pirates want since they have surrounded the brewery where it is made and made the workers afraid to go outside. The ingredients include stagnant water, mind controlling sluglings, blindweed, and the corpse of a disease carrying fever spider. The examine text for a bottle of it says "I think it is eating through the bottle." and if you drink it, you receive the message "With a sense of impending doom you drink the 'rum'. You try very hard not to die."
    • The "Recipe for Disaster" quest has several dodgy sounding recipes in it.
      • The quest starts with a cook asking you to bring him some difficult to find ingredients for a special feast. These ingredients include Eye of Newt, a greenman's ale, a rotten tomato, and a fruit blast cocktail with ashes in it. It isn't shown what the rest of the ingredients were or what he made from them. It turns out however, that it wasn't a recipe after all, but actually a food based spell which unleashes an evil food wizard called the Culinaromancer. The player must then save the guests attending the feast by creating their favorite food in order to undo the Culinaromancer's spell on them.
      • To save the two goblin generals, who disagree with each other on everything, the player must create the slop of compromise, which is made from orange slices that are dyed so they aren't orange, maggots with spice added so that they aren't bland, and bread with water added so that it isn't crunchy.
      • To save the mountain dwarf, the players must get a dwarven rock cake, which is too hot to eat when you first get it and have to find a way to cool it down, and even after that it still is too hard for human consumption, but dwarves can eat it fine. And also during the quest you have to make Asgoldian ale, which is Asgarnian ale with a gold coin dissolved in it, in order to convince the dwarf that knows the rock cake recipe to make it for you. This makes the ale unfit for human consumption, although if you think about it, if it can dissolve gold it probably shouldn't be safe to drink even before adding the gold either.
      • To save the monkey king, you need to cook a giant snake stuffed with nuts and red bananas on a lava heated rock.
    • The favorite drink of werewolves is a beverage called moonlight mead, which is made from bittercap mushrooms, and technically isn't mead since it doesn't contain honey. Drinking it gives you the message "It tastes like something just died in your mouth." although that might be the reason why werewolves like it. Werewolves also like to eat pickled human brains.

Visual Novels

  • The protagonist of Double Homework doesn’t eat for enjoyment; he eats to win skiing competitions, and that means a lot of unappetizing health foods.

Web Animation


  • "Yumyuck moss", in this Goblins comic.*
    Minmax: "You dwarves actually eat that crap?"
    Forgath: "Yeah, but we're usually drunk."
  • El Goonish Shive gives us the Pancake Mount Doom Meal - "A dozen flapjacks, a variety of fruit fillings, sides of bacon, sausage, hash browns, three kinds of syrup, and your choice of eggs" at the standard Greasy Spoon restaurant. Though the food itself is edible (and likely delicious), it's the quantity that pushes it into this territory. Naturally, only husky people have managed to finish it... and Grace.
  • The Order of the Stick Xykon, before he lost his sense of taste as a result of becoming undead, enjoyed drinking disgusting coffee, because whenever he drank a cup of bad coffee, it would remind him of every better cup of coffee he ever drank.

Western Animation

  • Amphibia: Since the titular world is inhabited with amphibians, bugs are integrated into the food. Anne is initially disgusted, but soon grows used to it.
  • Archer: "The secret phone.
  • Wildcat's 'Tiger Tonic' in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Not even Batman can stomach the stuff. Metamorpho, however, loves it...
    "It's got fish and bananas!"
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Fairly Oddlympics", Timmy tries the pain lovers pizza (land mines, barbed wire, sand bags, bomb stuffed crust.) and the unlucky pizza (after eating he got an anvil on his head, a safe, a piano with Cupid playing it)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In "Canterlot Boutique", Pinkie Pie makes a batch of strawberry cinnamon cilantro cupcakes. One of them made the mail pony too nauseous to finish his route, and even Pinkie herself has trouble choking them down. Despite this, she still offers one to Rarity.
      Rarity: After that visually descriptive and disturbing endorsement, I'll pass.
    • "Secrets and Pies" has Rainbow Dash bake a literal "humble pie" to eat as punishment for herself, as a way of apologizing for all those years of keeping her distaste for pie a secret from Pinkie Pie. It looks like a pastry version of Harmburger from Awful Hospital and is constructed from some kinda concrete with trash as filling. Pinkie describes it as a "smelly circular monstrosity" and is quick to stop Rainbow Dash from eating any.
  • The Owl House: When Luz returns to Hexside, Amity, who has a crush on her, gives her a baked fairy pie. It has whole fairies crudely stuffed in, and one of them is still twitching.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer has a brush with death when he eats a poorly prepared Fugu fish. This was Artistic License at work, as they treated as a standard (and ridiculously slow-acting) poison instead of a neurotoxin.
    • "Homer Simpson Vs The City Of New York" has the infamous Klav Kalash vendor. While stuck at WTC Plaza waiting for a traffic cop, a hungry Homer buys a weird ethnic food called klav kalash from a vendor, which looks like some sort of meat on a stick. It apparently tastes awful, though Homer still finishes it. He then buys several cans of a crab juice soft drink from the vendor. About 20 seasons later, the Simpsons return to New York, and Homer discovers that the vendor has now become a successfull entrepeneur with a franchise of klav kalash restaurants.
  • Toyed with in Spongebob Squarepants.
    • When a guy is trying to get in the Salty Spitoon:
      Reg: How tough are ya?
      Tough Guy: How tough am I? HOW TOUGH AM I?! I had a bowl of nails for breakfast this morning!
      Reg: Yeah, so?
      Tough Guy: Without any milk.
      Reg: [visibly intimidated] Uh, right this way, sorry to keep you waiting...
    • In the infamous episode "Nasty Patty", in order to play a prank on who they think is a fake health inspector, Spongebob and Mr. Krabs create the titular Nasty Patty by adding seahorse radish, toenail clippings, and Volcano Sauce, and then dropping it in toilet water and then drying it with old gym socks.
  • A Thousand and One... Americas: From Chris' point of view, this is how the Aztec's great liking of chocolate seems to be. In the final episode, when Chris is given a bowl of chocolate, he drinks it thinking it'll be a divine pleasure for his tongue... only to realize how extremely bitter and spicy it is; Lon tastes it some as well (which he shouldn't even try doing anyway since chocolate is dangerous for animals) and ends up convulsing in agony until he sinks his head in a bowl of water. It turns out chocolate, despite being an Aztec culinary invention, was originally very different from the chocolate we know and love in Real Life, and this scene makes sure to drive the point home. Chris even tells the Aztec man that he eats chocolate with milk and sugar, which the latter character deems a strange combination.
  • Yin Yang Yo!: Master Yo's bank security is based around the fact that he's the only one likely to survive the disgusting trials needed to reach his vault. The first trial, the Doom Pizza, is an expired pizza that would likely kill anyone else with food poisoning. Despite his protests over being the last panda on the planet, Yo turns out to be okay after a belch and a few minutes.
  • In one episode of Duck Dodgers, Dodgers has to infiltrate a Space Pirate crew. Their initiation ritual is an eating contest where the "food" is beetle-like parasites.


Video Example(s):


Vento Aureo - Piss Tea

Giorno uses Gold Experience to turn his tooth into a jellyfish sponge before drinking up Abbacchio's piss tea.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (28 votes)

Example of:

Main / MasochistsMeal

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