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Tasty Gold

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Those aren't crackers,
and Polly can't have one.

"*chomp*... Yep, that's real gold alright. Heh! What a gift!"
Willy, if given a Gold Bar as a gift, Stardew Valley

When a character is given suspicious payment, they will often bite into it to check if it's genuine. This may seem odd but was (and still is) actually a common way to check the quality of gold; for more details see the analysis subpage. This tradition has mostly vanished in real life, due to most people not actually dealing with gold, but it is still seen occasionally in fiction. It's also quite common to see characters using this method to check other things to see if they're genuine, which includes the realistic (pearls), plausible-but-unrealistic (silver), and the blatantly absurd.

Related is Hear Me the Money, when they check the currency by listening to it. Not to be confused with Metal Muncher or Extreme Omnivore, where biting the gold is followed by chewing and swallowing it. Not related to Edible Treasure, besides the treasure part.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A common method of testing coins in the Berserk universe.
    • In the Golden Age Arc, Guts bites one of the gold coins he gets as a reward for killing the enemy knight Bazuso.
    • In the Millennium Falcon Arc, while Guts and his companions are trying to slay all the man-eating Kushan tigers attacking the guests at the Holy Alliance party in Vritannis, Fairy Companion Puck tells the frightened nobles that they must pay for their rescue. By the time the fight's over he's collected a pile of coins, which he tests by biting into one: "Surely, silver coins aren't what they used to be."
  • Majin Buu does this to a coin in Dragon Ball Z, but it's not to see if it's gold, but to see if it's candy. He eventually figures out the connection between getting coins and giving them away for candy, and quickly begins desiring more money for this reason.
  • Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Garterbelt bites down on a Heaven Coin that the robot Ghost left behind, confirming its origin, and that it's worthless compared to the coins the girls normally earn.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Season 3 episode 43 of Happy Heroes, Big M. bites the coin given to him by Happy S. in exchange for one of the scratch-off tickets the former is selling.

    Comic Books 
  • Mentioned in the The Cartoon History of the Universe in the leadup to Archimedes' famous discovery: the king needed a way to determine whether his crowns were counterfeit without having to rely on this trope.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney's Pinocchio plays with this a bit: when the eponymous puppet gets conned into joining unscrupulous puppet show owner Stromboli's spectacle, said owner finds a foreign (vaguely Chinese) coin among the otherwise all-gold profits of the day. He uses the bite test on the coin, and it does bend, but Stromboli takes it as a sign that the foreign coin is worthless and hands it to Pinocchio as his "share" of the profits. It being the color of lead probably doesn't help.
  • In the Puss in Boots mini movie "The Three Diablos", Puss gives the three kittens one gold coin each. The first two do the standard bite to see if it's genuine and the third one tries copying them by swallowing the coin whole.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army has a goblin blacksmith who bites on a piece of metal. It's not gold, but he bites it anyway.
  • In Bloodsport, one of the Kumite staff in charge of wiping blood off the fighting platform notices a gold tooth lying there after one of the fights. He quickly grabs it, bites it and, after being satisfied that it's gold, pockets it with a big smile.
  • One of the characters in Leprechaun accidentally swallows one of the eponymous leprechaun's coins while doing this (he's not that bright). The best part is the Leprechaun's plan to get it out: slash the guy's gut open using the buckle on his hat.
  • In Sharktopus, a girl with a metal detector finds an old coin buried on a beach. The shark-octopus hybrid then drags her off and eats her. An old man who was watching the whole thing then nonchalantly takes the coin, and bites it to see if it's real. For bonus points, he's played by Roger Corman.
  • In the 2010 Ridley Scott Robin Hood (2010), the Sheriff of Nottingham demands a ram from Lady Marion as a tax. Robin instead gives him a gold piece for his insolence to Lady Marion. The sheriff bites the coin after Robin and Marion depart.
  • In The Hidden Fortress, one of the two peasants chews on a gold stick to test its authenticity.
  • In Left for Dead, the gold obsessed character Goldie steals Clem's wedding ring. She then bites it and declares it to be fool's gold.
  • In Sabata, Carrincha attempts to sell his medal to Banjo to raise drinking money. Banjo bites the medal at which point Carrincha admits that it is not real silver and not actually worth anything.
  • Yellow Hair and the Fortress of Gold: After escaping from the Tulipan, Flores pulls an arrow out of his horse and bites it: discovering that it is solid gold.

  • Used in A Song of Ice and Fire quite regularly.
    • In one book, a young girl does this because she's seen other people do it, but confesses that she doesn't know how gold is 'supposed to taste'.
    • And in another, a character is given a gold coin in a shady back alley as payment for a theft, bites into it, and promptly collapses onto the cobblestones, as the coin was poisoned.
    • In A Dance with Dragons, Arya thinks of the very same trick for her first assassination for the Faceless Men, but takes it a step further. During what seems like a botched pickpocketing attempt, she slips a poisoned coin into the purse of an insurance man's customer, leaving the insurer to die of an apparent heart attack a while after he bites the gold. Not only is it impossible to trace the death back to Arya, it doesn't even look like an assassination.
  • In the Tom Holt novel Snow White and the Seven Samurai, this is used to test coins. It's then revealed that the characters are in a fairyland-style world, and that the currency is chocolate money.
  • Variation: In the Robert A. Heinlein novel Job: A Comedy of Justice, Alex and Marga are mysteriously shunted from one alternate world to another at random, which makes it impossible to build up a cash reserve as every America's money is different; Alex always has to go to work as a dishwasher. In one world they still use gold and silver coins. When Alex spends a gold dollar, the merchant takes out a bottle of acid and puts a drop on the coin to make sure it won't corrode — the "acid test." Silver coins are bounced on the counter to make sure they ring the right way — the "ring of truth."note 
    • This is also why many old mechanical cash registers had marble shelves above the cash drawer. Gave an easy place to test the sound of the coins.
  • Discworld:
    • Sort of Subverted in Lords and Ladies. Ridcully loses $8,000 at "Cripple Mr. Onion" to Casanunda, a self-proclaimed "outrageous liar" who "cannot play it very well." As he pays up, Casanundra stops him without even biting into it:
      Casanunda: You don't happen to have "outrageous liar" on your visiting card, by any chance?
      Ridcully: No!
      Casanunda: It's just that I can recognize chocolate money when I see it.
    • In Guards! Guards!, the dragon is offered the newly forged crown and licks it. They're very chemically sensitive, apparently. Vimes considers the chances of the crown actually being made out of gold (it's mentioned elsewhere that "gold" things in Ankh-Morpork have just as much gold in them as there is gold in seawater), then compares the situation to finding out that sugar was actually salt after having put three spoonfuls in your coffee. The dragon then overkills the priest who gave it the crown (shooting a flame so hot that nothing is left but smoke); suffice to say, the dragon isn't amused.
  • The protagonist of children's novel The Chocolate Touch has seen people do this, so he bites his best friend's new silver dollar. Unfortunately, anything he touches with his mouth turns to chocolate, so his friend now has a worthless silver crescent with a bite mark.
  • In Assassins of Gor Tarl offers a blind chessplayer a doubleweight gold coin if he won the game. The chessplayer felt, bit, and tasted the gold to make sure it was real.
  • In The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club Lord Peter digresses on the subject, suggesting that you could kill a taxi driver by giving him a coin that poisons him when he bites it.
  • Spice and Wolf has an instance that falls somewhere between this and Hear Me the Money. Holo is able to judge the purity of silver coins just by clinking them together, leading to the plot point that a city is minting coins that have a lower silver content and are thus worth less.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in Firefly — Mal is trying to offload some stolen goods (which look like a stack of gold bricks). The buyer bites into it and chews — it's revealed that the bricks were actually highly condensed food in some sort of foil wrapping, invaluable on a newly terraformed frontier world.
  • Forever: The dead treasure hunter in "Dead Men Tell Long Tales" is found to have traces of gold on his back molars, presumably from biting a gold coin to test its purity.
  • An episode of CSI: Miami featured a child kidnapper who asked for a ransom of jewelry. When the father of the kidnapped child arrives with the ransom the kidnapper bites an emerald to test if it's real. Turns out it's not, and the kidnapper promptly adds murderer to his résumé.
  • In the episode of The Addams Family called "The Great Treasure Hunt", Uncle Fester bites on some supposed gold coins and finds out they're fake.
  • Then there's the "Time's Arrow" episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Data uses his communicator to buy into a poker game in 19th-century San Francisco, and is asked about its value. He cites various valuable metals, and while he is, one player grabs it and takes a sample bite/lick, then pronounces 'gold' before Data can get there.
    • The episode "The Last Outpost" has the Ferengi stealing the Away Team's commbadges. One tastes it and pronounces it to be gold.
      • This was a first-season episode and as such it predates gold-pressed latinum—a metallic liquid valued precisely because it can't be replicated, suspended in a now-worthless metal because someone "got tired of making change with an eyedropper", which, in the Deep Space Nine episode "Who Mourns for Morn?" is shown to have its "own ring of truth."
  • Briefly parodied in Fawlty Towers, when Basil Fawlty makes a small show of biting then tossing away a paper check, given to him by a guest whom he had just discovered was a con man.
  • M*A*S*H showed the pearl variant: Frank Burns bought both real and fake pearls to give to both his wife and Margaret, respectively. Margaret tested to see if they were real (they weren't, but she lies in order to manipulate him into secretly giving her the real ones that she saw him switch with the fakes.)
  • As noted on QI, this trope is inverted in the modern gold industry, where gold coins are almost never sold in the pure 24K form (soft gold wears out easily, and coin collectors do not take it kindly if their collection starts turning into gold dust), but are usually hardened. Nowadays if you get a chewy gold coin, it is more likely you got a lead dud.
  • The 2000 Mini Series of Arabian Nights has Aladdin's mother biting the gold the Ethnic Magician gave her son.
    Aladdin: Mom, that was the first thing I did!
    Aladdin's Mom: Never hurts to get a second opinion! It tastes right.
  • A variation in the episode "Goblin's Gold" in Merlin. When a character is possessed by a goblin he begins to lick gold pieces — not to check its authenticity, but because it tastes good.
  • A diamond variant is shown in an episode of NCIS. While dealing with a case involving multiple fiancées and their missing money, Di Nozzo suggests the money might have been spent on the diamond in one of the engagement rings. Ziva disproves this notion by breathing on the diamond, saying that a real one wouldn't collect condensation like this one did.
  • One episode of Mathnet has a gemologist test a pearl's authenticity by popping it his mouth.
    Henchman: I thought he was squirrelly, but don't they usually go for acorns?
    Gemologist: It's a test! Real pearls have tiny surface crystals that grate at the teeth. This one is as smooth as a baby's... knee.
  • In the Bones episode that works as Poorly Disguised Pilot for The Finder, when Brennan gives her card to Walter Sherman, he examines it very closely and even bite into it. This leads to Booth trying to forcefully retrieve it and the two end up wrestling.
  • In the Fallen Angels anthology, the tasting pearls trick comes up in the adaptation of Raymond Chandler's Red Wind.
  • Dead Man's Gun: In "Buryin' Sam", Sam steals the wedding ring of a corpse in his mortuary, then bites it to test its purity.
  • In an episode of The Rifleman, one worker's habit of this points out the real killer, not his supposed murderer.
  • A variation in the opening episode of Shadow and Bone. Jesper exposes a counterfeit Zemeni coin by flipping it up into the air and shooting a hole through it (a bullet wouldn't go through the genuine article). Becomes a Brick Joke when Jesper's boss bribes a guard with a bag of coins, and the guard complains that there's a hole in one of the coins.
  • Early in the Saved by the Bell episode "The Bayside Triangle", Screech gives Lisa a present in good will. Lisa is initially weary of it, but she becomes far more appreciative once she opens the box and finds a gold necklace inside and is shocked after she takes a bite into said necklace and discovers that it's made of real gold.note 


    Tabletop Games 
  • Parodied in Exalted, where the primary currency in heaven is ambrosia, a golden substance that tastes like the most wonderful food ever, wrapped in a thin golden foil. Yes, Heaven pays people in chocolate coins. New employees are often warned not to eat their operational budget. It's also functional currency. In Heaven, one of those coins can be turned into anything from a feast finer than any mortal has ever seen, to the finest clothing imaginable, weapons of the finest craftmanship, or pretty much anything, really.
  • There's an Event Card in Talisman called Fool's Gold which depicts a man biting a fake coin, looking understandably upset.

  • A common micro-magic illusion based on this trope involves the magician biting a coin and taking a chunk out of it. The magician usually leaves behind tooth marks as well. The illusion can involve a spectator's coin, which is returned unharmed.
  • In some productions of Cats, Skimbleshanks mimes biting a coin received from another cat during his big number.
  • In A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Marcus Lycus slips into an orgy disguised as one of his own prostitutes. Upon giving a coin to the guard, we get this exchange:
    "Is it real?"
    "Bite it and see. And that goes for me as well."
  • Parodied in The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew, when a suspicious Moloch tastes one of the coins the Baron paid him and remarks "I see, chocolate money."

    Video Games 
  • In the Infocom game Sorcerer, you acquire a collection of Zorkmids. If you choose to BITE ZORKMID, the game replies "Yep, it's real."
  • In the "Luck" episode of Fallout 4's "What Makes You S.P.E.C.I.A.L.?" promotional videos, Vault Boy does this with one of a heap of bottle caps he's happened upon, grinning happily at his good fortune - and also loses a tooth for his trouble.
  • A living bridge in the first Pajama Sam game asks for a pound of gold to enter a park in the Land of Darkness. When Sam brings it to him, he performs the test, and even breaks out a scale to make sure. It works.
  • Paper Chase: In the Inform version, when you give the gold coin to the bursar, he tests it by biting it.

    Visual Novels 


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The name comes from a Lampshade Hanging in "The Waterbending Master", where, after receiving payment for a job, a pirate bites into one of the gold coins and announces "That's some tasty gold!"
    • In the episode "Sokka's Master", Sokka tries to determine the quality of steel by lightly chomping on it.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Day the Violence Died," Chester J. Lampwick bite-tests a paper cheque.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants once bit on a quarter Patrick gave him, even though he had given Patrick that same quarter just moments before. Spoofed when all of Squidward's coins bend, yet he accepts them without question.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy once had Eddy biting a coin he got from Kevin. He ends up with splinters on his tongue, and he shouts after Kevin "Your wooden money's no good here!"
  • Wakfu:
    • Ruel Stroud biting into a coin is his default pose in the recap at the start of the latter episodes of season 1. He also does this in episode 13 after "saving" a kama from sinking in the sea.
    • Episode 9 features a genie that literally eats gold to grow stronger. Ruel takes advantage of the fact that he doesn't bite the gold before swallowing it, so he doesn't notice that Ruel is actually feeding him chocolate coins wrapped in gold-colored foil, turning him into a puny chocolate genie.
  • The protagonists of Ben 10: Alien Force once encountered a race of aliens that eat popcorn and poop out gold. Kevin performs this test on one of the droppings.
  • Matthew McCreep in The Smurfs and the Magic Flute takes a bite on a coin while he's busy counting up the stolen loot.
  • Underdog: Whenever Shoeshine Boy, Underdog's secret identity, received a coin in payment for his services, he would bite it, even though it was unlikely that he was being paid in gold.
  • In an episode of Futurama involving time travel, Bender tested a ha'penny — which had been in a chamberpot — this way.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch: The bears discover a treasure of Gobaloons under Peevly's office, but instead of being rich, they learn that the gobaloons were stolen by a pirate and anyone trying to confiscate and spend it will be locked up in jail for theft. While bemoaning their situation, Square is eating some of the coins.
    Hair: Of all the rotten luck. A million in gold coins and it all has to go back to the kingdom of Ptomania.
    Square: A pity. They're delicious.
  • A variant in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Yukon Cornelius tests if there's gold around by throwing his pickaxe into the air, letting it lodge itself in the ground, and then licking it. "Nothin'!"
  • In The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, Felix bites a quarter, which yelps in pain and then bites him back.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Spoofed in Summer Camp Island when Susie bites into a merit badge to see if it's legit.


Video Example(s):


Rolex Watch

The Tooth Fairy bites into the Rolex watch to ensure that it's real gold.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / TastyGold

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