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Unaffected by Spice

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[Doc has not only eaten three plates of "Death by Nuclear Inferno" hot wings, he's licking the plate]
Sandy: How is he not dead?
Swamp Fox: Hell, I'm surprised his pants aren't on fire.
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Some characters absolutely cannot tolerate spicy food, and avoid it like the plague. These characters are their polar opposite. They love fiery dishes and eat them as frequently as they can. What would turn anyone else into a Fire-Breathing Diner may get little to no reaction from them, and even if they do, they relish the burn. They may even ask for extra spice. Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce is the elixir of the gods to them, and nothing else will suffice. They might even drink the stuff. Bystanders may watch them eat with mingled amazement and horror, provided the fumes coming from the food don't send them fleeing.

These characters' spice tolerance is often measured against other characters, such as shrugging off foods that leave others in agony from the heat or foiling a prankster who has liberally doused their food with hot sauce by eating it and not batting an eye.

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Justified for some characters due to being constantly exposed to such food as part of their cultural cuisine, natural resistance to heat, or a reduced sense of taste.

Opposite Trope to Plain Palate. Compare Masochist's Meal. Not related to this sort of Spice, or this one.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Angel Beats!, Kanade Tachibana's Trademark Favorite Food is mapo tofu, a dish so spicy that nobody in school can stomach it except her. She likes the taste and finds it to be the only thing on the school menu worth eating. The spiciness doesn't affect her in the least, while when another character tries it, he's downing multiple glasses of water just to try and ease the suffering.
  • Mapo tofu also appears in Fate/stay night and its spinoffs as one of the favorite foods of Kotomine Kirei. When he offers to share some with Shirou Emiya, Shirou seriously considers whether this might be an off-the-cuff assassination attempt. It's implied that it's not so much that he's unaffected by the spice so much that he relishes it as part of his own sadistic impulses, given how he unbuttons his collar and breathes heavily while eating it.
  • Gabriel Dropout: Satanichia the "taste deaf" devil, much to the chagrin of the others when they try to prank her.
  • In Inazuma Eleven, Kogure likes to mess with other people's meals by adding a spicy sauce that sets their mouths on fire. However, when he tries this prank on Tachimukai and notices that he's fine, he tastes his food because he thinks it's not spicy enough, only for his mouth to catch fire. Endou asks Tachimukai how he can eat this, to which he replies that he likes spicy food.
  • In one episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Chef Kawasaki competes with another cook in creating foods so spicy that they cause anybody who eats them to start breathing fire. Kirby, however, is completely unaffected by any of the dishes produced now matter how spicy they get. Ultimately subverted at the end of the episode when Kawasaki makes a curry spicy enough to get a reaction from Kirby during a serious fight, which is lampshaded by Tuff and Meta Knight.
    Tuff: Alright! Fire Kirby!
    Meta Knight: No! That is the heartburn from Kawasaki's cooking!
  • According to the Smash! spinoff of My Hero Academia, Bakugo always gets the spiciest boxed curries at the supermarket. His official profile also lists spicy food as one of his likes.
  • Urusei Yatsura: Thanks to her alien biology, Lum (and other Oni) can eat extremely spicy foods with no effect. She's fine eating any standard Earth dishes, but find them very bland. On the other hand, anything she cooks is way overspiced by human standards.

    Comic Books 
  • Green Arrow Secret Files and Origins #1 features Green Arrow's chili recipe. Most of the Justice League struggles with the spice level (Superman even cheats by using his ice breath on it), but of course Batman is just fine.
  • Because of her bland diet while at the Facility, X-23 has developed a preference for spicy food, and proved it by adding something to her lunch from a street vendor in Madripoor that even had Gambit (a Cajun, and thus no stranger to hot stuff) doing a double-take.
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    Fan Works 
  • The Neon Genesis Evangelion fics Aeon Natum Engel and its rewrite Aeon Entelechy Evangelion exaggerate Misato's canon Cordon Bleugh Chef tendencies to near-Lethal Chef levels, as everything she eats is very heavily spiced. This is justified in a dark way, as injuries she suffered in both fics' backstories have drastically impaired her senses of smell and taste, which means the only way she can enjoy food is to make it that hot. She just hasn't really cottoned to the notion of making separate portions for other people.
  • A Running Gag in the The Desert Storm series is that while Mandalorian cuisine is very spicy, Ben Naasade (a time-travelling post-Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan Kenobi) eats things so hot that they actually horrify other Mandalorians. He's also been banned from springing them on other people after one surprise too many. He and Jango Fett, who has similar tastes, later explain this as being the product of living on bland rations for far too long (in Ben's case, during the Clone Wars)—extremely hot, cheap spices were the only way to actually make it taste of anything.
  • In a My Hero Academia fancomic Kirishima takes a bite of Bakugo's spicy curry, and his face goes red and spews smoke. Izuku innocently offers his own curry to Kirishima, saying it's not too bad. Kirishima accepts, and a single bite knocks him out.
  • Like Crimson below, Original Character Annie in My Ridonculous Race eats the spiciest pepper almost like it's nothing. She simply rubs her cheek in mild annoyance, like she accidentally pricked her finger. Earlier in Japan, she also eats a wasabi roll without knowing of the wasabi until after the chef told her so.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the beginning of Blind Fury, after Nick returns to the United States, a group of punks harass him at a bar by pouring hot sauce all over his food. While they get a laugh at his shocked expression, their fun is quickly deflated when Nick, who spent years in Vietnam, cattily remarks that it's still too mild and prefers something stronger.

    Literature 
  • The Belgariad: Sadi the Master Poisoner has spent a lifetime inuring himself to much more potent substances than mere pepper in Nyissa's Decadent Court. At a Fancy Dinner in Demon Lord of Karanda, he calmly finishes a dish that reduces his friends to tears.
    Sadi: Piquant.
  • Shrens in Elcenia are accustomed to ignoring pain as meaningless, due to spending the first twenty years of their life suffering from constantly-worsening pain from esu. It's not common knowledge, but this functional immunity to pain extends to spicy food. At Rhysel's wedding, Ehail makes a point of not eating spicy troll arrabek too quickly, to avoid anyone possibly catching on that she's a shren.
  • Subverted in the Hyperbole and a Half book, where Allie admits that she first feigned a love of hot sauce to impress a family member and has been caught in the Snowball Lie for decades since, even receiving hot sauce for Christmas instead of toys.
  • Mo Dao Zu Shi, Wei Wuxian is notorious for his love of spicy food. Every time he feeds someone else his cooking, they are always suffering the effects.
  • Redwall: The otters' Trademark Favorite Food is shrimp and hotroot soup, which ranges from fiery to outright dangerous. Two otters in Salamandastron have a hotroot Eating Contest that ends with a full sack of pepper in the soup and both of them in tears... after which the meek old mouse Hollyberry nonchalantly finishes their bowls and comments that it could be spicier.
  • Rivers of London: Peter Grant discusses how he was taunted by several Indian friends over his love of curry, who were then amazed when he ate an incredibly hot native curry with no reaction. Peter's inner monologue reveals that having been brought up on several of his mother's Sierra Leone dishes which are actually substantially worse, curries have no effect on him at this point.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fringe: The Observers have very little sense of taste and Feel No Pain, so September dumps an entire shaker of pepper into his food without any ill effect.
  • Jessie: In "Are You Cooler Than a Fifth Grader?", Ravi is able to get rid of a bully by letting him steal and eat his lunch: a sandwich with Indian dragonfire peppers. The bully screams and runs away in agony, while Ravi eats a whole pepper without even flinching.
    Luke: How do you do that without screaming in pain?
    Ravi: Where I come from, people sleep on beds of nails and walk on hot coals. This is nothing!
  • Man v. Food's host Adam Richman tours the USA checking out its best eateries and taking on their food challenges; he appears to succeed most often at those that involve eating insanely hot chilis.
  • MythBusters:
    • One episode tested if chilis and other spicy concoctions would be effective shark repellent (based on a myth that indigenous seafarers would string them around their boats to prevent attacks). It ended up busted because of this; chilis evolved their spiciness to counter land-based grazers, not sea-based predators, and thus the capsaicin within the chilis was completely ineffective against the sharks.
    • Downplayed with Tory. In one episode they tested multiple things rumored to help ease chili. He was completely unaffected by the first test, and Kari had to use something stronger to get him to react the same way that Grant did.
  • On Star Trek: Discovery, Number One adds large amounts of habanero sauce to her burger and fries.
    Captain Pike: Would you like some lighter fluid to go with that?
    Number One: That comes with the shake.
  • Odd Squad: Orla appears to be immune to anything spicy.
    • The episode "Jeremy" has Orla and Oswald explaining to Opal and Omar how the van became locked for the second time — they were eating peppers that were seemingly spicy, at least enough for Oswald to take a single bite of one and freak out about how hot it is. When Oswald asks himself how anyone can eat peppers, Orla then clarifies that both of them were eating mild peppers.
    • The OddTube episode "Happy Twelve-iversary" has Orla, being interviewed by her teammates, downing hot sauce from a bottle like it's nothing, believing it to be juice that is red-pepper-flavored and claiming it's her favorite drink.
      Omar: What's your favorite drink?
      Orla: This red-pepper-flavored juice. [starts drinking from the bottle]
      Omar: Orla, that's not juice, that's hot sauce!
      Orla: It feels room temperature to me.
      [cut to Omar mouthing "What?" at the camera]

    Video Games 
  • In Trinity Universe, Rizelia has a reputation as a Lethal Chef because she loves incredibly hot foods and adds fiery sauces to everything she cooks. She even gets an ass-chewing from Tsubaki when her cooking causes Kanata to drop unconscious.

    Web Comics 
  • In the Adorkable Twilight and Friends page "Spice of Life", Spike and Vinyl Scratch try to see who's the toughest by eating "infinity ghost reaper fire peppers". Vinyl's roommate, Octavia, finds the two of them rolling on the floor, wailing in pain and begging for water.
    Octavia: You two are so juvenile. For goodness sake, I thought you were in trouble. Here's your water. [She dumps the glass over Vinyl's head. Then she eats one of the peppers herself and turns to leave.] Mmm. By the way, these peppers aren't hot.
  • Catana Comics:
    • Catana draws herself pouring fire out of bottles to show how spicy she likes her food.
    • A later comic shows Catana eating an "extra hot double spiced ghost pepper crusted meal."
      John: You know, you could eat things that aren't painful.
      Catana: I LIKE the pain!
  • Ennui GO!:
    • The recurring character Sybil comes into Hashim's father's restaurant and asks for the spiciest meal they have. Hashim starts to reach for the bottle of "white people hot" sauce but is manhandled by Sybil. Thus:
      Hashim: Here. I made it as spicy as I possibly could. And we don't do refunds.
      Sybil: Is that so? [takes a bite] It's delicious. Is this the spiciest you could do? Useless.
      Hashim: まさか!note 
    • In "Pie-Eating", Renee tries to get some payback from Sarah for constantly pelting her with pies by pouring hot sauce on one during the pie eating contest. However...
      Renee: *shocked* B-but...how?! I poured a whole bottle of hot sauce on those.
      Sarah: *smugly* Oh honey...I eat Hashim's cooking every day. You were beaten before you even opened the bottle.
  • Freefall: While making hot sauce for trade, Sam is seen slurping down a ladle of sauce. He speculates that he lacks the sensory receptors for capsaicin and plans to take advantage of this in drinking games.
  • In Grrl Power, Sydney Scovillenote  has a deep love of extreme heat.
    • In the early strips, she gets one of the spiciest meals at a Thai restaurant she frequents, and then adds three of the hottest sauces on the bar to the dish. The cook and his mother are watching from the kitchen and can't believe what they're seeing. The fumes are so intense that they affect people outside the restaurant.
      Sydney: Great meal as always, Mrs. B! That Ring of Fire stuff is pretty good. Actually has me a little worried about later tonight.
      Mrs. B.: [wearing a gas mask] So glad to hear it Miss Scoville. Living up to your family name I see.
    • Later on, she goes to another restaurant with her ARCHON teammate Peggy, and demands their hottest dish, the kind you have to sign a waiver to actually order. The cook wears a hazmat suit to retrieve the sauce from a safety container, and the bowl it's served in has hazard striping around the rim. Although Sydney has a Fire-Breathing Diner reaction, she tears into the dish and even wonders if the cooks have some "pure cap" note  to spice it up, while Peggy and the waitress recoil in horror and the cook faints. All is well until a noodle flips into her eye.
    • Much later on, she gets stranded in space and ends up in an interstellar way station. Once she figures out that an eatery serves a human-compatible dish called grakz that's really spicy, she draws a crowd who are amazed that she's eating it. Unfortunately, while she enjoys the dish, she doesn't enjoy the gastric fallout.
  • Questionable Content: May is feeding hot nachos to some pigeons, explaining to Winslow that unlike normal pigeons, these "are my special spicy buddies, and one day they'll conquer the rest of their idiot species." Alas, Winslow does some research and reports back to May that actually, pigeons can't taste capsaicin, so there's nothing special about the ones she's been feeding.
  • Slightly Damned: Buwaro is able to eat the very spicy red honey of the firebee with no ill effects due to his nature as a fire demon, which are naturally immune to fire and extreme heat.
  • In one sequence from The Whiteboard, Doc and his friends go to a bar and he orders "Death by Nuclear Inferno" hot wings. Flames come out of his ears, but he is otherwise unimpressed and calls them a bit bland.

    Web Original 
  • A letter to the site Ask A Manager told the story of a person who likes really spicy food. A coworker stole his lunch and ended up vomiting from the spice. The stealer complained to HR that the person they stole from was trying to poison him. The owner willingly ate some of the lunch in front of the boss to prove that it wasn't too spicy to him (even the boss couldn't eat much).

    Web Videos 
  • Hot Ones' gimmick is that the host Sean Evans and the celebrity guest eat 10 hot wings over the course of the interview, each with a sauce that increases in heat from mild to extremely spicy. There have been a few episodes where the guest makes it through all 10 wings without hesitation, but a couple of instances stand out:
    • Guy Fieri not only didn't appear to even break a sweat, he noted as he was about to walk off the set that he didn't touch his water or his milk, which floored Sean when he noticed the differences in his glasses and Guy's.
    • Alton Brown, aside from knocking back some of his half and half, barely showed any reaction to the heat in his wings. He also ranked the 10 sauces from best to worst, actually took a swig of one of the mid-grade sauces and remarked on how he could improve it, and smelled the bottle of the hottestnote  without flinching, even complimenting Sean on the flavor blend.
  • Sohinki from Smosh Games is famously known for his ridiculously high tolerance for spice, and he usually sits out from pepper challenges because it wouldn't affect him. At one point, he swallowed a whole dollop of a 6.3 million Scoville unit hot sauce, and is none the worse for wear.
  • Trash Taste:
    • In episode 17, Garnt and Connor reveal that they love spicy food, and they both complain about how little spicenote  is in Japanese food. In comparison, Joey can barely handle spicy food, although he's proud of himself for having worked up to the level 3 spiciness at a curry restaurant that they all eat at. Garnt and Connor just laugh, as Garnt is used to fiery Thai cuisine and Connor regularly gets the level 10 curries from the same restaurant. Garnt also notes that his fiance Sydney, as a result of eating his mother's cooking, has built up enough of a spice tolerance that she can eat dishes that even he can't handle.
    • The discussion about Japanese restaurants and their stinginess with spice comes back in episode 49. Garnt says that after being disappointed with the spiciness of the dishes at a Thai restaurant he likes, he tried gaming the system. When placing his order through Uber Eats, he wrote his request to make his food extra spicy in Thai instead of Japanese. As he describes it...
      I remember getting the same takeaway box, opening up this package, and this thing looked like it had been cooked in, like, the flames of hell. *Joey and Connor both bust out laughing* Fucking Lucifer grilled this himself. [...] I'd never been more happy in my life.

    Western Animation 
  • Back at the Barnyard: In "The Good, the Bad and the Snotty", Snotty Boy feeds the animals pizzas laced with hot sauce. While everyone has the standard reaction, Pip (a Mexican mouse) is able to stomach it and calls the others lightweights.
  • Big City Greens: In "Feud Fight", Gramma scoffs at the peppers on offer at the farmer's market, claiming that they're far too weak for her. When the Pepper Merchant offers her some incredibly spicy peppers, she takes a bite of one, and calls it "zesty" (while breathing a little fire).
  • DuckTales (2017): John D. Rockerduck had himself cryogenically frozen for many years. This had the side effect of singing his taste buds, leaving him without a sense of taste. In "The Split Sword of Swanstantine!", his ruined taste buds allow him to down multiple bowls of incredibly hot spices without even sweating.
  • Futurama: La Barbara Conrad's goat curry is spicy enough to burn through the floor all the way down to Robot Hell and make the Robot Devil scream in pain, but her husband Hermes thinks it could use more seasoning.
  • In one episode of Goof Troop, Pete tries to sabotage a dish Peg had made for Goofy by adding chili peppers, mustard, an entire bottle of hot sauce, and a drop of "pure jalapenie consecrate" to make it "guran-teed to melt his innards''. To his dismay, Goofy loves the dish and asks if he has any hot sauce.
  • In The Loud House, Lynn loves spicy food and while it does sometimes make her red in the face or breathe out steam, she actually likes it. In "Singled Out", her temporary boyfriend Dexter is chosen because he is the only boy in her class who can eat a spicy burger without flinching.
  • The debut episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic establishes Pinkie Pie as having a high heat tolerance. Twilight Sparkle, distracted by Pinkie's rambling, accidentally mixes hot sauce into her drink and then runs out of the party with her mane and tail on fire. Pinkie then liberally douses a cupcake with the same sauce and downs it without flinching.
    Spike: Hot sauce? Ew!
    Pinkie Pie: What? It's good!
  • Rugrats: In "Dummi Bear Dinner Disaster", when Paul Gatsby, the creator of The Dummi Bears comes to the Carmichaels' house for dinner, the babies worry that if the dinner goes well, Susie will have to move away. One of the ways Angelica tries to ruin the dinner is by spiking the main course with "Volcano Brand" hot sauce. This plan backfires when it turns out that Paul loves spicy food and applauds the cooking as delicious.
  • The Simpsons, "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)": At Springfield's annual chili cook-off, it's revealed that Homer is renowned for being able to eat extremely hot food. Chief Wiggum's chili made of Guatemalan insanity peppers is too much even for him. However, once he coats his mouth with wax, he swallows several of those peppers whole and wins the chili-eating competition. Zig-zagged when Homer gets a different adverse reaction: hallucinations.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Karate Choppers", when SpongeBob and Sandy square off, she grabs his tongue and threatens to put a drop of Volcano Sauce on it. When SpongeBob gives up, she chugs down the whole bottle with no ill effects.
  • Tales of Arcadia:
    • In the Trollhunters episode "The Reckless Club", the Diablo Maximus Breakfast Burrito is established as being a Masochist's Meal, Toby having built years of tolerance to spicy food in order to stomach it. When Senor Uhl confiscates it and takes a bite out of it, he is rendered incapacitated for the rest of the day, alternating between drowning his tortured taste buds in milk and voiding his delicate digestive system in the bathroom.
    • In the 3Below episode "Terra Incognita Part Two", the Diablo Maximus is the first food Aja ever tries in Arcadia. Not only does she eat the whole thing in a few bites with no trouble, she actually goes back for seconds to Toby's astonishment. Considering she's an alien in disguise, it is likely her Bizarre Alien Biology can process the chemicals that create spice-reactions more efficiently than humans.
  • In the Teen Titans Go! episode "The Spice Game", the Titans barring Robin are sick of his bland cooking and get addicted to eating hot peppers. They build such a tolerance for spice that even habaneros don't do anything for them anymore, so they sample a magic Azarathian pepper that turns them into Fire-Breathing Diners and requires magic milk to cure.
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race sees one task where one teammate has to eat one of three peppers, Mild, Middle, and Spicy. Almost everyone picks the latter two and suffers from the spice. However, when Crimson eats the spicy one, she barely reacts beyond a dull "Ow".

    Real Life 
  • Some people have fewer TRPV1 receptors, which are responsible for the burning sensation caused by capsaicin, or lack them entirely. This allows such individuals to eat spicy food with little or no ill effects.
  • Capsaicin works by activating your nerves in a way that tricks them into thinking they're sensing heat. However, this only works on certain species, primarily mammals. Birds, for example, are utterly unaffected. Capsaicin-producing plants are thought to have evolved this way due to the symbiosis they have with birds that spread their seeds (whereas mammals are more likely to destroy the seeds with their teeth). Presumably, alien species would likewise simply be incompatible (although they would need No Biochemical Barriers to be able to eat Earth food at all).

    Similarly, mint and menthol activate nerves in a way that tricks them into thinking they're sensing cold. But these sensations do not neutralize or cancel each other out as actual heat and cold would, instead resulting in a sensation of both extreme heat and cold at the same time. It's been described as "what hellfire must taste like" by those who've tried

 
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Gramma and the Sultan Pepper

The Sultan Pepper is the most powerful pepper around and can literally burn anyone's mouth...except for Gramma's.

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