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No Biochemical Barriers / Alien Food Is Edible

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Examples of No Biochemical Barriers involving what people eat and drink.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Birdy the Mighty, Birdy can eat human food, and quite enjoys it, but needs to eat a lot more of it to survive.
  • In Cat Planet Cuties, getting access to Okinawan cuisine after Eris sends back a Food Porn-level description of it is one of the main reasons the Catians decide to come to Earth.
  • In Death Note, Shinigami don't need to eat, but many enjoy human food anyway, as a form of Alien Catnip. Ryuk likes apples, and Sidoh likes chocolate.
  • In Hetalia: Axis Powers, Alfred's alien-buddy Tony is regularly seen snacking on the same fast-food junk Alfred does.
  • Please Teacher!. Aliens love Pocky. Though the alien in question is half human.
  • Dita Liebely, the female protagonist of Vandread, samples the food from Hibiki Tokai's home planet, but she finds it revolting and inedible. Believing the opposite must be true for Hibiki, she feeds him food from her home world, which he finds to be delicious. Following this, Dita has little problem spending time with Hibiki on the condition that she feed him. Although Dita considers Hibiki to be an alien lifeform, most outsiders would point out that they are the same species, just different genders.
  • In Urusei Yatsura, Lum and the other aliens have almost no problem with Earth food, and vice versa. Almost: Oni like their food incredibly spicy, so they find most Earth food extremely bland and humans find Oni food unbearably hot. Also, a certain Oni candy turns Earth animals into giant fat versions of themselves (a swallow becoming penguin-looking), and Oni will immediately get drunk if they eat umeboshi (a pickled Japanese prune served as a side dish and is regarded as a cure for hangover).

    Comic Books 
  • Normally played straight in the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, but at times played with:
    • In the "Donald Versus Saturn" miniseries, Saturnians can eat Earth food just fine, but the Jovians feed on metal - and have a particular liking for precious one. Much to Scrooge's chagrin, as every time he encounters them they'll try and eat his money and even the bullets from any gun he shoots at them.
    • In the miniseries "Threat from the Infinite" the Tz'oook are baffled that this isn't the case and the only Earth food they can eat is bananas: since they're originally from Earth they expected to be able to eat everything. This ends up Foreshadowing that the Tz'oook are actually from a parallel universe and have accidentally and unknowingly crossed the dimensional barrier, as once they find that out they realize they're actually lucky they can eat at least bananas.
    • The Evronians from Paperinik New Adventures are Emotion Eaters, though their spores (effectively their fetuses) need to also absorb nutrients from the ground and their larval forms need some normal food... They can also prepare normal food, as their slaves and peoples they entertain diplomatic relationships with before they invade are from races that eat more conventionally. The food for their slaves is nutrient but disgusting (not that they care, having lost all emotions), while that for diplomats is flat-out weird (the one time he got it, Paperinik flat-out asked if a dish was looking back at him).
  • Green Lantern. The human Green Lanterns have problems getting good food at the Oan cafeteria. The chef just isn't that skilled.
  • Tenzil Kim and his fellow Bismollians from Legion of Super-Heroes can eat anything, except certain materials he specifically can't use his power against.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Etta Candy makes a habit of trying food from every alien culture they encounter. Despite this including many odd extraterrestrial beings, this hobby of hers never makes her ill and the only time there were repercussions was when some edible seeds took root at her family's ranch due to further alien intervention.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Tycho kills a cave creature:
    Wes: What's that?
    Tycho: Might be dinner.
    Wes: Are you nuts? What if it's toxic?
    Tycho: Let's cook it and see how it smells.
    • Turns out that it's a ronk. Female ronks are physically nearly identical to males, but their flesh is highly toxic when eaten. Fortunately, Tycho killed a male.

    Fan Works 
  • Four Armed Bride
    • Looma and Ben can both eat food from the other's homeworld to no ill effect. Looma likes smoothies and Ben likes a type of meat from Koros that comes from a cow-like animal.
    • Azmuth drinks half a bottle of something called Red Comet at a party that averts this. When Ben wonders what it tastes like, Azmuth calls back from his trip to the bathroom that besides Ben being too young to drink, Red Comet causes organ failure in humans.
  • Oversaturated World: In Sailor Orbital Blue Oyster stops Kikai from eating Earth food based on this very issue. Kikai assures her that she recently used a magical spell to "align" herself with a native animal and so she's perfectly safe.
  • Discussed in Star Wars: Paranormalities. Gahmah Raan offers his guests Zolph, Grein and Hiriss (a human, a Chiss, and a Mirialan-human hybrid respectively, all species on the near-human spectrum) some tea brewed from a native leaf in his home. As Krishar is a mostly uncharted world and Krishari are a mostly unknown species (Gahmah being the only known one to have traveled offworld at that point), Zolph is understandably hesitant to drink the tea. As Grein has a Force ability that lets her filter toxins out of her body, she taste-tests it and confirms that it's safe, even if it doesn't taste great.
  • Downplayed in The Dragon King's Temple. Asyuntians can eat human food, but the massive levels of naquadah in their biochemistry means that they consider naquadah a necessary nutrient, and will gradually suffer mineral deprivation (similar to iron or copper deficiency in humans) if required to subsist too long on naquadah-less Terran food. Conversely, humans need to be very careful in what they eat on Asyunti, to avoid getting heavy metal poisoning from the naquadah-laced Asyuntian food web.
  • Subverted for comedy in this fan comic. In a parody of old comic book Hostess snack ads, Ant-Man and The Wasp encounter a bunch of gold-eating aliens and offer them Twinkies to satiate their appetites instead. While the aliens happily eat them at first, Wasp questions if they're even capable of digesting Twinkies if they normally subsist on gold. They aren't; cue two dead aliens and a disclaimer that Twinkies probably won’t kill you immediately if you're human.

    Films — Animated 
  • Astro Kid: The planet Willy is stranded on has plenty of plants and fruits humans can eat. However, the dangers of eating unknown, alien plants are brought up, and Willy's survival robot Buck scans everything first to determine what is and what is not safe for human consumption. Even then, some food, while not toxic, has strange side effects, like causing Willy to foam from the mouth.

    Films — Live-Action 

In General:

  • Many films where aliens, particularly sentient ones, eat humans (humans being eaten by alien beasts can be explained by the alien eating things that act like prey without knowing that it's bad for the alien's health).

By Movie:

  • Alien Nation: Newcomers can survive on Earth, but there are noted differences in their needs. They cannot drink (or even touch) salt water because it burns them like battery acid. Spoiled milk gets them drunk, so they drink it as a beverage rather than alcohol, which has no effect. The TV spin-off greatly expands on Newcomer differences.
  • The aliens in District 9 eat a lot of beef and pork, and have a craving for tinned cat food. There are some biological differences though: they don't just enjoy eating cat food, it tastes so good that it verges on being an addictive drug. It's described as being sort of like catnip is for cats to them, only a lot more intense. Initially, this is played for laughs, until we later see aliens selling off advanced technology or even alien children for a few cans of it. They also like to chew tires, though it isn't clear if they can digest it, or if they just enjoy chewing it, like bubblegum.
  • The Men in Black films and cartoon imply that all alien immigrants and visitors to Earth can eat (or appear to eat, in the case of the Mobile-Suit Human-wearing Arquelliens) human food, although most of them need to in order to live as ordinary humans. Presumably those that can't eat Earth food find more palatable corners of the galaxy to hang around in.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show: As well as a case of To Serve Mannote  the Transylvanians are able to eat normal human foods. A shopping list including flour, bread, eggs and sugar (as well as hypodermic needles, presumably not for eating...) is shown, and they drink wine. In Revenge of the Old Queen Riff Raff also drinks coffee.


By Author:

  • C. J. Cherryh's works:
    • Tully, the sole human in the Chanur Novels, has no problem with Hani food.
    • In the Foreigner (1994) series, humans must be very careful as to what atevi food they eat. Many "teas" and seasonings are deadly to them. The atevi can eat all human foods without problem, though human food is lacking in essential atevi vitamins, so an atevi can't survive on only human food.
  • James White played with this trope a lot.
    • In his Sector General space hospital series, the hospital's cafeteria and catering service feature prominently. Many of the oxygen-breathing carbon-based lifeforms can and do share foods; while water-breathers, intelligent plants, and more unusual lifeforms do not. This does sometimes cause problems, such as in The Galactic Gourmet, where an alien gourmet chef has to learn how to make food that the humans at the hospital will actually want to eat.
    • In The Silent Stars Go By, a group of humans whose shuttle crashed thousands of kilometers from a newly-established interstellar colony are able to live off of local plants and animals with only mild health consequences. But then it turns out that that last alien animal they found and ate was a member of a local intelligent species.

By Work:

  • Animorphs uses that trope a lot, with varying levels of plausibility:
    • Andalites are a species of mouthless centaurs which absorb nutrients from the grass with their hooves. Not only is grass apparently common on two different planets, Earth's seems to be perfectly healthy for them. They also consume protein through creatures like worms they step on and crush; this also never causes them any issues.
    • Similarly, Taxxons can apparently eat anything that bleeds (or rather, will, even if they shouldn't). Also, Hork-Bajir are capable of eating the bark of Earth's trees, although they admit it doesn't taste as good as the bark back home.
    • The technology that gave the series its name is based on absorbing DNA. It starts to make sense with The Elimist Chronicles, which explain that the Ellimist created the Pemalites to seed life on as many planets as possible, to beat Crayak at their "Will all life in the universe be utterly destroyed or not" game, so they probably used the same DNA-based cell for each one.
  • In Robert Sheckley's "Another Man's Poison", two starving human space-explorers land on an abandoned alien outpost crammed with crates of mysterious goods all labeled in hard-to-translate alienese. Knowing nothing about the absent aliens, the duo has to decide what they're willing to risk eating. They end up accidentally waking up/activating some sort of aggressive living "transport device"... the flesh of which turns out to be quite edible.
  • The Cobra Trilogy: Discussed. All the habitable worlds within the scope of the series share the same basic biochemical building blocks. In-universe there are various theories why this is the case; the alien Troft believe that an early star-faring race colonized the local region approximately one billion years ago before being wiped out by a nearby supernova, leaving behind only their microbes which developed into hundreds of independent ecosystems. The net result however is that Humans and Troft can eat many of the same basic foods, and can find many edible things on even unexplored worlds. The unpleasant downside is that all the hostile life-forms on newly colonized worlds are both capable of eating humans and happy to try.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: It's mentioned in one novel that humans cannot eat any of the native Pern plants and can only eat the plants originally brought from Earth, but they can eat the native animals. Klah (the coffee analogue) is made by steeping tree bark from a native Pern plant, because heat denatures proteins, which means its toxicity may be entirely negated by heat. Or at least, mild enough to put up with, just like regular coffee.
  • Duchy Of Terra: Downplayed. There is no such thing as a dish produced by any one species that can be safely eaten by others, but it is possible to process any species' food into something called Universal Protein, which is essentially the least common denominator of foodstuffs, and can be safely eaten by anybody. UP garnished with condiments containing whatever nutrients the eater's specific species needs that are processed out of UP are a common meal for spacers, because it keeps well and simplifies the logistics of feeding a multi-racial crew. That said, everyone prefers real food when they can get it, because a UP meal is basically a bowl of porridge with crushed vitamin tablets stirred in, which is just as unappetizing as it sounds.
  • Cordwainer Smith: The Apicians in the short story "From Gustible's Planet" are capable of eating Earth food (and think it's delicious). This is specifically said to be unusual, though.
  • Godspeed: Played with. A human colony world is cut off from the rest of civilization after something went wrong with every hyperdrive in the galaxy at once. Without imported food from Earth, the colony has to grow its own crops. While they're edible, and humans can live off them pretty comfortably, the local food has two severe health effects: one, puberty is delayed by nearly ten years, and two, something in the food causes a gross imbalance in the ratio of boys to girls born, such that girls are extremely rare. It's a plot point that unless they find a way to counteract this, the planet's population will collapse within a generation or two.
  • Hainish: Characters from one planet frequently live on other planets, sometimes for years at a time (Genly, a Terran, on Gethen in The Left Hand of Darkness and Old Music, a Hainishman, on Werel in several short stories, among others). This is because all of the people involved evolved from a common species, the Hainish, in geologically very recent times, and so have sufficiently similar biology to be able to eat one another's foods without complication.
  • Hayven Celestia:
    • Geroo and ringel breathe the same atmosphere and can eat many of the same foods, but when a geroo gets into a drinking contest with a ringel pirate he notices he's not getting buzzed. After asking what's in the drinks he discovers that ringel get drunk on glycerol.
    • Some geroo slaves assigned to clean a sulfur-breathing krakun's apartment discover that they can't eat most of their owner's food, and the few items that are safe are deficient in key nutrients. Fortunately some of the local "vermin" yield edible meat.
  • "Hostess": There are biospheres which aren't based on protein or even carbon, but the sapient species are all similar enough that an alien wanting to survive on human food only needs to bring some vitamin pills along.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: The vast majority of species in the galaxy seem to be able to exist just fine on the same basic foodstuffs and in similar atmospheric conditions. One amusing application of the trope is that drug laws are all but impossible to enforce; just about every species has something another considers Alien Catnip as part of its essential diet. Climate preferences, however, are not quite so universal. Thranx, for instance, are native to an extremely hot and humid world; to them, the Amazon rainforest is pleasantly humid, but a bit on the chilly side.
  • Into the Looking Glass: The alien food is used as a diet plan, because while filling, it has no nutritional value, and thus doesn't provide energy in a form human biochemistry can use. Used in that anyone from one of the four biological patterns (called Green, Blue, Red and Orange based on the version of chlorophyll found) can eat anything of that pattern. However, even same-pattern foods may or may not be nutritious, or even safenote  — there's just a better chance of it being digestible.
  • Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse: Played with. For most species, eating an alien plant or animal is a good way to court a painful death, but there are ways for a skilled cook to denature and prepare foods associated with one species so that another one maybe won't get a lot of calories or nutrients out of it but will also not be poisoned. This is inexact — Glacidae enjoy methane slushies and copper-based salsa, which is difficult to work with — but it's enough to support restaurants with multi-species cuisine. Humans, though, don't need such treatment and can eat virtually anything with nothing worse than a bad time in the bathroom. This is possibly because these humans are all uplifted Technically Living Zombies, unable to feel pain and nearly unkilleable. In the third book, an unmodified human joins Mops' crew. When an alien serves them a meal, they all pause for a moment to let their AI analyze the dish and inform him and their Token Nonhuman teammate that they'd better sit this out.
  • Known Space: Almost all alien species are based on the same biochemistry, and can inhabit each other's native environments with little practical issue. The Kzinti, a highly predatory species, also have no issue with eating other aliens. This is because almost all life in the known galaxy is descended from the planet-size farms of food yeast of the bygone Thrintun Slaver Empire, left behind when it wiped itself out in a war against a massive slave uprising that destroyed all complex life in its worlds. A small handful of species don't share this origin and tend to have more exotic biologies as a result, such as the liquid nitrogen-based Outsiders or the native fauna of Gummidgy, which is mutually fatally toxic to Thrint-descended life.
  • The Night's Dawn Trilogy: Many exotic foodstuffs are imported from alien planets, and Earth plants are genetically tweaked to grow on other worlds; the best alcoholic beverage in the Human Confederation is made from the water accumulated in the flowers of Norfolk roses. A short tale describes how some of the first scientists to land there, while inspecting the local flora, tasted said water. Norfolk was cleared for colonization days later as a result.
  • Old Man's War: Mentioned. Apparently killing and eating colonists of an alien species who happen to be inhabiting a planet you want is popular in the setting, and humans are just as willing to do it to other species as they are to do it to humans.
  • Usually played straight in The Planeteers (the Penton and Blake stories), in which Penton and Blake are able to eat Callistan jelly fruit and stragath (although the latter squicks Blake out because it tends to move around while you're trying to eat it). Averted in "The Brain Pirates", though, when Penton and Blake become stranded on the outer-system satellite Pornan and fear starvation because all the food there is full of heavy metals.
  • Prince Roger: Downplayed. Baseline humans can eat and digest some Mardukan plants and animals. The prince and his bodyguards can eat and digest a wider variety, because they have gene-tweaks and implanted nanite packages intended to let them do just that. Micro-nutrient deficiencies are a constant threat because of the alien nature of Marduk; a lot of vitamins simply aren't present due to bio-chemical differences. Several substances that are toxic to native life-forms are harmless or even healthy to humans; the venom of a certain type of fish turns out to contain precursors for several essential vitamins, and allows the humans to stretch their precious supply of vitamin supplements. When discussing what potential exports Marduk has, the prince specifically brings up the grain that is the local staple food, which turns out to be very tasty and also more nutritious to humans than its Earth equivalents.
  • Rama II: Humans eat mana melons. These are alien eggs which look like fruits with green flesh and medicinal tasting green liquid. They are provided by resident bird-like aliens when the humans continually pester them for food. After analysing them with an Everything Sensor, Nicole determines they are safe to eat and they become the main sustenance of the crew. It is revealed later that these are the eggs of an alien species whose eggs feed the bird-like aliens. So one alien species' eggs is eaten by two other species harmlessly.
  • Rod Allbright Alien Adventures: This is discussed in I Left My Sneakers In Dimension X. At one point Rod and Elspeth are imprisoned in a castle in Dimension X and are given some weird alien plants to eat. Elspeth starts freaking out that it might be poisonous or do something horrible to their insides. For some reason, Rod takes extreme offense at this and, after taking a bite out of a plant and finding out it tastes horrible, deliberately tricks Elspeth into eating some, even though she was completely justified in having such fears.
  • Skylark Series: This trope goes all the way back to the first Space Opera, The Skylark of Space. Although the main characters are initially wary of eating Osnomian food, Seaton gives some Earth spices (as well as cigarettes) to an Osnomian without being at all worried for the alien's health.
  • The Space Trilogy: Humans can breath and eat just fine on Venus and Mars, even though those planets supporting species as alien to us as bipedal penguin-seals, sentient grasshopper-dwarves, and hundred-eyed, car-sized spiders. At the very least, its indicated that primal Jupiterian king, Maleldil the Young, formed the surfaces of the planets to suit life, so perhaps Maleldil just put in some extra hours to make each of the Solar System's atmospheres compatible with all forms of life.
  • The Sparrow: This turns out to be the case, though the main cast are worried that there might be barriers and consequentially are very careful and scientific about eating the food. Alan does die shortly after ending up on the new planet, but no one is ever able to pinpoint a specific aspect of the planet that killed him since everything has proven to be otherwise harmless.
  • Star Wars: Canto Bight has one story revolving around a wine deal, and the sommelier absolutely refuses to sell any alcohol that she hasn't tested and catalogued thoroughly to see which species it will affect negatively. She's lost at least one deal from a man who tried to buy wine that was poisonous to his species.
  • Star Wars Legends: Touched on. Although most species apparently have comparable digestive systems, a few unusual species, such as the Gand, enjoy foods that would either be indigestible or outright poisonous to others.
    • Jedi Apprentice: An Arcona, snacking on ammonia crystals, covers his plate when a human (Obi-Wan) reaches for the salt, explaining that sodium chloride is a dangerously addictive drug for his species.
    • According to Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, there is apparently only one human bartender on Tatooine, due to the insanely large amount of information about drinks that needs to be memorized so as to not kill customers with the wrong drinks. In another novel, Han mentions that the bartender at the bar better not be watering down the drinks, since the species he's serving is allergic to water! Said bartender is also attempting to develop a perfect drink for Jabba. A single drop of the prepared liquor is enough to leave him convulsing on the floor.
    • Hutts are also apparently indigestible, even to the Sarlacc, but Hutts can seemingly eat anything; in one of the Tales from Jabba's Palace, it's revealed that someone is attempting to poison his food. The problem for the investigators? Over half of what Jabba eats is poisonous to most other species. It actually turns out to be a mistranslation; he thinks somebody put a curse on his food. Another example comes up in The Han Solo Trilogy: when Jabba wants a rival Hutt poisoned, it's tremendously difficult to find anything that will actually work.
    • I, Jedi: Iella and Corran go for dinner at a restaurant whose signature dish is "Mynock Coronet City". Mynocks (the batlike creatures inside the space slug in The Empire Strikes Back) are established in other material to be Silicon-Based Life and therefore would likely be inedible even assuming toxicity wasn't a concern.
  • Averted for the Shandi in Strata - they can only digest proteins from their own planet, but played straight for humand and the Kung, who can steal each other's food (and drink...) just fine.
  • A True Story, an Ancient Roman novel by Lucian, has the unbuilt form. Moon people, Sun people (yes, the sun is an inhabited world), and people from various stars all eat quite similar food to humans — milk, cheese, cabbages, onions, etc. Their worlds are also located inside Earth's atmosphere.
  • The War Against the Chtorr: An aggressive alien ecosystem is invading Earth, and the newcomers have absolutely no problem eating all of the planet's native lifeforms. Conversely, at least some of the invading species, if properly cleaned, can be safely eaten by humans. How this is possible is an ongoing in-universe mystery.
  • Wyjscie Z Cienia by Janusz Zajdel: The aliens come to Earth to trade for edibles. Humans prove that they have carbon-based metabolism by feeding them honey with a radioactive tracer and then analyzing the air exhaled, but the only inedible to humans thing that the aliens crave is livid pinkgill mushroom, which intoxicates them.
  • Worldwar: Touched upon. The Race's biology and biochemistry are similar enough that they can live on Earth and eat some Earth biomatter with no problems. However, what would be slightly chilly to humans is beastly cold to them. Their home planet is basically a large desert with no freestanding oceans, and so hot that ice only exists in laboratories. Less prominently mentioned is that Earth is also a lot wetter than they are used to: Lizards stationed in Earth's tropics are very susceptible to molds and rots. Moreover, the common household spice ginger is so addictive to them it becomes their version of cocaine. It also triggers "heat" in their females.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alien Nation: The Newcomers may eat weird stuff, like raw beaver and wood chips, but it's all Earth-originated.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The show features several examples of characters consuming food from alien societies. Sometimes there's no problem, other times... Well, this is what happens when Centauri try human fast food: "It tastes so good going down. Coming back up, it's not so good." Everybody can (and does) eat spoo. Even pak'ma'ra, who are carrion-eaters with a strict religious-based dietary code.
    • At one point G'Kar claims that every race has independently created their own version of Swedish Meatballs. According to the card game, even the Vorlons have one and it's apparently a sentient lifeform. Very much Played for Laughs.
    • When Londo Mollari asked what an item a salesman was offering, he said "Candy, only for carbon based life-forms who can metabolize sugar, otherwise it's decorative."
    • Alcohol appears to have exactly the same effects on Centauri that it does on humans — and, it's implied, on Narns and possibly other aliens as well. Well, Narns seem to have an alcohol tolerance maybe twice what is normal for humans (due to their overall robust physiology), so they just drink higher-proof booze. Centauri have a similar problem, as they imbibe so regularly sobriety is considered a vice they build up a huge tolerance. On the other hand, Minbari react quite badly to booze and become feverish and homicidally violent. Basically, alcohol is like PCP to Minbari.
    • In the novel To Dream in the City of Sorrows, Sinclair has to drink a certain Minbari beverage as part of the ritual to become Entil'Zha (Head of the Rangers), and is nearly killed by it. The Minbari knew this would happen, which is why that part of the ritual was delayed as long as possible, he only drank one sip, and they had a medical team standing by to treat him the moment the ritual ended.note 
  • Defiance: Food on Earth is wholly edible by Votans, even though a slight difference can mean death or severe allergic reactions just for creatures here, let alone from another planet.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor is apparently some kind of super-omnivore, with the exception of aspirin (and presumably other salicylates, like wintergreen Lifesavers) which is very toxic to Gallifreyans. However, the effects can be counteracted by consuming significant amounts of triglycerides (i.e. fat, in one specific case cocoa butter).
    • It gets even worse when the Slitheen (who are calcium-based life) are shown eating regular human food so as to keep up appearance and thus not blow their cover. Must have been a bugger avoiding vinegar all the time, maybe they should've started their campaign by invading France.
  • Food is played with in Farscape. The human Crichton is forced to subsist on food from a far side of the galaxy which has never even heard of humans, so therefore wouldn't be expected to have any idea what a human's body can process. Obviously, any time he has a chance to have food from Earth — even if it's all in his own head — he consumes it with relish. Additionally, food cubes are a standard processed food source used by many different species with no noticeable problems — though apparently, the whole idea behind food cubes was to make a standardized, cracker-like foodstuff which was molecularly simple enough that most carbon-based life forms can digest it.
  • Stargate Universe:
    • The crew of the Destiny often harvests foods from alien planets they stop by, simply because they're going to run out of Earth food in a hurry without any way to replenish it. They are, however, shown conducting tests on the food to ensure it is safe for human consumption (most of it tastes terrible regardless). Except for a few Funny Moments when Greer simply decides to take a bite out of alien fruit and is chastised by the medic for possibly poisoning himself.
      Medic: What are you doing, we don't know if that's poisonous?
      Greer: [deadpan] We will.
    • In another case, they try to establish friendly intentions with a new alien by offering it some (Earth) fruit. It hesitantly takes a bite... and begins spitting and coughing in disgust. Fortunately, it and its friends seem to understand that the humans were not deliberately trying to harm them.
  • A ground rule of Star Trek. Humans who like Earth dishes are in a distinct minority. In fact, almost any foodstuff mentioned is prefixed with an alien adjective ("Rigellian cheese", "Centauri trifle") while Klingon food gets its own vocabulary and a legion of human devotees. Practically the entire crew of Deep Space Nine seems to subsist on Raktajino (Klingon coffee). At least some examples may be cases in which Earth-derived foodstuffs are merely prepared using techniques introduced from other worlds. Most races do not like to eat Klingon food. Of course that isn't because it's inedible, but it's still movingnote . The exception is the titular planet in "The Way To Eden", where all the plants are so incredibly acidic that merely touching them is a bad idea, much less eating them.
    • Harlan Ellison's original draft of "The City on the Edge of Forever" suggested that Spock (...a Half-Human Hybrid...) would throw up if he tried to eat most human food, aside from cabbage and asparagus. In canon, it's more that Vulcans have a cultural taboo against eating animal products. It's also suggested in the novel Spock's World that, for instance, a Terran living on Vulcan would develop nutrient deficiencies if they didn't take vitamin pills or eat Terran produce regularly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bleak World not only can the Alien Race eat human food, the occupation team is better at preparing red meat than most humans are.
  • In a Played for Laughs subversion, school dietitians in Teenagers from Outer Space react to the arrival of thousands of new and weird alien species in a unique way: they keep serving the same stuff they served all along. After all, it wasn't quite meant for human consumption anyway.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Kroot seem to be able to eat any meat-based being in the universe, as their unique adaptation causes them to evolve based on what they eat (in at least three cases Kroot who decided to eat only nonsentient predators ended up locked into evolutionary dead-ends). This unfortunately means they tend to freak out allied races since they see no problem in cannibalizing the dead, which often includes the enemies, their allies, and even their own. However Kroot absolutely refuses to eat Tyranid flesh; it's too much of a wildcard considering the tyranids' own biological adaptations.
    • One of the special organs in Space Marines is designed to process otherwise inedible compounds. This is because their own diet contains many ceramic compounds designed to strengthen their bones, and because they often have to live off the land on alien worlds.
    • Averted for normal humans in the setting; in one story Asdrubael Vect shared a bottle of wine (from his own collection) with a human slave while he told the story of how he founded Commorragh. After the story was done, Vect revealed that the wine was not fit for human consumption and would give the slave horrible stomach cramps within the hour. He did this because he was bored.

    Video Games 
  • Aven Colony has the option of processing the local plant life for your colonists to eat. One mission has them survive exclusively on those plants.
  • Played straight in Borderlands. The occasional spit-roasted Skag seen at raider camps can be handwaved as the ill-educated locales (i.e. [Rednecks) not knowing any better, but then you find that there is industry devoted to producing canned Skag meat which is quite popular. Also, T.K. Baha grew bladeflowers on his farm. They seem to be somewhat popular with the ladies there, suggesting the pollen of the plants is no worse than that of Earth plants.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Sharkungo and Forcestar, aliens from the Shakun Star, spend several days or weeks on Earth but metabolic incompatibility never becomes an issue.
  • Played straight with the Mothership Zeta DLC of Fallout 3. Throughout the exploration of the titular alien spaceship the Lone Wanderer finds numerous alien delicacies like squids and worms that when consumed restore your health with no obvious side effects. The alien equivalent to Stimpacks heal you just as well, but have the occasional side effect. Though the game in general does function on what people of the 1950s thought a world after nuclear war would be like, so it is most likely also showing what people from that era thought aliens would be like.
  • Halo often plays this pretty straight:
    • In Halo: Glasslands, the first human to visit Sanghelios (the Elite homeworld) is served Sangheili food with no problem, although the, um, texture isn't very appetizing ("Who ate that before you?").
    • According to The Forerunner Saga, the Forerunners can safely eat Earth-based food as well. Though it is mentioned that they cannot catch human-based diseases.
    • The reveal that a species known as the Precursors was largely responsible for seeding the Milky Way with intelligent life might go some way to explain all this.
  • I Was a Teenage Exocolonist: Congruence needs to run tests to account for both short-term and long-term dangers when it comes to using Vertumna's wildlife as a source of food. The colony also runs into its first Alien Catnip species a few years in.
  • Mass Effect: Downplayed. Species are divided into two major groups based on their biochemical chirality, a chemical phenomenon where complex molecules can have "right-handed" or "left-handed" forms, which cannot be superimposed on one another. Humans, alongside most alien species in the game, are levo-chiral (that is, "left-handed"), while quarians and turians are dextro-chiral. This means that, at best, a quarian or turian that eats human food (or a human that eats quarian or turian food) would get no nutritional value from it; at worst, it triggers a lethal allergic reaction. However, within each group, barriers are nonexistent — humans can eat asari food without issue, and likewise quarians and turians can freely sample each other's cousine.
    • Mass Effect 3: During the casino infiltration in the "Citadel" DLC, one of Javik's distraction techniques is to demand that the casino stop serving drinks toxic to his species. The guard points out that everything on the menu is toxic to somebody and customers need to practice discretion. Other squadmates sometimes act worried that they ate food for the wrong species.
    • Krogan are noted as being able to eat almost anything (except food meant for quarians or turians), but the foods they produce locally on Tuchanka are toxic for most other species.
  • Civilization: Beyond Earth: You can immediately farm the alien planet's native flora and fauna, as well as grow terrestrial plants with ease.
  • Starbound: Taken to the point where plants of Glitch (who are a race of robots) are edible by all races, despite having clearly shown metal cover. Additionally, the Florans enjoy eating practically anything... including other sapient races. The only exception are the Glitch. (There's no mention of how they feel about Novakids, who are made of stellar gasses. Probably not edible... but you can bet they've tried!)
  • Starcraft II: One in-game cutscene in Wings of Liberty features a commercial for "Bubba's Gas'n Grub", which offers BBQ "Muta-Wings", which are presumably taken from dead Mutalisks.
  • Star Ocean: Till the End of Time: Lampshaded. If the town of Kirlsa is visited later in the game, Sophia can be found in a shop and states that she has scanned all the food and, to her surprise, it's all edible for Earthlings, although the flavors might be weird. This is one of many improbabilities in the setting that can be explained away by saying that the 4D Beings designed things that way.
  • Startopia: All aliens breathe the same air without complaint and synthetic food can be eaten by all species. However, some species will find certain biodeck environments highly unpleasant and specialist food can cause problems if eaten by some species.
    • The 'sequel' Spacebase Startopia has food that all aleins eat without problems. They also have a resturant that can rearrange food on a molecular level to suit a customers tastes.
  • Subnautica: Zigzagged. Most predators will happily attack you, even though your blood matches nothing in the ecosystem, and the crabs around the Aurora's wreckage fed on crew members killed in the crash and thus acquired a taste for human. However, your fabricator is stated to be chemically cleansing the fish you prepare in it, and you can only eat small amounts of fresh creepvine before getting sick, while acid mushrooms and deep shrooms are outright poisonous. Most land plants are edible, but some, like "Chinese potato", are explicitly imported from human-occupied planets.
  • Sword of the Stars: Humans, tarka and hivers can all eat each others' foodstuffs with no ill effects (though non-hivers find hiver food terribly bland). Hiver biochemistry and taste organs are wired such that human spices and fermented goods (such as cheese) are near-narcotic to them (on the other hand, they have no reaction whatsoever to ethanol), and hiver warriors apparently eat garlic as a form of manhood test because the taste sensation makes it actually dangerous to them. Zuul are able to eat everything (or anyone) without any bad side effects, though being genetically modified this may be justified.
  • Played with in WarioWare: the alien character Orbulon is able to eat human food, but he has a Bizarre Taste in Food, including ice-cold french fries and spicy milkshakes. Additionally, he brings a giant blue radioactive alien carrot to a potluck, showing that at least some of his native food is inedible by Earth lifeforms.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X: None of the various alien races seem to have a problem with human food, except the Zaruboggans, who consume toxic waste for sustenance (and humanity produces plenty of that to fulfill their dietary needs). Especially obvious with the Ma-non, who become absolutely obsessed with pizza, to the point that they will accept payment for their ludicrously advanced technology in the form of a few pizzas. This hilarity gets much darker when, late in the game, the wife of the owner of a pizza restaurant commit suicide because of the stress of fulfilling the Ma-non's endless requests for more pizza, causing her husband to go on a psychotic Ma-non killing spree. Meanwhile, in regards to humanity making Mira their new home, one of the jobs of BLADE's Curators division is to collect native material samples for research, including whether the native produce is safely consumable by humans.
  • XCOM: Chimera Squad: Averted for laughs in. In-universe Ads will run in the team's base between missions for certain food places, and great care is emphasized that they properly sequence the foods to be edible for each races. The Sectoids in particular get off pretty bad, with it becoming a Running Gag of excluding them from the list of species that can safely eat a product. Verge, the Sectoid member of Chimera Squad, frequently fantasizes about eating certain human foods that would make him sick, and when the opportunity comes up he offers to pay for half of Cherub's (a hybrid who can eat human food safely) Philly Cheesesteak just for the opportunity to mind link to him and share in his sense of taste as he eats it.

  • Freefall:
    • The incompatibility of amino acids on Pfouts with terran biochemistry was the reason for Dr. Bowman's experiments with uplifting nonsapient species, in lieu of very expensive space travel and terraforming. The Bowman's Wolf (including Florence) was to be a "proof of concept" test.
    • Played with in regards to Sam's biochemestry; since he comes from a planet with a relatively benign climate that forced few selection-pressures on his species and lacked anything like the asteroid strike believed to kill off dinosaurs on Earth, his protein structure is very simple, and edible to most Terran animals. Counterwise, Sam can seem to eat most stuff humans can, and quite a lot else that may be poisonous to humans.
  • Averted in Runaway to the Stars, different species can't eat one another's food, as seen in this comic. Talita, a centauroid alien Raised by Humans, is dependent on specialized food printers and expensive imports from the centaur homeworld.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Discussed in this comic. Where The Smart Guy actually points out that they wouldn't be nutritious nor tasty.
  • Generally present in Schlock Mercenary. Common food is freely edible by many different species. Averted on a specific occasion here, when a sea monster, being composed of highly toxic materials and nanobots, proves to be utterly unsuitable for consumption by anyone except Sergeant Schlock. Schlock himself is a carbosilicate artificial lifeform that is capable of digesting pretty much anything. His reaction to aggressive electroplating nanobots in the sea monster is that he admires food that fights back and likes the fizz.
    EBBY: Whoa, it's definitely not safe to eat. Forget metal toxicity. I've found what's laying down the metals.
    Some of the tissues host free-ranging cells that are more like industrial nanobots. These "metallocytes" would tear us up inside.
    SCHLOCK: That's the fizzy taste. They're trying to electroplate me from the inside!
    MURTAUGH: Aren't you listening? Why are you still eating that?
  • Discussed in Spacetrawler when Dimitri visits an alien bakery, and handwaved with the approxiscan, a device which can identify compatible substances for one's biochemistry. In fact, Dimitri sells the aliens his grandmother's cookie recipe, which becomes insanely popular.
  • Subverted in Outsider. Alex Jardin tries to eat the food provided by the Loroi, but it doesn't agree with him and causes symptoms ranging from severe indigestion to vomiting. He's thrilled when he learns that ration packs were among the items the Loroi recovered from the wreckage of his ship.
  • Everybody eats the same food (and gets drunk off the same drinks) in Nova 44

    Web Original 
  • Pay Me, Bug! averts this, at least as far as intoxication goes. It's specifically mentioned that, while every known race can get drunk, the intoxicating substance varies from species to species. So, when you're getting drunk with other species, you need to be careful not to grab a bottle of something lethal to you. Carumjack is specifically mentioned as a popular beverage that's toxic to humans, but Morgan can't get enough of the stuff, so they're either drastically overselling its lethality or Morgan's built up a tolerance.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: For the most part, Anne is able to digest the food in Amphibia just fine (once she gets over the Squick of it being largely insect-based) and the Plantars can digest human food once they come to Earth, but one episode shows that their respective "extreme drinks" (an energy drink Anne had in her backpack and Hop Pop's strongest coffee brew) are far enough from the baseline that they act as hallucinogens to the other.
  • In Futurama a Neptunian butcher sells both yellow and purple Neptunian slug, but explains to Bender that the purple causes "terrible nightmarish diarrhea". Presumably he means that's the effect on humans, since it would be odd for him to sell it if it did the same thing to Neptunians.
  • On Teen Titans, Starfire serves several dishes from her home planet. While most of the Titans aren't fond of her cooking, Terra truly enjoys it.
  • The Owl House: Offhandedly discussed in one episode. It's noted that Luz (the human main character) can't digest a lot of the food on the Boiling Isles (located in the Demon Realm). Luz feels guilty that Eda has to spend extra to pay for the few food items she can eat while they're strapped for cash. This also runs in the opposite direction in the following season when Luz and her friends end up spending several months on Earth as her mother is shown at one point taking extensive notes while trying to figure out what Earth food is safe for witches to eat. Vee appears to be able to safely eat food from both worlds (given that she was able to masquerade as Luz for months on Earth without anyone noticing), though this is probably thanks to her being a shapeshifter.