Fire-Breathing Diner

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It's like a hell in my mouth and everyone's been damned!

Minmax, Goblins

Excessively spicy food invariably results in a (usually metaphorical) blast of flame from the mouth of the diner, often after he or she has quickly turned red from feet to top of head (in the manner of a rising thermometer, sometimes with a distinctive rising "boooOOOP!" or whistling kettle sound effect).

A common subversion is if one character in a cartoon tries to pull this off on another as a joke or part of an Escalating War. The intended victim will always have an insanely high resistance, while the perpetrator, trying it himself in disbelief, will feel the full force of the trope from the tiniest bite.

Can also be the result of consuming a Gargle Blaster or Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce (or anything cooked by a Lethal Chef). See also Oven Logic and I Ate What?.

Nearly Truth in Television: the third hottest pepper in the world is the Naga Viper pepper, coming in at a mouth-scorching, sweat-inducing 1,382,118 Scoville Heat Units (for comparison, the Jalapeño ranks 2,500-8,000). It has been trounced in March 2011 by the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T chili, which clocks in at 1,463,700 SHU; and in February 2012 by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which measures 2,009,231 SHU. Hot sauces made from any three of the peppers (or even all of them) have to be stored in glass, because they all corrode plastic like (*click!*) that.

Not to be confused with the Unsatisfiable Customer, for whom the fire breathing is verbal, rather than metaphorical or literal.

Examples of Fire-Breathing Diner include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Sister Princess, the first breakfast at Welcome House turns out to be horrendously spicy, prompting a classic fire-breathing act from Wataru.
  • Project A-ko: Lethal Chef C-Ko breathes fire for a few seconds after eating her own cooking.
  • Happens at least once in Saber Marionette J. Otaru and Bloodberry have crashed a flying machine in the mountains; Bloodberry finds two fruit-bearing plants and hopes the juice from one will revive Otaru. Unfortunately, the pink one is more of a chili pepper than a fruit; Otaru not only breathes fire upon being revived, his lips swell up to the size of a bratwurst.
  • Mikoto from Mai-HiME gets this after she takes a bite of a spicy curry roll she ganked from one of the kendo students.
    • In Mai-Otome, Bruce Blan de Windbloom pretends to be drunk, then takes a drink and spits fire in Kid's face to distract him long enough for Lena to overpower the Schwarz agents in the train car in order to rescue Sifr.
  • School Rumble has a few instances of this, like Hanai (here) after drinking really hot tea. Yes, "hot" as in "spicy."
  • Although the fire is absent here, the second episode of Azumanga Daioh has Osaka getting a long, bad case of Hiccup Hijinks after eating a croquette filled with chili peppers.
  • One episode of Pokémon had some of Ash's Pokémon eating some spicy food; the one who ended up breathing fire was Squirtle...
    • This has happened a few other times as well: In one episode, Ash ate a Tamato berry (a spicy berry that looks like a tomato with spikes on it) and breathed fire. He was later shown with lips swollen from that. It's also happened to Team Rocket a few times.
  • In Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, an entire episode had an Escalating War between two restaurants in making spicier and spicier foods. Everybody ended up doing this, except Kirby. Finally food spicy enough to affect him was found, just in time, as the flame spewing Kirby did allowed him to beat the Monster of the Week.
  • Galaxy Fraulein Yuna: Yuri Cube's recipe for curry has this effect. Yuri loves it. Yuna couldn't stand it (but it was her only option for lunch that day).
  • In the DVD special Gundam Seed Character Theater for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny this happens to Ray, after trying to sabotage Kira's dinner... But Kira unfortunately loves spicy foods.
  • The episode in Sailor Moon R, the one with the upgrade to the locket, has the Rei Eats Wasabi scene that was cut from the dub. (starts at 4:32)
  • In one episode of Super GALS!, Ran accidentally becomes a meek girly-girl. Her rival, Mami Honda, tries to crack Ran's unflappable smile by spiking a couple of fast food burgers with Tabasco sauce and hot mustard, which Ran eats without even breaking a sweat. Mami tries a burger herself and suffers from this effect, even after taking a drink. However, Ran does notice a burning in her mouth (though no fire) after turning back to normal.
  • Pandaikon of Nerima Daikon Brothers suffers from this after biting a bok choy soaking in kimchee sauce.
  • In one episode of Shugo Chara, Amu's charas give her a spicy drink to make her breathe fire and make Rima laugh. Rima's response is simply, "Super spicy gags are so out."
  • Happens occasionally in One Piece, the most prominent example would be when Mr 5 lets out a big ball of fire after being tricked into swallowing tabasco.
  • While the victims are more likely to breathe smoke then flames, this is pretty much the result of anyone who eats food made by Lum in Urusei Yatsura. As part of their Bizarre Alien Biology, Onis have a much higher tolerance for spice, and this desire to replicate her native tastes means Lum's Alien Lunches are too hot for humans to handle. Case in point, the first time she ever cooks in the anime, she gives Ataru a homemade lollipop... stuffed full of cayenne peppers.
  • The Naruto fillers have a particularly infamous arc named for the Curry of Life. Even though it is the titular character who truly invokes the trope, the only part that makes it truly worth watching is Neji's reaction to tasting it. On both occasions.
    • Completely averted by Rock Lee, who has a fondness for the stuff... He and Neji at a contest would play out akin to Legolas and Gimli drinking.
  • Dora-nichov, one of Doraemon‍'‍s spin-off characters, has the ability to transform into a wolf when he looks at a moon-like object and can breathe fire when eating something spicy.



The Mask (fake Italian accent): Now that's a spicy meatball!

  • Happens to the titular hero in Condorman after consuming a triple "Istanbul Express".
  • Aladdin: Jasmine accidentally causes a street performer to swallow a torch, immediately after which he belches out fire.
  • In Mel Brooks' Silent Movie the character drive past a Thai restaurant. All the patrons have smoke coming out of their mouths.
  • In the first Critters one of them swallows a fire cracker; it burps up a flame after it explodes inside of it and it dies.
  • Played straight in Dumb and Dumber, when Harry and Lloyd laced their traveling companion's diner burger with "atomic" peppers. The result was so intense that it nearly killed him by making his stomach ulcer flare up. Then Harry fed him rat poison - thinking it was his ulcer medication - and actually killed him.
  • In Rango the title character belches flame on an outlaw's face after ingesting both fermented cactus juice and a lit cigar. The outlaw seems annoyed more than anything else.


  • In the Discworld book Hogfather, the wizards are somewhat disappointed that Bilious, the Oh God of Hangovers, doesn't display this as part of the "humorous side effects" of the Hideous Hangover Cure they'd just made for him.
  • The SF short story Buck and the Gents from Space features a young boy from the Southwest US serving a group of aliens a meal made primarily of chili peppers. Their reaction is described as being "sort of like the Apache snake dance, except they didn't have no snakes in their mouths. Maybe they would've preferred a snake, at that." He then offers them some of the hired hand's rotgut tequila to wash it down with, prompting much the same reaction.

Live-Action TV

  • One of the side effects of eating at Curryworld in Red Dwarf was fire-breathing after the first mouthful. Kryten didn't quite get the programming right...
  • Lampshaded in a Saturday Night Live sketch with Christian Slater. He and Victoria Jackson go to a restaurant to try the Buffalo wings, available in mild, medium, hot, or "super fire hot'. Slater says he wants to try the super fire hot. The waiter tries to talk him out of it -- "They're very hot"—it escalates, the manager is called out to explain "They're very hot"—finally he has to sign release forms—he bites one, freeze-frame, and then the conventional effects of the trope are narrated in detail by a voice-over. The final joke is that he did all that, and they had secretly given him the medium-hot wings.
  • Played straight in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Frank loses his sense of taste as a result of a side-effect of some herbal pills he got from a friend (for his "foot"), and can't taste anything; at first, Ray and Robert think it's just that he can't properly taste Marie's cooking, so they give him a loaded quiche with jalapeno peppers, wasabi sauce, and horseradish. When he doesn't react to that either, Robert eats the rest to check if they got something wrong. Turns out that their mix was just fine.
  • Done in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide to break a Big Eater of his habit of eating other peoples' food.
  • In one episode of Bottom, Richie invents a dish called "sprouts Mexicaine" which turns people into Fire Farting Diners.
  • Played for laughs during a scene transition on Home Improvement. Al had been asked to fill in as host of a cooking show, with Tim as his assistant (in a reversal of their usual roles on the Tool Time show). Tim accidentally eats some hot peppers and scrambles around the scene to try to find a way to cool his burning mouth, concluding just before the transition with Tim guzzling down milk, then spraying flame into the air as Al smiles for the camera.
  • In an episode of Parks and Recreation, at a dinner party at Leslie's house Ron eats a whole red pepper which impresses his date, who happens to be Tom's ex-wife. A jealous Tom tries a pepper as well, despite Ron's warning. Immediately after popping it into his mouth he has to leave the table. He spends the rest of the party in Leslie's bedroom with sucking a pillow, because his mouth feels like it's on fire.

Newspaper Comics

  • Peter Fox from FoxTrot spent an entire week having to live down his girlfriend Denise's April Fool's joke -- a chocolate rabbit filled with hot sauce, which he of course ate in about two bites before his mouth was set aflame.
  • A Garfield strip featured Garfield and Jon having a contest to see who can eat the hottest pepper without invoking this trope. Garfield loses after eating a Peruvian Death Pepper.

Tabletop Games

Video Games

  • Some video games, such as Trog and Boogerman, even make use of this trope as a power-up: eating a chili pepper will allow the player to breathe (or fart) fire for a period of time.
  • Kirby's Dream Land had a Super Spicy Curry item that let you breathe fire.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a similar ability, Chronic Indigestion. From eating an ultra-spicy burrito made with enchanted beans. Does 10-15 HOT damage + however full you are.
  • Blast Seeds cause you to exhale an explosion when you eat them in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. Anyone caught in the blast takes damage.
  • Dhalsim of the Street Fighter games had a fire-breathing ability that the English instruction manual originally attributed to "spicy curry." Recently adaptations accredit it to spirituality (more exactly, the blessings of the Hindu god of fire, Agni).
  • One of the mini-games in Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2 has the titular Rabbids using this as a means to cook chicken.
  • There's a craftable food in World of Warcraft called Dragonbreath Chili. Eating it will cause the player to occasionally breathe fire that does minor damage to nearby enemies. During the Midsummer Fire Festival, some vendors sell a drink that causes the player to breathe fire, although unlike the chili it doesn't harm enemies.
  • The Pandaren Brewmaster hero in Warcraft III also sports a flame breath attack where in he swigs alcohol from a giant keg and then spews the ignited mixture all over his enemies. If one casts "Drunken Haze" (more or less hurling booze on the enemy and rendering them instantly drunk!) they'll also ignite and take additional damage over several seconds as they burn!
  • In the Touhou series, we have Suika Ibuki, last boss of Immaterial And Missing Power, who actually has this trope as an attack.
  • Doppel Nanase pulls this trope using ramen for one of her attacks in Eternal Fighter Zero.
  • The Spicy Curry from Super Smash Bros.. Brawl. The fireballs are actually a weapon that are difficult to defend against.
  • Done to solve a puzzle in Simon the Sorcerer. To get rid of a living snowman, eat some mints to make the titular character breath fire on it.
  • Mr. Luggs in Luigi's Mansion apparently eats something hot enough to cause this effect, shooting fifteen fireballs at Luigi at a time before getting tired and able to be attacked.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, it is possible to feed Munchie, your mouse, a very spicy cheese to make it breath fire. However, this isn't only its ability. Feed it a variety of cheese and it will spew out things accordingly (including, but not limited to, frozen cheese, steel cheese for buffing, and even angel cheese to revive allies).
  • In Legend of the Crystal Skull, feeding Bess Marvin several servings of hot-sauce-drenched Cajun cooking will cause the screen to turn reddish as she belches a puff of flame.
  • In Super Sentai Battle Dice O, one of Gokai Yellow's special attacks involves inflicting this on her opponents. Seriously.

Web Comics

  • Ozymandias from Ozy and Millie deliberately invokes this trope to impress the matriarch of his extended (draconic) family, and get out of an arranged marriage. He's adopted.
    • In a more recent example, the same character makes use of the trope again, this time as part of an attempt to let his friend to go on a field trip without a permission slip.
  • Link from Awkward Zombie likes Super Smash Bros curry so much, he set the group's apartment on fire several times and burnt through his stomach wall.

Western Animation

  • Pick any Speedy Gonzales cartoon featuring Daffy Duck or Sylvester the Cat tasting the local food.
  • In an episode of Hey Arnold!!, the kid known only as "Chocolate Boy" displays this after eating peppers in an attempt to kick his chocoholic habit.
  • This even happens in SpongeBob SquarePants ...even though the show is set underwater.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Hidden Talent", Ron Stoppable purposely performs the trope using hot sauce for a talent show.
  • Averted and a lampshade hung thereupon by The Simpsons in "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Homer;" as Homer eats bowl after bowl of red-hot chili containing "insanity peppers" with no ill effects, Dr. Hibbert remarks "By all medical logic, steam ought to be pouring out of his ears." Adds Krusty, "His ears if we're lucky." This is because his mouth is coated with wax, to cancel the heat.
    • Played straight earlier in the same episode, as Homer's uninsulated tongue glows neon red when it comes in contact with a Guatemalan Insanity Pepper. It evaporates anything less than an armful of liquid on contact.
    • Also played straight in The Simpsons Movie, when Homer is revived by the Inuit woman.
  • In the My Gym Partner's a Monkey episode "Have a Joyous Little Animas", eating a plate of wasabi causes Adam to breathe fire through his nose.
  • In A Garfield Christmas Special, Grandma spikes Mom Arbuckle's sausage gravy with chili powder ("Who am I to tell you how to make gravy? The Green Country gravy champion, that's who!"), and Garfield ends up spewing a gout of flame as a result. ("Perfect.")
  • An early example comes in the Walt Disney cartoon Donald's Nephews (1938), when Huey, Dewey, and Louie feed Donald Duck a slice of pie that's been doctored with mustard.
  • Lampshaded in American Dragon: Jake Long where after eating some super spicy fries, Jake has to breathe fire to cool his mouth down!
    • Equivocation would like to have a word with you.
  • In an episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Dojo (a dragon) needs two bottles of Clay's family-recipe hot sauce to breathe enough flame to beat the Sapphire Dragon. Normally he can only breathe small soot clouds.
  • A variation is played in Saludos Amigos, where Donald drinks a glass of Brazilian cacha? (saying it's an extremely strong sugarcane spirit is a very great understatement) that causes him to spout flames. José then uses Donald's flame breath to light a cigar.
  • Even Beavis and Butthead got a taste of this trope by eating tacos seasoned with "Mexican Death Sauce" in the Missing Episode "Way Down Mexico Way".
  • Chowder once ate a bushel of hot peppers that caused him to breathe fire every time he opened his mouth. He had to live with fire-breathing dragons until the effect wore off.
  • In the Sushi Pack episode "Red Hot Chili Planet," Ben had to pass along a message from Wasabi to the others, but since Wasabi speaks "mustard", Ben has trouble getting the inflection right. Ikura suggests he drink some hot sauce to get it right, and with one drop, Ben is breathing fire (and starts speaking "mustard")!
  • In one episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Elmyra accidentally feeds Dizzy Devil a can of hot chili instead of dog food. Cue the eyes watering up, breaths of flame, then running to the shower to put out the fire.
  • Happens more than once in CatDog:
    • In a high-quality restaurant, dog eats the sample chili peppers which cause Cat to belch out flames. This catches his dream-interest who happened to be in the restaurant, whom he entertains by fire-broiling her steak. This backfires later when he accidentally turns her pet dog into ashes.
    • When CatDog get trapped in the reality of their favorite movie, Cat pours Dog's favorite candy snack, Red Hot Lip Smackers, into his mouth and uses him as a pistol to burn the enemy starships.
    • A major problem for Cat whenever Dog uses too much hot sauce on his tacos. Because they're conjoined, the hot sauce passes from Dog's stomach to his, causing him to belch fire out of his mouth.
  • Done realistically in one of the Rugrats' earlier episodes, "Waiter, there's a Baby In My Soup!", where Stu has no choice but to bring Tommy with him to an important business dinner with the president of Mucklehoney industries (a toy factory). Tommy wriggles out of his baby crib under their notice, and wanders into the kitchen where he pours garlic powder, pepper, and hot sauce into a chef's soup prepared for the president. Upon sampling the concoction, the president struggles all over the floor, gasping for water while Tommy returns inside a bowl of spaghetti.
  • In one episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Twilight Sparkle accidentally drinks some hot sauce, and though her face does turn red with a kettle-whistle effect, it's her mane, not her breath, that turns to fire.
    • Played straighter in the episode "Griffon the Brush-Off," when Gilda eats some lemon drops tainted with pepper. Pinkie Pie even whips out a marshmallow to roast using her breath.
    • Even Pinkie Pie herself falls victim to this; she breathes fire for a moment after literally tasting a rainbow in "Sonic Rainboom". The fire even turns multiple colors. Keep in mind that Pinkie is seen eating a cupcake drenched in hot sauce in the pilot episodes.
  • One episode of Men in Black featured Agent Jay consuming alien salsa, resulting in him temporarily developing fire powers.
  • Semi-invoked in Avatar: The Last Airbender. When Iroh attempts to teach Zuko lightning bending, they start off with A Spot of Tea.

Iroh: To perform the technique requires peace of mind.
Zuko: I see. That's why we're drinking tea. To calm the mind.
Iroh: (Beat) ... Oh yeah, good point!

    • Why do I say semi-invoked? Second season finale...

Iroh: Did I ever tell you how I got the nickname the "Dragon of the West?"

      • Because after he's chugged a whole cup of tea, he can breathe enough fire to overfill a good-sized room. That's right, tea is a Fire Breathing DinNer for Iroh!
  • Happens a couple of times in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island when Scooby and Shaggy eat the Moonscar Island peppers.
  • This actually happened to Iggy in the The Little Lulu Show episode, "Tiny Tots Syrup", after eating some apparently spicy candies in order to get the terrible taste of said tonic out of his mouth.
  • When Heffer eats Hot Tamales in the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Spitballs" and is about to do this, Rocko points him to the opposite direction. The duck that was sitting next to him becomes a cooked goose.
  • Taz-Mania: Happens in "Francis takes a Stand" when Francis switches Taz's lemonade recipe for a hot sauce recipe. Taz's resulting fire breath scorches Francis like a flamethrower. When Francis tries to turn the tables on Taz and takes a swig of the lemonade/hot sauce, his fire breath acts like a jet engine and propels him into a cliff.

Real Life

  • Spicy foods really do make you feel hot due to a substance called capsaicin. One of the reasons hot peppers are so popular in hot countries is that they make the consumer break out in a sweat.
  • The method of food preparation known as flambé, in which the meal is doused with alcohol and set alight. Although the flames are usually extinguished fairly quickly, some dishes, such as Bombe Alaska, can remain ablaze for several minutes.
  • Drinking 151, an over-proof rum made by Bacardi with 75.5% of alcohol, results in the feeling that one's mouth is burning.