How would you say "I can't eat spicy food"?

Ich kann kein scharfes Essen essen.

It sounds strange to put two "Essen"s together. Or is it okay? What would be other ways?

  • Ich kann scharfe Küche nicht essen.
    – thandasoru
    Jan 21, 2014 at 5:47
  • Why not -Ich kann keine scharfe Speise essen?
    – David Rose
    Jan 25, 2014 at 10:54

3 Answers 3


It is perfectly correct, but as you say one might want to avoid it. If one does not want to search for a different word for „Essen“ or „essen“ then one can resort to

Ich kann nichts Scharfes essen.

  • Yes he can! After all, he can only notice that it is spicy when he eats it. Another question is if he likes it. </nitpicking>
    – Ingo
    Jan 20, 2014 at 23:37
  • 1
    @ingo poor you.. "html" tags are getting parsed... instead you could use *nitpicking* or [nitpicking]
    – Vogel612
    Jan 21, 2014 at 8:16
  • 1
    Im mündlichen Ausdruck würde ich mir keinen Kopp machen - das merkt niemand, dass da zwei Essen in Folge stehen. Aber willst Du vielleicht scharfe Speisen speisen? Jan 22, 2014 at 5:09

Entirely correct. The one Essen is the noun and essen the verb. You could also use

Ich vertrage kein scharfes Essen.


Essen essen is perfectly correct. However, I'd translate the can't with darf nicht:

Ich darf nichts Scharfes essen.

Ich vertrage nicht is a little bit different to Ich darf nicht:

  • Ich vertrage nicht means my body has a bad reaction to spicy food.

  • Ich darf nicht means I am not allowed to eat spicy food.

Both are possible translations - depending on the writer's intentions.

  • 2
    Except you can't use this translation in the same context as the original english; this implies you're actually forbidden from eating spicy food (possibly because of religious reasons) or are literally unable to (because you're maybe allergic to everything that's spicy). "vertragen" is correct in this context; it's colloquial, but it's well understood as "I dislike this to the extent of refusing to eat it".
    – Cubic
    Jan 21, 2014 at 14:00
  • @Cubic In the question I cannot find any context from the original poster. So we have to paint a picture of different possibilities.
    – halloleo
    Jan 21, 2014 at 21:15
  • One English expression for "ich vertrage scharfes Essen nicht" could be "spicy food does not agree with me".
    – ssc
    Jan 22, 2014 at 21:09
  • The original English sentence might also mean "I am so sensitive to spicy taste that I can't bring myself to swallow anything". Neither of the proposed translations carries that meaning. Mar 20, 2014 at 16:07

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