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By saying "mental food" I mean something that you enjoy digesting mentally, like watching a football game or reading a comic book. (It is in contrast to "physical food" which you physically eating the food). For example:

Asian U23 football championship is the "____________" for Vietnamese people.

  • food for the mind, food for the soul, food for the body, not mental food unless you want to sound literary. – Lambie Mar 26 at 16:37
  • Not an answer because it is related but not exact, but something one enjoys looking at or listening to can be referred to as eye candy or ear candy. – Damila Mar 26 at 16:38
  • 'mental' has a slight connotation of 'intellectual', so 'mental food' sounds very strange in English for sports topics. – Mitch Mar 26 at 16:45
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    Cerebral nourishment. – Ricky Mar 26 at 16:46
  • Mental grist is technically food (ground corn or malt) but is usually a lot more serious. Pap is a lot less serious, but to the point of triviality. – TaliesinMerlin Mar 26 at 17:57
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I'd suggest intellectual nourishment.

It is defined on thefreedictionary as,

anything that provides mental stimulus for thinking; food for thought.


Note: If you get entertained by some insipid subject: Mathematics documentaries, or some abstract subject etc. (which people normally find tasteless), then there is a word for it.

Pabulum or pablum (noun) Oxford defines it as, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pabulum

Bland or insipid intellectual matter, entertainment, etc.

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A term for an item of mental interest is "Food for thought" but that would be only a mouthful, not a meal's worth.

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Mental snacks

There is a book titled "Mental snacks: Nourishment for your mind and fuel for your life!". There is also this sentence from a book review of "How to bake pi: Higher math served in bit-sized chunks",

As a whole, the book is hard to absorb in a few sittings; it is better spaced out as mental snacks than attempted as one long feast. But it offers enough nourishment for the brain to chew on for a long time.

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It did not seem to me that football is an activity appreciated from an intellectual standpoint. But, thanks to your posing the question, I found a good article in The Irish Times: 'The rise of the Football Intellectual', article by Ian Maleney, Wed. Nov 9, 2016. In it, Maleney references several authors on the subject.

But back to your question. First: Does, in fact, the entire (or nearly so in your estimation), populace of Vietnam enjoy football. "Asian U23 football championship is the "____________" for Vietnamese people." Increasingly, we are told "we all" - when "we all" most certainly do not - for example, have electronic devices.

As to "comic books" - it would depend on the style of comic book, yes? A comic book, like food, can primarily be a visual treat, if you will. Or, it can be to instruct, etc. Or, both. There have been literary comic books, for certain.

"Fodder" is used by the British for what you call "mental food." "Feast" doesn't apply.

How about referencing a literary work you reasonably believe to be known by your target population.

"Asian U23 football championship is the "____________" for Vietnamese people.

Or, make it personal. What is it about football that stimulates you intellectually, and what is your food/book that applies.

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