Originally written as La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid in Pierre Ambroise Francois Choderlos de La Clos's 1782 French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuse.

The quote has widely been attributed to other sources, ranging from Shakespeare to Chinese and Apache aphorisms. More recently it was cited in the 2003 Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: volume 1 in the opening credits as a Klingon saying. This reference comes from a scene in the 1982 Star Trek film The Wrath of Khan: it wasn't actually said by a Klingon, but rather the wrathful character Khan Noonian Singh tells Kirk that it is a Klingon proverb while the spaceships Reliant and Enterprise play chicken.

Probably Tarantino was trying to make a point about how movies (like his own) scavenge ideas. Or Khan mixed up French with Klingon literature.