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12 Food Names You've Been Saying Wrong (And How To Say Them Right)

One measly mispronunciation can spell the difference between elevating your food cred and eternal humiliation.
by Mars Salazar | Nov 4, 2015
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There’s nothing more embarrassing than tripping over a dish’s name while ordering your food at a fancy restaurant. That’s why we’d rather point to the menu when it comes to dishes like bouillabaisse (a French seafood stew pronounced "boo-yuh-beys") and gnocchi ("noh-kee," for those unaware, are Italian dumplings).

Unfortunately, there are dozens of other tricky food words out there, and one measly mispronunciation can spell the difference between a second date and eternal humiliation. Pretend you’re a legit foodie with this crash course on how to pronounce some of the tongue-twistiest food names in the world!

1)   ACAI

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WHAT IT IS: An antioxidant-rich red violet berry hailing from South Africa.

SAY IT: "Ah-sigh-ee." Yep, that "c" is an asshole.


WHAT IT IS: An Italian appetizer made by topping grilled bread with olive oil, tomatoes, and herbs.

SAY IT: "Broo-sket-ta." Not "bru-shet-ta," and most definitely not "bru-shit-ta."


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WHAT IT IS: A moon-shaped roll that’s usually served in French restaurants. 

SAY IT: "Kruh-sahnt" is acceptable, but if you’re gunning for French authenticity, go by "kwah-sahn."


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WHAT IT IS: Super concentrated coffee brewed by forcing nearly boiling water through finely-ground coffee beans.

SAY IT: Pronounce it as is: "es-press-so." "Ex-press-so" sounds more like a FedEx competitor instead of a coffee drink.


WHAT IT IS: Goose liver. Very expensive goose liver.

SAY IT: "Fwah-grah." A sosyal pronunciation for a sosyal dish.

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WHAT IT IS: A fancy French synonym for "appetizer."

SAY IT: "Or-derv." Surprisingly, this one’s harder to spell than to pronounce.


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WHAT IT IS: A very hot green pepper that’s usually found in Mexican dishes.

SAY IT: "Ha-la-pen-yoh." Pretend that J is an H!


WHAT IT IS: An Italian cream cheese, usually used in desserts like tiramisu.

SAY IT: "Ma-scar-poe-ney," not "mas-car-pown!"

9)   PHO

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WHAT IT IS: Rice noodles in a hearty beef or chicken broth, topped with basil and bean sprouts.

SAY IT: It’s "fuh," not "foe!" Keep that in before booking that promo fare to Vietnam.

10)   QUINOA

WHAT IT IS: A crunchy grain beloved by health buffs for its high nutrient content. It’s a healthy (and more expensive) alternative to rice.

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SAY IT: "Keen-wah." "Kwee-no-wah" would be an embarrassment. 


WHAT IT IS: A basic salad dressing composed of oil, vinegar, and seasonings.

SAY IT: "Vee-nah-gret." Don’t say "vee-nay-gret" unless you want to turn off your date!


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WHAT IT IS: A dark seasoning made of vinegar, anchovies, soy sauce, garlic, onions, sugar, and other spices. Excellent for steaks!

SAY IT: Repeat after us: "Woos-tuhr-sheer." No more tripping over unnecessary syllables next time!

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