It doesn’t matter if you’re out at a fancy restaurant, eating pizza or grabbing some express sushi at NTUC, chances are that you often encounter food or ingredients that you may be pronouncing wrongly. (Trust me, I’m a culprit too.)
With so many different cuisines in Singapore that come from all over the world, it’s easy to pronounce some words incorrectly. Here are 27 of the top commonly mispronounced food-related words.
Have a look and see how many of them you’ve been saying wrong all along!
Bruschetta is an Italian antipasto (appetiser) that you’ve probably ordered at pizza places or any generic western food cafe. It basically comprises chunks of juicy tomato on crispy slices of bread.
I’m guilty of calling it brew-shet-ta, when the correct way to pronounce it is actually brews-sket-tah.
If I had a dollar for every time someone pronounces salmon with an audible ‘L’, I would be able to dine on a whole lot of salmon sashimi. It’s pronounced seh-mun, not sel-mun.
Acai bowls have been all the rage lately. Call it ah-sigh-ee, instead of ah-kai-ee, as the spelling suggests.
So what is acai? It is a type of berry that is a bit like a cross between a grape and blueberry and is known for having high levels of Vitamin A, calcium, iron and fibre.
My first reaction upon seeing this word was to call it po-kee. It’s not that, and it’s not literally ‘poke’ either. This Hawaiian fish salad is pronounced po-kay.
On a side note, check out our list of the best poke bowls in Singapore if you wanna try a bowl of poke for yourself.
Often pronounced as kwin-no-wah, most people do not realise this is a two syllable word that is pronounced a little bit more like keen-nwah. It’s a subtle difference, so you don’t lose much street cred with this one even if you do say it wrong.
Quesadillas are a Mexican dish made with a folded tortilla, that is filled with cheese, meat, and vegetables before being grilled. The pronunciation is nothing like it’s spelt — kay-sa-dee-yah.
That wasn’t so hard right? Now you can order this dish without having to mumble.
Pho, the one dish that is most popular in Vietnam. Don’t make the mistake of calling it fo, like how it’s spelt, as it is really pronounced like ‘fur’ without the ‘r’.
Paella is a Spanish dish that is made with rice, cooked in a skillet. Have you been calling it pail-la? It is actually pronounced as pa-eh-ya. The ‘L’s are not exactly silent, as they should be pronounced as a ‘Y’.
Gateau is the French word for cake, and is often used to describe decadent and rich cakes that are usually layered with cream or fruit. It’s pronounced gah-toe instead of gate-oh or gah-too.
17) Choux Puff
A choux puff, pronounced shoe-puff, and not choo-puff, is a light and fluffy pastry that is twice baked and often used as part of desserts such as eclairs and cream puffs.
16) Hors D’oeuvres
Hors d’oeuvres are pronounced or-derves, with a silent ‘H’. Hors d’oeuvres are snacks that are served before a meal.
If you’re wondering how they’re different from appetisers, appetisers are served as part of the meal, as the first course, but Hors d’oeuvres are served separately before the meal.
Guh-no-chi? No-chi? Nope! It’s nyo-key. Gnocci is a type of Italian dumpling made from flour and usually served in sauce, similar to pasta. When done right, these little dumplings are supposed to be soft, fluffy, and pillowy.
14) Foie Gras
Foie Gras or fattened duck liver is one of the more commonly known French dishes that not many know how to pronounce. It is called fwah-grah, not foy-grass or foy-grah.
This delicious Italian cheese is best known as the creamy filling that makes the layers of tiramisu. It is pronounced as mahs-car-poh-nay.
Aromatic and spicy, chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeno that is delicious when rubbed on steaks or used as a dressing. Say it like chip-poat-lay.
I am guilty of calling it ee-da-ma-may, are you? The correct way to pronounce the Japanese name of these unripe soy beans is ed-ah-ma-may.
In English, it’s pronounced as guac-a-mole-lee. In original Spanish though, it’s wak-a-mole-lay. Both ways are correct, though the English version is probably more socially acceptable in Singapore.
Hummus is a tasty dip from the Middle Eastern cuisine that is made from mashed chickpeas. Pronounce it as hoom-mus, not hum-mus.
What would porridge be without a generous heap of dried shallots? Though this word looks like it should be pronounced as SHALL-lot, it should be shull-LOT.
Aioli is a delicious emulsion sauce made from garlic, egg yolks, and olive oil. It’s like mayonnaise, but the garlic and olive oil make it way better. So how do you pronounce it? It’s called ah-yo-li.
Charcuterie is a form of cooking where you slice and prepare preserved meats. You’ll often find charcuterie boards in French and Italian restaurants. Charcuterie is pronounced as shar-koo-tuh-ree.
Ciabatta is an Italian flatbread that is easy to distinguish with its overly floury crust. It should be pronounced as cha-baht-ta, instead of the commonly mispronounced shia-bah-ta.
You may have heard of this one already. Our beloved hazelnut spread is pronounced as new-tell-uh, and not nut-tell-ah.
Espresso is incredibly easy to pronounce, yet many people make the mistake of calling it an ex-press-so, similar to ‘expressway’ when there is actually no ‘X’ in this word. Make sure you call it es-press-so to get it right!
Pronouncing this British condiment becomes easier when you break the words into three parts, making it Worce-ster-shire. To get it right, you just have to pronounce it as woos-ter-sheer.
I’ve had the hardest time pronouncing the name of this Italian cured ham. Pros-kyu-it-toe? Pros-skee-you-toe?
I love eating prosciutto, with its paper-thin texture that melts in your mouth; so it was embarrassing not to know how to pronounce it. The correct pronunciation is pros-shew-toe, something a lot simpler than I anticipated.
How many of these words have you pronounced correctly? Let us know in the comments!