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30 Commonly Mispronounced Foods and How to Say Them

Some of the best foods are the most difficult to pronounce. We're here to help!

Ever find yourself out to eat and as you're preparing to tell the waiter what you would like to order, you realize you're not quite sure how to pronounce a word on the menu? It happens to the best of us, and there are actually tons of rather common food names that many people walk around saying incorrectly. Well, we're here to help you out so you don't have to deal with this awkward moment again. (Although there is nothing to be embarrassed about!) From quinoa to acai to turmeric, there are plenty of commonly mispronounced foods.

With that being said, to help you avoid the self-conscious feeling synonymous with fudging the name of a dish or recipe ingredient, we've gathered some of the most commonly mispronounced foods and paired them with their correct pronunciation.

And as an added bonus, we've also provided links to sound clips so you can actually hear each word said out loud, too.

Here are the 30 food words you're probably pronouncing wrong—and exactly how to say them.


how to pronounce skyr graphic

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Skyr, the traditional yogurt of Iceland, is made by incubating milk with live active cultures, then skimming away the watery whey that floats to the top. The resulting dish is one that's actually far creamier than other yogurts.


how to pronounce acai graphic

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Acai is an Amazonian berry with a taste that's reminiscent of red wine mixed with notes of chocolate. It's great as a base for a smoothie bowl—you can add granola, fruit, coconut flakes, even some Nutella—the combinations of an acai bowl are endless!


how to pronounce quinoa graphic

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Quinoa is a truly versatile grain that pairs well with just about everything. From a fruit-filled breakfast bowl to a hearty addition to an egg scramble to a way to top off a salad, you can never go wrong with eating this naturally gluten-free grain.


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Poké is a bold and savory chopped raw fish salad that was first created in the late 1970s by Hawaiian fishermen. Since then, Hawaiian poké bowls—filled with foods like roasted seaweed, rice, mango, and vegetables—have become a popular and trendy dish across the U.S.


how to pronounce edamame graphic

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If you only eat edamame when you're at a sushi joint, you might want to reconsider adding it to your weekly shopping list. Experts say the best time to munch on lightly salted edamame is after a tough workout, but we would be lying if we said we didn't just grab a bag and start munching on them when the snack craving hits!


how to pronounce cacao graphic

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Cacao, the flavonol-filled seeds from which chocolate is made, not only tastes great, but has been proven to actually make you feel better and even increase memory and attention. So yes, we've just given you the perfect excuse to eat all the dark chocolate.


how to pronounce rooibos graphic

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Made from the leaves of the "red bush" plant, rooibos tea is grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa. And what's better than a steaming cup of tea to soothe you at the end of a long day? Swap your regular tea for rooibos for some variety.


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Whether you dip veggies into it or slather it on a sandwich, one thing is for certain: this Mediterranean dip brings all the flavor. Who knew chickpeas could be this tasty?


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Kefir, aka "the champagne of dairy," is a tart and tangy cultured milk drink that is essentially more of a smoothie-like concoction. Interested in giving this tough-to-say grocery item a try? We like Lifeway's Veggie Kefir line.


how to pronounce kombucha graphic

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Kombucha is a fizzy unpasteurized drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. It's a popular probiotic-filled drink for a reason!

Bánh Mì

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If you find pronouncing this popular Vietnamese sandwich—which is made with bread, chilies, cilantro, veggies, pickles, meat, and various condiments and sauces—to be a tongue twister, you're not alone. It's not every day you hear people talk about the sweet and savory sandwich with ease!


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While the word may seem a bit unfinished as it rolls off your tongue, we assure you that it's a dish worth trying. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese street food made of broth, rice noodles, and meat. Pho restaurants allow customers to tailor their meals exactly to their tastes by mixing and matching broths, noodles, meats, veggies, spices, and garnishes.


how to pronounce gyro graphic

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This Greek dish may be difficult to say, but one bite of these beef, lamb, or chicken sandwiches that are often dressed with tzatziki sauce, and you'll find yourself wanting to eat this wrap over and over again.

The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.


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Yes, that's right, the 'L' is silent! Don't worry if you've been saying salmon wrong all of this time; it's not the easiest of fish names!


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You'd be hard-pressed to find this slightly sweet Chinese fruit outside of a cocktail menu (lychee martini, anyone?!), but if you do, we suggest giving the delicious, grape-like fruit a taste.


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Rutabagas are sweet-tasting root veggies that are part of the turnip family.


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If you have trouble saying the name of the leafy green, don't even sweat it. It hasn't really caught on when it comes to trendy greens like spinach or kale, but if you're an arugula fan, go ahead and keep on eating it in your salads!


how to pronounce bruschetta graphic

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There's nothing not to love about bruschetta. Made with toasted Italian bread, topped with olive oil, garlic, and tomatoes, it's a classic crowd-pleasing Italian dish you can never go wrong with.

Star Anise

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Star anise. We've all heard of it—and try our best to properly say it—but few people know exactly what it is. If that sounds like you, here's what you need to know: It's a fruit from an evergreen plant called Illicium verum, and it's widely used as a flavoring agent in Asian cuisine, candies, and alcoholic drinks.

Bouillon Cube

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Bouillon cubes are often called upon to add some flavor to homemade soup because they're basically little mini-sized squares of concentrated stock. They're packed with flavor in those tiny packages, so just a little will do the trick!


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Turmeric is a word that doesn't quite roll off your tongue, but trust us when we say this is one orange-hued spice you're going to want to add to all your dishes.


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What it lacks in aesthetics, this lumpy winter root vegetable makes up for with a pleasant, celery-like flavor. It goes well with other root vegetables in soup and stews and can also be shredded raw into coleslaws.


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If you find yourself in Italy, there's a good chance you'll end up eating pizza that has thinly sliced prosciutto on it, which is a dry-cured ham.


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Another Italian treat, this type of bread is similar to a French baguette. It usually has a crisp crust, but overall it's a light, porous, chewier style of bread. It's great for dipping in oil!


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You've most likely seen gnocchi on the menu at an Italian restaurant, and these potato and flour dumplings pair nicely with peas and another hard-to-pronounce favorite, prosciutto.


how to pronounce aioli graphic

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Aioli is a traditional garlic and olive oil mayonnaise that makes for a tastier spread to put on your sandwich or burger, and you've probably seen it on sushi menus, too.


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There really is nothing like biting into a perfectly buttery and flaky croissant, is there? Now you can order it correctly, whether you're in France or just your neighborhood bakery.


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You've most likely enjoyed a crudités platter before. The dish stems from France, and the raw, thinly cut vegetables paired with a dipping sauce is forever a solid appetizer to have on hand at a dinner party.


how to pronounce mascarpone graphic

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This smooth Italian cream cheese is often found in sweet treats like tiramisu or a jazzed-up French toast, but it also pairs well with savory meals such as macaroni and cheese and lasagna, too.


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On a hot summer day, digging into a bowl of sherbet—a frozen, fruity, creamy dessert that's essentially a cousin of ice cream—is always a good choice.

Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh
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