There’s no better way to make a fool of yourself in a fancy restaurant than by horribly butchering the pronunciation of a menu item. Whether you’re on a date or just pretending to sound like you know what you’re talking about, it’s always good to know how to properly pronounce the item you’re trying to order. In the interest of public service, we’ve rounded up 30 of the most commonly mispronounced food terms, along with the proper way to say them.
We eat foods from all around the world, and foreign foods can have some (very) foreign names. Just like any foreign word can be difficult to pronounce if you’re not familiar with the language, navigating restaurant menu of international cuisine can be a linguistic minefield.
Some foods are legitimately hard to pronounce, especially French ones like mignardises, or legitimate head-scratchers like Worcestershire. But other words fall into the “nuclear” camp: it’s not that difficult to pronounce it properly, but for some reason — force of habit? — people choose to pronounce it “nooc-yoo-lar” instead of the correct “noo-clee-ar.” Hint: your favorite fast-casual burrito joint is pronounced “chip-oat-lay,” not “chip-ole-tee.”
Also keep in mind that you’re not on your own; if you find yourself desperate to order that bouillabaisse but don’t want to sound like a fool, there’s no harm in asking your server how it’s pronounced. Trust me, it’s far less embarrassing to ask how something is pronounced than to throw caution to the wind and chance it yourself, only to be condescendingly corrected by the server (or even worse, your date). So read on to learn how to properly say 30 of the most commonly mispronounced food terms.