13 Foods with Radically Different Names Abroad (Slideshow)

Though we may speak the same language, it doesn’t always mean we use the same words


Ah, candy — that stuff we love so much that lines deli counters and racks up our dentist bills each year. Candy, as we so fondly call it here in the States, takes on another name in native English-speaking countries including Australia, England and the like: Lollies. That’s right — and the term applies to any kind of candy, not just lollipops. 


A cookie is a cookie is a cookie — but not in the U.K. or in Australia. Ready to be thrown for a loop? Cookies are biscuits, or bickies, just an ocean or two away.  Leaving out biscuits and milk for Santa at Christmas doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it.


When we hear “chips,” we think Lays. We think Ruffles. We think barbecued flavored or sour cream and onion — that salty goodness of a snack that we regret opening once we’ve finished the entire bag in one go. Chips as we know them in the States are actually French fries abroad. And what we call chips, the Brits call crisps. So Chips are really fries, and fries are really chips, but then what are chips called overseas? Crisps of course. Got it? Good.


There is no drink more classic than a Martini, but try ordering this in parts of Europe, and don’t be surprised if it is not exactly what you asked for. In most non-English-speaking European countries, ordering a Martini means the bartender will bring you a vermouth (Martini & Rossi brand, of course). Lost in translation, anyone?

Wheat toast

White, toast, multigrain toast, wheat toast. These are just some of the many varieties of toast you can find when you order breakfast in the States. Yet in Australia, if you sit down at a restaurant, you will find that your options include brown toast. No, it doesn’t mean perfectly toasted to a nice, brown color. It means wheat bread. 


Far out. Arugula in the U.K., Australia, and other countries under the crown is called rocket, so you may feel like you’re about to eat the most out-of-this-world delicious salad you’ve ever had.  And for your next trip to Paris? The French name, roquette.  No matter which way you toss it, arugula is derived from Italian, and arugula only became a popularly coined term in the States during the 1980s.  


Looking for some rutabaga? Well, what we call rutabaga in North America will elicit some blank and empty stares in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Wales, and many other Commonwealth countries. Instead, it’s called swede, which evokes more of a blonde-hair, blue-eyed image than a dirt-covered plant, but hey — what do we know?


Chocolate cake, cannoli, ice cream, fresh fruit, pudding — these are all a part of the wonderful world of dessert. But the world of dessert abroad all falls under the umbrella term pudding, and it’s not the homemade chocolate pudding you’re thinking of. Pudding in England encompasses the entire world of desserts, which totally goes against our American knowledge of the word. 


This is one name change that takes some getting used to. What we call a zucchini in the States is referred to as courgette in several countries including the U.K., New Zealand, and South Africa. The word courgette is French in origin, which basically means that zucchini sounds a whole lot classier abroad. 


One of our ugliest-sounding vegetables (sorry, eggplant), doesn’t do much better abroad. In British English, eggplants are called aubergines. And though it’s a word that, like courgette, has its roots firmly in the French language, this might be the one exception to the rule that a French accent gives everything instant class. Aubergine sounds like the big kid on the playground you don’t want to mess with.


As American a condiment as it gets. Yet go to Australia and you’ll find that ketchup goes by another name: tomato sauce. Talk about sounding posh and proper. Excuse me sir, can I have some tomato sauce on my hamburger, please? Here, it’s more like hand over a bottle of ketchup and let me go to town on this burger.


If there is anything we Americans know about Australians, it’s that they love to throw their shrimp on the barbie, mate! Well, we have some disappointing news for you that may impinge on your accent-mocking fun: They don’t call it shrimp down under. Shrimp are called prawns in Australia no matter the size, and the same goes for the U.K. and the other Commonwealth Countries.


Peppers are such beautiful vegetables. They come in different colors, different sizes and apparently different names abroad. Peppers are called capsicum in Australia, New Zealand and India. Ordering or making sausage and capsicum just doesn’t feel the same, even though the taste might be spot on.