Glorious Foods

Waiter, we’ll have… this one- the foods we can’t pronounce

23rd November, 2012 in Food & Drink

Millions of Brits claim to be foodies – but in reality struggle with pronunciation of exotic dishes and delicacies, it has been revealed. Researchers found common food faux pas include the mispronunciation of the Greek dip Tzatziki and the Italian ham prosciutto.

Other embarrassing clangers include pronouncing the silent G in the dish Gnocchi and struggling to say ‘nicoise’ correctly.  The common mistake is to order a nick-oi-see rather than a nee-swaz.

Other regular stumbling blocks also include an inability to get the tongue around words such as quesadillas, ciabatta, dauphinois and the cheese haloumi, the poll by GLORIOUS! Foods found.

The study also revealed one in five people order food in a restaurant they don’t particularly want purely because they know how to say it.

And more than a quarter said they refer to the number of a dish on a menu to avoid looking stupid and pronouncing it incorrectly.

Afruj Miah, a spokesman for GLORIOUS! Foods, famed for their soups, dips and sauces using global flavours, said:

”Over the last few decades we have become a lot more experimental with food as a nation and Brits have really embraced dishes from different countries.

”But by doing so it would appear we struggle with the pronunciation of some well-known dishes.

”Cuisine from Japan, China and Mexico can be notoriously hard to say, but Brits seem to have trouble with many Italian and French dishes too, such as prosciutto and dauphinois.

”But it’s a shame if people are avoiding ordering their favourite dishes purely because they are not sure of how to say it.

”Shop assistants and waiters will be used to customers ordering or buying food and not getting the pronunciation exactly correct.”

Nearly two thirds of those studied said that they found many foods hard to pronounce and 14% said they have been intimidated by a waiter in a posh restaurant because they were nervous about ordering.

The cuisine we struggle most with is Japanese, followed by French and Chinese.

One in twenty Brits even struggle to say blancmange correctly, not grasping the phonetic sound which is bler-monj.

More than half said they prefer it if a waiter corrects their pronunciation but 20% said they would be mortified if this happened.

27% went as far to say they would find it extremely condescending.

Of those polled, 54% said they would welcome a phonetic pronunciation guide on food packaging and menus.

Afruj Miah continued:

”It can be daunting ordering food in a high end restaurant or even asking for help in a specialist food shop if you don’t really know what you’re asking for.

”Our range of soups, dips and sauces inspired by ingredients from around the world help make mealtimes adventurous for everyone – even if some of the ingredients are hard to pronounce.”

”To give a helping hand with more exotic ingredients, we are considering adding a phonetic pronunciation guide on our food packaging so those people wanting to try Gjetost, Ras el hanout and Xo sauce can do so without being left red faced.”

The study also found that more than a quarter of the 2000 adults who completed the poll rated their food knowledge as very good, although one in 20 said it was exceptional.

A third of people felt that those with a good understanding of exotic foods must be well educated whereas half said they would be a ‘foody’.


Wrong Pronunciation Right Pronunciation
1. Tzatziki tee-zat-zee-ki-ki zat-zee-key
2. Quesadillas kwee saddy lass case-ah-dee-yahs
3. Prosciutto pros-kee-oo-toe pro-shoo-toe
4. Quinoa kwin-oh-ah keen-wah
5. Amuse bouche ahh-mooz-booch-ee a-moose boosh
6. Nicoise nick-oi-see nee-swaz
7. Moules Mariniere moo les marry nary mools mar-in-year
8. Dauphinois dolf-in-ee-waz doh-fin-wa
9. Penne arabiata penny-arry-batty pen-A arr-ah-bee-ah-tah
10. Haloumi halli-oh-mi hal-ooh-me
11. Gruyere grew-yer-re grew-year
12. Taramasalata ta-ra-mas-er-la-tay ta-ra-ma-sa-la-ta
13. Gnocci Ger-nock-eee knock-ee
14. Hors d’oeuvre hors da verve oar durv
15. Guacamole gwa-ca-mole gwa-ca-mole-eh
16. Falafel fer-laf-all fal-ah-fell
17. Chorizo chor-it-so chore-eat-soo
18. Carpaccio car-pat-see-oh car-pat-chee-oh
19. Tarte tatin tarty-tate-in tart tah-tin
20. Hoisin how sin hoy sin
21. Enchilados en-kill-ay-das en-chill-ah-das
22. Star anise star ann-ee-say star-en-ees
23. Escargot ess-car-got ess-car-go
24. Mascarpone mask-a-pone mas-car-poh-nay
25. Ciabatta see-a-bat-a hee-a-bat-a


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