Have you ever ordered a dish only to have the server give you a strange look? Or realized — at your favorite gyros spot — that everyone else is saying “YEER-ohs” when you’ve been calling them “JUY-rohs” this entire time?
To help you avoid another foodie faux pas, we’ve compiled this list of the most common pronunciation and translation mistakes we’ve found yet. Just promise you’ll pay it forward the next time you see someone asking their server for “char-CUT-er-ee” instead of “char-COOT-ah-ree.”
Outside of teas and certain ethnic cuisines, chances are, you’re not going to see this particular term on a restaurant menu. But that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter it — and its various incorrect pronunciations — plenty. Just remember that this sweet, almost licorice-like herb, is pronounced ANN-iss — not ahn-EES.
Don’t let all the accent marks fool you, this word is actually super easy (and fun!) to say. Even though it technically refers to all kinds of bread, the next time you want a tasty Vietnamese sandwich, simply ask for BON-mee.
Given how common this particular dish is, we’re not surprised that the Americanized pronunciation broo-SHET-ah has taken over. But if you want to be really authentic, next time you order this appetizer, ask your server for the broo-SKET-ah.
Don’t let the leading “CH” fool you. This braided bread is actually pronounced HA-lah, with a guttural sound coming from the back of the throat on the first syllable (think “Bach”). However, if you can’t make the proper “chet” sound, a plain old HA-lah is better than the cringe-worthy CHA-lah.
We’re not sure when it happened, but somewhere between espresso first coming to America and it suddenly being on menus everywhere, people started calling it “expresso” (and sometimes even writing it that way). Regardless of how it’s written, however, this tasty caffeinated treat is (and has always been) pronounced eh-SPRES-oh.
One look at this word, and we can understand why some people may have trouble pronouncing it, but it’s actually easier than it looks. So the next time you want a plate of these delectable little potato dumplings, simply ask for NYOH-kee.
Who knew three little letters could cause so many pronunciation problems. If you assumed this was as easy as it looks, you’re certainly not alone — but the next time you want a bowl of this super satisfying Vietnamese soup, ask for Fuh not FOH.
Ok, so this isn’t a pronunciation issue (although, for reference, it’s pronounced KAY-so, not QWAY-so) but rather a translation one: in Spanish, the word “queso” literally means cheese — and we mean ANY cheese, not just the liquid stuff that always seems to accompany the name. Calling anything “queso cheese” is redundant.
Twenty years ago, significantly fewer people even knew about this amazing South American supergrain. But now that quinoa is on menus everywhere, it’s good to know that despite the tricky OA at the end, this particular ingredient is pronounced KEEN-wah.
This is another term you might not see prominently on your menu aside from bloody Marys mixes and steak accompaniments — but you can bet that it’s probably in one (or more) of the dishes listed. Just keep in mind that despite the fact that it seems to skip a few parts of the word, this fermented condiment is in fact pronounced wuh-stuh-shur.
Want to take yet another trip through the culinary world of words with us? Check out our restaurant menu terms you need to know: