Foods You Are Probably Mispronouncing

Mangle these food words no more with our guide on how to say the most commonly confused terms.

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Culinary Elocution 101

We've all found ourselves pointing at a menu item we aren't quite sure how to say. This not-so-subtle technique avoids the humiliation of butchering the pronunciation in public. But even if you speak another language fluently and feel comfortable calling out a favorite dish, you're not in the clear.  Some adopted foods have morphed into regional delicacies with their own modified pronunciations, like gabagool, the New Jersey take on Italian capicola. Here are a few more words that don't really sound like they appear.

Acai (ah-SAH-ee)

A berry grown in South America touted for its high levels of antioxidants. It tastes similar to a blackberry with a mild dark chocolate aftertaste.

Ancho (AHN-choh)

A dried poblano pepper. 

Boudin (boo-DAHN)

A kind of sausage. In the U.S., the term typically refers to a Cajun version called boudin blanc, made with pork and rice in a pork casing. In Europe, boudin noir is a kind of blood sausage.

Braciola (brah-JYOH-lah)

An Italian dish made with thin slices of meat rolled with herbs, cheese and breadcrumbs that are then browned and braised in a sauce.

Capicola (kah-pih-KOH-lah)

This Italian charcuterie is made with pork shoulder that is dry-cured and usually served sliced very thin.

Coq Au Vin (kohk-oh-VAHN)

A French dish of braised chicken, lardons, mushrooms and wine.

Coulis (koo-LEE)

Any sauce made from uncooked, pureed and strained fruits or vegetables.

Creme Fraiche (krehm FRESH)

A kind of sour cream made with butter fat. It is less sour than typical American sour cream.

Croissant (kwah-SAH; kruh-SAHNT)

A French pastry made with a buttery, flaky dough rolled into a crescent shape.

Crudite (kroo-dee-TAY)

An appetizer platter of raw, sliced vegetables and dipping sauces.

Espresso (ehs-PREHS-oh)

Strong coffee made with finely ground beans and high-pressured steam.

Gnocchi (NYOH-kee)

An Italian potato dumpling pasta.

Gyro (YEE-roh)

A pita bread sandwich usually made with spit-roasted lamb or beef and served with tzatziki sauce.

Haricot Vert (ah-ree-koh VEHR)

From the French, usually refers to a thinner, smaller variety of green bean.

Huitlacoche (wheet-lah-KOH-chay)

A delicacy in Mexican cuisine, this is a fungus that grows on ears of corn. It makes an excellent filling for tacos, quesadillas or enchiladas.

Hummus (HOOM-uhs)

A Middle Eastern dip made from pureed chickpeas, tahini and oil.

Jicama (HEE-kah-mah)

A juicy, starchy, slightly sweet root found in Latin American and Asian cuisines. 

Kamut (kah-MOOT)

Considered healthier than conventional wheat because it contains more protein and fatty acids, kamut is an ancient grain. 

Macaron (mak-uh-RUHN)

A French meringue and almond flour sandwich cookie that is typically filled with buttercream or preserves.

Mascarpone (mah-skar-POH-nay)

An Italian cream cheese with the consistency of soft butter.

Mozzarella (maht-suh-REHL-lah)

A fresh Italian cheese traditionally made with buffalo milk.

Nicoise (nee-SWAHZ)

A classic, composed French salad made with anchovies, potatoes, green beans, hard-boiled egg, tuna and a vinaigrette.

Paczki (Pohnch-kee)

A doughnut-like Polish pastry.

Paella (pi-AY-yuh)

A Valencian dish made with pork, chicken, seafood and saffron-scented rice.

Pho (fuh)

Vietnamese soup made with broth, noodles, herbs and thinly sliced meat.

Quinoa (KEEN-wah)

Considered an ancient grain, quinoa is an edible seed with a mild nutty flavor.

Radicchio (rah-DEE-kee-oh)

A red leaf chicory with a bitter, spicy flavor.

Raita (RI-tah)

Southeast Asian yogurt and cucumber dip.

Rillettes (ree-YEHTS)

A French dish, similar to pâté. It is made with cubed pork, salted and slowly cooked in fat before it is cooled into a paste-like spread.

Seitan (SAY-tan)

Vegetarian protein made from wheat gluten.

Vichyssoise (vihsh-ee-SWAHZ)

Cold soup of pureed vegetables (potatoes, leeks and onions) made with cream and chicken stock.

Worcestershire (WOOS-tuhr-shuhr; WOOS-tuhr-sheer)

A condiment similar to fish sauce typically made of fermented anchovies, vinegars and sugars.