40 Food Names & Culinary Terms Singaporeans Commonly F*** Up

Food Mispronounced Food Names 1

There’s nothing worse than dressing up, looking sharp and heading to a fancy restaurant only to reduce yourself to ruins when you mispronounce—whether intentionally or unintentionally—the names of dishes.

You may be perplexed by some of the seemingly easy words on this list, but truth be told, we’ve heard enough locals massacre the heck out of them.

Guilty as charged? Check out our handy list of 40 food names Singaporeans commonly mispronounce so that you’ll never be judged again.

Avocado Cafe Acai Green Bowl_

ACAI

Acai berries, considered a superfood with its anti-ageing and weight loss properties, is a key ingredient in most, if not all, picture-perfect smoothie bowls and the hipsters go absolutely insane for it—if only their pronunciation was better than their advocacy towards healthy eating. This tiny, dark purple berry is pronounced, “ah-sah-EE” or “ah-sai-EE” – both are acceptable.

NOT: Ah chai or ah cai

Twenty Eight Seafood Aglio Olio

AGLIO OLIO

The classic Italian poor man’s staple, the humble aglio olio is a pasta dish that comprises simply, olive oil, garlic, pasta and chilli. Devoid of elaboration, this delicious dish is pronounced “ah-leo-oh-lio”.

NOT: ah-gleo oh-leo

Almond Cookies

ALMOND

“A-ha!” you say, “The L is silent here too right?” Since we speak British English, yes. So the nut is pronounced “AH-muhnd”. Americans say “ALL-muhnd”, but still without emphasising the L.

NOT: El-muhnd

Fat Cow Wagyu Beef

AMUSE BOUCHE

An amuse bouche, unlike a starter, is often served as a complimentary snack before a meal. It does nothing for the palate—again, not a starter—but instead, is given to diners to offer them a glimpse of the chef’s style. In French, it literally translates to “an amusement for the mouth” and is pronounced “amuse bush”.

NOT: amuse bu-shey

Nhu Lan Banh Mi

BAGUETTE

There’s nothing better than slapping on some good butter and jam on slices of freshly-baked “bah-get”.

NOT: Bah-gwet or Beh-gwet OR bah kut teh

Lobster Bisque Violet Herbs

BISQUE

The classic “bisk” is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin that’s flavoured with a variety of crustaceans and thickened using rice instead of flour or a roux (butter and flour).

NOT: Bis-kew

Marriott Cafe Seafood Bouillabaisse

BOUILLABAISSE

A word that is as tricky to spell as it is to say. But the hearty traditional French fish stew is pronounced “bui-yah-bays”.

NOT: Bui-lah-base.

Enjoué Bakery Bread Group Shot

BREAD

Hey, would you kindly pass the “bred”, please?

NOT: bret or brade

Brioche French Toast

BRIOCHE

A sweet, buttery bread that’s enriched with lots of egg and butter, the “bree-osh” is the top bread of choice for French Toast or even burgers.

NOT: Brio-chee or Brio-shay

Brix Charcuterie

CHARCUTERIE

It can refer to the art of preserving meats (primarily pork) – think ham, sausages, pates and more – or the delicatessens and stores which sell such products. At a restaurant, you can order up a “shahr-KOO-tuh-ree” platter and enjoy it with a glass of vino.

NOT: Char-koo-tuh-ree

CHIPOTLE

Spicy, smoky and, hands down, the best sauce to go on top of a taco, confidently request for the “chi-POAT-lay” sauce the next time you’re out having Mexican.

NOT: Chi-potel

COGNAC

“Kon-yak” is a variety of brandy that originates from the town of Cognac in France. Tastes excellent in Christmas egg nog or neat.

NOT: Cock neck

Duck Confit

CONFIT

A French method of cooking that involves cooking something for a long period of time in its own fat. Fancy a posh French classic? The humble duck “cohn-fee” (if cooked properly) rarely ever disappoints.

NOT: con-fit

O Comptoir Nutella Maki Crepe

CRÊPE

The classic French crepe, pronounced “creyp”, is a soft, buttery and irresistibly satisfying thin pancake that’s infinitely versatile. Stuff it with some Nutella, freshly cut fruits and have it as a dessert, or meat and vegetables for a full on meal.

NOT: cre-peh or creepy

Enjoué Bakery Croissant Cross Section

CROISSANT

There’s nothing quite as surreal as sitting at a French deli, watching life go by over a freshly brewed cuppa in one hand and a buttery, flaky “kwa-sohn” in another.

NOT: Croy-sont

Salt Grill & Sky Bar Wagyu Steak

ENTRÉE

Don’t be intimidated whenever you see the word “on-tray” on a menu. It’s just a fancy term to refer to the main dish of a meal.

NOT: Entry

6oz Espresso Bar

ESPRESSO

A shot of this—sometimes ten—is what some people need to kickstart their day. Say it as you see it: “Es-PRESS-oh”.

NOT: Ex-press-soh—where did the X even come from?

Food Exchange Foie Gras

FOIE GRAS

The luxury food product that’s made of the liver of a duck or goose, the “fuo-gra” has long been a topic of debate in the culinary world—more so by animal rights activists.

NOT: foi grass

Awfully Chocolate Ganache Truffles

GANACHE

Nothing spells sexy the like a luxurious, velvety chocolate “ge-nesh” drizzled over something.

NOT: gana-chee or gana chey

GRAHAM

As in, graham—pronounced “gray-em” crackers, the same buttery, delicious biscuits that form the base of many tarts.

NOT: grey ham

Avocado Toast

GUACAMOLE

Emphasis on the mole, as in “guaca-moleh”, this avocado-based dip is must in a burrito.

NOT: guak-a-mole

JALAPENO

A pepper originating from Mexico that is often eaten while still green, instead of when it is a fully-ripe red. As the word is of Spanish origin, the J is silent. If you’re not one for spicy food, then stay away from the “HA-luh-payn-yo”.

NOT: Jah-luh-pen-oh

LingZhi Vegetarian Lasagne

LASAGNE

The next time you want a dish of layered pasta smothered in sauce, tell the waiter you’ll have the “lah-ZAH-nyah”.

Not: Lah-sahg-nyuh. Like with cognac, the G is silent.

LETTUCE

There are so many kinds – from butterhead to romaine to oak leaf and even watercress (yes, it is a type of aquatically-grown lettuce). Say “LET-tis”.

Not: Let-yoos. The next time you want to pronounce it wrongly, we won’t let-yoos.

Bonheur macarons

MACARON

These colourful little pastries got Singaporeans in a tizzy not too long ago. Again, you say it as you see it: “Mah-ca-RON”. Please stop confusing it with another treat of a similar name, the macaroon – a chewy cookie made with shredded coconuts.

Not: Mack-uh-ROON

Steaming Milk

MILK

Some people like their coffee with a splash of “milk”, others do not.

NOT: Mewk

MINESTRONE

A thick, hearty Italian soup made vegetables and beans, the “mi-nehs-stron-ey” sometimes comes with pasta or rice for added body.

NOT: Minnis-strone

Said Dal 1912 Chocolate Mocha

MOCHA

Unlike matcha, you do not emphasise the “ch” in “moh-ka”.

NOT: Moh-cha

Chocolate Mousse

MOUSSE

A soft, airy treat that made by whipping lots of air into it, a “moose” may vary between sweet and savoury.

NOT: mouse or mou-seh

Juscool Orange Soda

ORANGE JUICE

Nothing like a sour kick from glass of freshly squeezed “or-uhnge jewce” in the morning.

NOT: orin jus or oleng ju

Pho Hai Trieu Beef Pho

PHO

It’s tempting to say it as it is spelled, but this traditional Vietnamese rice noodle dish is called “fuh”.

NOT: Foh

Two Chefs Bar Pepperoni Pizza

PIZZA

Undeniably one of our top stay-at-home comfort foods, nothing beats a lazy Sunday afternoon on the sofa watching Netflix with a box of “pit-sa” loaded with cheese and pepperoni.

NOT: Pee-za

Papi's Tacos Quesadilla

QUESADILLA

No prizes for every time a Mexican feels a little embarrassed whenever he or she hears someone ordering this tortilla (tor-tee-yah) dish. Before they decide to build themselves a wall on their accord to shield them from further embarrassment, pronounce it the right way, “kay-suh-DEE-ah”.

Not: Kweh-sah-dee-lah, keh-sah-dee-lah, kweh-sah-dee-yah

Quince Quinoa Porridge

QUINOA

This healthy protein-filled grain pretty much always ends up on such lists simply because it’s a real mind-boggler. The right way to say it is “KEEN-wah”.

Not: Kween-no-ah or kee-no-ah

Sashimi Salmon

SALMON

Anyone who is a fan of sashimi should know this omega-3-laden fish, but have you been saying it right? The L is silent, so you would say “SEH-muhn”. The first half of the word rhymes with “air”.

Not: Sell-muhn

Spaghetti

SPAGHETTI

The intonation is often stressed at the wrong place with this word. The popular Italian noodle is called “spag-geddi”.

Not: SPAG-uh-tee

The Pelican Steak 2

STEAK

If you’re guilty of getting this wrong, then you sir, do not deserve the gloriousness that is a perfectly seared, medium-rare ribeye “stake”.

NOT: Stick or steek

TOMATO

To ensure a perfect pasta sauce every time, use fresh “toh-may-toes” instead of the canned ones. Period.

NOT: Toh-mah-toes

TURMERIC

A popular spice that adds deep yellow colour and a peppery, spicy tone to our favourite Indian dishes. People often forget that there is an R after the U in “TER-muh-rik”.

NOT: Tyoo-muh-rik or too-muh-rik

LingZhi Vegetarian Stewed Rice Vermicelli

VERMICELLI

In laymen terms, bee hoon, otherwise known as rice “ver-mi-chelly”.

NOT: Ver-mee-see-lee