35 food and drink names that you're probably mispronouncing

Boyloso/ShutterstockMost people don’t pronounce ‘croissant’ correctly.
  • Avoiding embarrassing incidents at restaurants or bars can be tricky when you don’t know how to order certain menu items.
  • Here’s a guide to correctly pronouncing 35 food and drink names that are often mispronounced.
  • Filet mignon, a tender cut of steak, is actually pronounced “fil-LAY min-YON.”
  • A refreshing, Brazilian cocktail called Caiprinha is pronounced “kai-pee-REEN-yah.”
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

Many of us have had the experience of ordering something at a restaurant or a bar and completely butchering the name of the food or drink we wanted, or feeling so insecure in our abilities to pronounce the word that we resort to simply pointing to it on the menu.

To help people avoid embarrassing incidents at restaurants or bars, the Holiday Place put together a “dining dictionary” to help people pronounce food and drinks properly. Here’s a guide to correctly pronouncing XX food and drink names that are often mispronounced.


Many people can’t imagine starting their day without a tiny cup of strong espresso in the morning.

encrier/iStockA cup of espresso.

However, people often mispronounce the name of their favourite drink as “ex-PRES-oh.” The correct way to pronounce the name of this strong and highly concentrated coffee is “ehs-PRES-oh.”


Mole is a traditional sauce commonly used in Mexican cuisine, but non-Spanish speakers might have difficulty pronouncing the name of this dark and flavorful sauce.

LWY/FlickrChicken mole from Mexico.

Some might even feel tempted to pronounce it the same way as the name of the small burrowing animal. However, the correct way to pronounce this word is “MOH-lay.”


Paella is a delicious and hearty Spanish dish that is usually made with rice, vegetables, shellfish, and chicken.

The name of the dish, however, can seem intimidating to non-Spanish speakers. The easiest way to pronounce paella is by saying “pie-YAY-ahh.”


A popular and well-known delicacy in French cuisine, foie gras is a luxury food product made of the liver of a duck or goose.

It is a rich, buttery, and delicate food that many people enjoy eating, but struggle to properly pronounce. The correct way to say it is “FWAH GRAH.”


St. Germain is a liqueur made of elderflower.

lev radin/ShutterstockSt. Germain has a bright, floral flavour.

It’s tempting to refer to St. Germain with a hard “t,” but this luxury liqueur, which is now owned by Bacardi, is pronounced “Sahn-jer-mahn.”


A fermented liquid condiment created in Worcester, England, Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies and has an intense umami taste.

CarlaMc/iStockWorcestershire sauce.

While many people put Worcestershire sauce on their meatloaves or in Bloody Marys, not too many know how to pronounce it correctly. The correct way to pronounce this sauce is “WOOS-tuhr-shuhr.”


A staple ingredient known for its health benefits and earthy flavour, turmeric has blossomed in popularity recently.

tarapong srichaiyos/ShutterstockTurmeric powder.

Native to India and other parts of Asia, turmeric is often ground into a vibrant orange-coloured powder that is used to colour and flavour foods in many Asian cuisines, especially curries.

Many people don’t realise that turmeric is actually pronounced “TER-muh-rihk.”


One of the most beloved cocktails of all the time, the daiquiri is a Cuban drink made of rum, citrus juice, and sugar.

Valters Krontals/FlickrStrawberry daiquiri.

People often have difficulty saying the name right – especially after they have had a couple of daiquiris. The correct way to pronounce this Cuban cocktail is “DAH-kih-ree.”


The most tender cut of beef, filet mignon is beloved by many people all around the world.

ribeirorocha/iStockFilet mignon.

Its name is a French term that means “dainty fillet.” Due to its French etymology, the word “filet mignon” can be difficult to pronounce for non-French speakers. Next time you want to order filet mignon at a restaurant, you should say “fil-LAY min-YON.”


Almonds are extremely common and popular, and yet their name is routinely butchered.

What most people don’t realise is that the “l” in “almond” is actually silent. Therefore, instead of saying “ALL-mund,”people should say “AH-mund” instead.


Boulevardier is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Campari.

Like many foods and drinks of French origin, Boulevardier has a silent “r,” so it is actually pronounced “Bou-le-vard-ee-ay.”


Gratin is a culinary technique from France where an ingredient — such as potato or pumpkin — is topped with a browned crust of breadcrumbs and melted cheese.

A_Lein/ShutterstockPumpkin gratin.

Even though it might be tempting to pronounce the name of this type of dish as “GRAH-tin” or something like that, it is actually pronounced “grah-TAHN.”


This Middle Eastern and Mediterranean chickpea dip is wildly popular.

robynmac/iStockHummus.

It has become so beloved that it has even inspired spinoffs such as dessert hummus or hummus milkshakes. And yet, many people mistakenly pronounce it as “HUHM-uhs.” In reality, it should be pronounced “HOOM-uhs.”


Hoegaarden is a popular wheat beer produced in Belgium.

Supawadee56 / ShutterstockHoegaarden is one of the most famous Belgian beers.

While it may be tempting to order this light, wheat beer as “Hoh-gar-den,” it’s actually pronounced “Who-gar-den.”

Read more: Answer these questions and we’ll tell you which beer you’ll like best


Despite the croissant’s ubiquity, it seems that most of us are pronouncing the pastry’s name completely wrong.

Nilufer/iStockCroissants.

Most people call the pastry a “kruh-SAHNT.” However, according to its original French pronunciation, it should be called “kwah-SAHN,” where the “t” is silent and the “r” is under-emphasised.


A lot of people enjoy parmesan cheese grated over pasta or meat, but it’s also a tasty snack all by itself.

Dream79/ShutterstockParmesan cheese.

But most of us have probably been saying it wrong this whole time. While many people call it “PAH-muh-jahn,” the name of this hard cheese is actually pronounced “PAHR-muh-zahn.”


Cointreau is a French, orange-flavored triple sec liquor.

lev radin/ShutterstockCointreau.

Featured in popular cocktails such as margaritas and cosmopolitans, Cointreau is correctly pronounced “KWAN-troh.”


Tzatziki is a traditional Greek spread made of shredded cucumber and yogurt. It has a creamy and tangy flavour, and it is often eaten with pita bread.

GANCINO/iStockA bowl of tzatziki sauce.

While “tzatziki” might seem like a difficult word to say, it is properly pronounced as “dzah-DZEE-kee.”


Although it looks like a one-syllable word, “sake” is actually pronounced with two syllables.

key05/iStockSake.

People often wrongly pronounce the Japanese rice wine as “SAH-kee,” it is most correctly pronounced as “SAH-kay.”


Hors d’oeuvres are savoury bite-sized appetizers served at the beginning of a meal or during a cocktail party.

lapandr/iStockHors d’oeuvres.

The name of these highly versatile and flavorful snacks is French in origin, and they are pronounced “OR-DURV.”


Ricotta is a creamy and mild cheese from Italy that is beloved for its soft texture and sweet flavour.

nata_vkusidey/iStockRicotta.

While it is often mispronounced as “ree-KAH-tah,” it is actually pronounced “ree-KOH-tah.”


Native to Vietnam and China, star anise produces a highly fragrant oil that is often used in cooking and medicine.

SergiyMolchenko/iStockStar anise.

However, while many people pronounce the word “anise” as “ah-NEES,” the word is actually pronounced “AHN-ihs.”


Moët & Chandon is one of the more prominent brands of Champagne.

Getty Images/Andrew H. WalkerChilled bottles of Moët & Chandon.

Bubbly from this prominent Champagne house is pronounced “Mo-wett and Shan-dawn.”


Ceviche is a seafood dish that is popular throughout Latin America.

Proformabooks/iStockCeviche.

Although people might feel tempted to pronounce the “v” in the word, the name of this delicious dish is actually pronounced “seh-BEE-tche.”


Originally from Nice, the Niçoise salad is made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, Niçoise olives, anchovies, and dressed with olive oil.

robynmac/iStockSalade nicoise.

While people are often baffled about the correct pronunciation, guessing that it is pronounced “knee-qwah” or “nuh-coys,” the correct way to pronounce this word is “nee-SWAZ.”


A refreshing drink made of rum, Curacao liqueur, orgeat syrup, and lime juice, the Mai Tai is an American cocktail that is often associated with Polynesian-style settings.

Yuruphoto/ShutterstockMai Tai.

While it can be tempting to pronounce it as “MAY TAY,” it is actually pronounced “MY TIE.”


A traditional fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille in France, bouillabaisse has a name that seems difficult to pronounce for non-French speakers.

Oxana Medvedeva/iStockBouillabaisse.

With its abundance of vowels and double letters, it’s not even immediately clear how many vowels are in the word “bouillabaisse.” However, the proper way to say the word is actually quite straightforward: “boo-yah-BASE.”


With their alluring red colour and sweet taste, maraschino cherries are often used to garnish cocktails, cakes, milkshakes, and more.

Frankie Leon/FlickrMaraschino cherries on cupcakes.

Maraschino itself is a liqueur made from the Marasca cherry from Croatia. The name of these sweet cherries is pronounced “marr-ah-SKEE-noh.”


Ordering pint noir at a bar or restaurant will make you seem like a sophisticated wine connoisseur, but only if you pronounce it correctly.

shanecotee/iStockPinot noir.

While many people pronounce it incorrectly as “PEE-not NEE-or,” it is actually pronounced “PEE-noh NWAHR.”


Nougat is a sweet and chewy confection made of sugar, honey, roasted nuts, whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped candied fruit.

Polifoto/iStockNougat.

While many people refer to it as “NOO-get,” it turns out that the “t” at the end of the word “nougat” is actually silent. Therefore, the word should actually be pronounced “noo-GAH.”


Originating from Hawaii, poke is a raw fish salad that has become increasingly popular in the past few years.

bhofack2/iStockPoke bowl.

However, the correct pronunciation of its name continues to elude many. It is not immediately clear, for example, whether the word has two syllables or one. It turns out that the word “poke” does, in fact, have two syllables, and that it’s pronounced as “POH-kay.”


As the national cocktail of Brazil, the caiprinha is a simple but delicious drink made with sugarcane hard liquor, sugar, and lime.

BrasilNut1/iStockCaipirinha.

The drink itself may be simple and straightforward, but the name is not. This refreshing cocktail is pronounced “kai-pee-REEN-yah.”


Chorizo, a pork sausage from Spain, is a spicy and scrumptious addition to any dish or cheese plate.

Andrey Starostin/ShutterstockSliced chorizo sausage.

However, it is often mispronounced as “chuh-REE-zoh.” In order to pronounce it the way a true Spaniard would, it is better to say “cho-REE-thoh,” since the letter “z” is usually pronounced as a soft “th” in Spain.


Pommes frites are traditional Belgian fries, often dipped in mayonnaise and consumed with a beer.

nobtis/iStockPommes frites.

Since the name of this tasty snack is French, it can be hard for non-French speakers to figure out how to say it correctly. The “s” at the end of both words is silent – as a result, the right way to pronounce it is “PUM-FREET.”


Curacao is a tropical island in the Caribbean, but it also refers to a liqueur made from the dried peels of the Laraha orange grown on the island.

Justyna Troc/ShutterstockBlue Curacao cocktail.

While the liqueur itself is colorless, it is usually given artificial colouring – the most popular being a brilliant shade of blue. The next time you want to order a cocktail with this bright blue and alluring liqueur, you should pronounce it as “CURE-ah-soh.”

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