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20 Foods You Might Be Mispronouncing

Michele Debczak
An açai smoothie bowl.
An açai smoothie bowl. / gorchittza2012/iStock via Getty Images
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When ordering a meal at a restaurant, taste should be the main concern. Whether you can pronounce the name of the dish shouldn't factor into your decision, but that's not always the case. If you've ever ordered a salad to avoid saying vichyssoise to your server, it's time to brush up on your culinary vocabulary. Here are 20 common food names you may be mispronouncing.

1. Açaí

Since this super fruit became a trendy ingredient, people have struggled to pronounce it. Instead of ah-KAI, say ah-sah-EE.

2. Crudités

Asking for CROO-dites at an upscale event may get you funny looks. Kroo-de-TAY is the correct pronunciation.

3. Pho

Pho is pronounced fuh, as in, "this beef noodle soup is pho-nomenal."

4. Quinoa

KEEN-wah is the correct way to say the name of this nutritious, South American staple.

5. Filet mignon

Don't try to say the name of this famous beef cut in phonetic English. Follow the French pronunciation and say fuh-LAY muhn-YAWN instead.

6. Vichyssoise

Saying the name of this potato soup out loud doesn't have to be nerve-racking. Vichyssoise—pronounced vih-shee-SWAAZ—is actually pretty fun to say.

7. Macaron

box of colorful macarons
An assortment of colorful macarons. / Oli Scarff/GettyImages

This French cookie shouldn't be confused with American macaroons. Say mah-kuh-ROHN if you want to sound like you know what you're talking about.

8. Elote

The name of this cheesy, Mexican street corn is pronounced eh-LOH-tay.

9. Foie gras

Even if you know foie gras is pronounced fwah-grah, the name can still trip up non-native French speakers.

10. Tzatziki

Don't let the zs in the name scare you. You can order this Mediterranean yogurt dip by saying tuh-ZEE-kee.

11. Worcestershire

The name of this condiment is pronounced WOO-stuh-sher. (Now try saying that three times fast.)

12. Niçoise

Say nee-SWAZ when ordering this French salad to impress your server.

13. Cacao

Chocolate production at a Cacao Farm in Colombia.
Chocolate production at a Cacao Farm in Colombia. / Jan Sochor/GettyImages

Distinct from the processed chocolate called cocoa, raw cacao beans are pronounced kah-COW.

14. Mole

The name of this famous Mexican sauce has two syllables, as in MOH-lay.

15. Camembert

This French cheese is pronounced kah-mum-BEHR with a silent t.

16. General Tso's

The name is spelled differently at various Chinese-American restaurants, but the Tso in General Tso's chicken is always pronounced tsah-ow.

17. Cassoulet

Ka-soo-LAY is the right way to say the name of this famous French dish.

18. Beignet

When in New Orleans, earn respect from the locals and say ben-YAY when ordering the pastry from a coffee shop.

19. Sriracha

Years after it became the trendiest condiment on the planet, people are still saying sriracha wrong. Sr-AH-chuh is the correct pronunciation.

20. Champagne

Champagne makes any occasion feel fancier, especially when you pronounce it the right way: sham-PAYN.

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