9 foods you’re probably mispronouncing and how to say them like a pro

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Doris Wai |

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Noo-tella? Nuh-tella? Who cares, it’s delicious. Photo: Shutterstock

Have you ever combed through the aisles of your local supermarket, futilely looking for a bag of frozen croissants or some jalapeños, but were too embarrassed to ask for help because you’re just not sure how they’re pronounced? Well, you’re not alone. Here is your guide to saying nine commonly mispronounced foods and ingredients.

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Correct: AH-mund
Commonly mistaken as: AHL-mund

An increasingly common sight in the mylk section, this versatile nut is pronounced with a silent “l”.


Correct: KOW-kow
Commonly mistaken as: kow-kow-wa

A fancy word for concentrated powder made from cocoa beans that you might see stamped across the labels of gourmet chocolate drinks, the stress is on the first syllable, with a silent “a” at the end.

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Correct: kwa-son
Commonly mistaken as: Crwa-sant

Perfecting the pronunciation of this buttery French pastry takes some practise. The first syllable sounds more like “cwass”, while the second syllable is pronounced with a silent “t” in its native language.

Wearing a beret while enjoying a croissant is completely optional. Photo: Shutterstock


Correct: nyawk-kee
Commonly mistaken as: ga-nok-chee

Often mistaken for pasta, gnocchi is a sort of potato dumpling that the Italians usually eat on Thursdays, also known as Gnocchi Thursday. In Italian, “gn” is pronounced as “ny”, with a silent “g”, and “ch” sounds just like “k”.


Correct: LEH-tuss
Commonly mistaken as: leh-TEWCE

This might seem like a no-brainer, but some of us have probably been mispronouncing lettuce our whole life. To get this right, start by saying “let us” and then speed it up, and you’re on your way to saying and eating these humble leafy greens.

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Correct: hah-lah-PEH-nyoh
Commonly mistaken as: ja-lah-PEH-nyoh

A staple in spicy Mexican recipes, this is another Spanish word that sounds different from how it looks. In Spanish, the letter “j” has an “h” sound. One easy way to remember this is to keep in mind that the “h” is for HOT – and you’ll probably be chugging water after a bite of these green peppers.

Can you handle jalapeños, or are they too spicy? Photo: Shutterstock


Correct: NOU-tell-uh
Commonly mistaken as: NUT-ella/NUH-tell-uh

Don’t worry if you’ve been saying the name of this go-to spread wrong all this time. After all, it contains hazelnuts, so having a “nut” in the first syllable kind of makes sense. Most of us were left in shock when the company said it’s pronounced as “NOU-tella”, with the emphasis being put on the “N’ and “OU”.


Correct: KEEN-wa
Commonly mistaken as: kin-OH-ah

This superfood originated in Peru and Bolivia. When the Spanish arrived in South America, they called it “keenwa”. By the time it made its way around the world, many of us ended up pronouncing it just like how it’s spelt.

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Correct: SAM-uhn
Commonly mistaken as: sell-mun

Just like almond, the “l” in “salmon” is silent, with more emphasis on the first syllable. That’s because the word has its origins in Old French, which consisted of a mix of different dialects.

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