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A wooden board of assorted quesadilla with half an avocado.
Photograph: Supplied / Remitly

Say what now? A new study has just announced the world's most mispronounced dishes

Yep, we've all mangled one of these

Avril Treasure
Lauren Dinse
Written by
Avril Treasure
Lauren Dinse

Think you know food pronunciation? Can you confidently say everything from tagliatelle to tteokbokki? Just weeks after we revealed all the pasta names we mispronounce, yet another study has just dropped the bombshell that there's a whole linguistic universe of food-related words that are tying our tongues up in knots.

Whether you'd rather avoid the embarrassment of getting your favourite meal wrong when you ask for it at a restaurant, or you're simply curious to see the results of the research, we'd bet there's at least one of these words you haven't been saying the right way. 

Topping the list for most mispronounced dishes is gyros (correctly pronounced as “yi ros”), that famous hand-held Greek snack made up of a soft pita bread stuffed with grilled meats, fresh salads, and piping hot chips. The second hardest dish to say is pho (pronounced correctly as "fuh"), the Vietnamese bowl made up of soul-enriching broth, noodles, rare beef, and fragrant herbs. And coming in third place is gnocchi ("no kee") from Italy, those delightfully pillowy dumplings made from potato.

Remitly, a US-based financial services provider for immigrants, conducted the research by pulling together the names of 2,700 dishes from more than 165 countries around the world and then combined that with search terms including "what is" and "how to pronounce". The team then analysed the data to see what dish names were searched for most regularly over the previous year – and now the results are in.

Pumpkin gnocchi
Photograph: Supplied / Baby

See below for the world’s top ten most difficult to pronounce dishes: 

  1. Gyros, Greece – correct pronunciation “Yi ros”
  2. Pho, Vietnam – “Fuh”
  3. Gnocchi, Italy – “No kee”
  4. Pizza, Italy – “Peet suh”
  5. Quesadilla, Mexico – “Kay suh dee uh”
  6. Focaccia, Italy – “Fuh kach ee uh”
  7. Poke Bowl, Hawaii – “Pow kay bowl”
  8. Tzatziki, Greece – “Sat see kee”
  9. Gyoza, Japan – “Gee ow zuh”
  10. Baklava, Turkey – “Ba kluh vuh”

Don't sweat it if there's a word from the list you've been saying wrong all these years. With such an exciting and diverse array of eats in Melbourne's multicultural scene, you can't be expected to nail everything, every time. But hey, at least now you know. Bookmark this guide for the next time you’re wanting to order gyros from Stalactites, a steaming bowl of pho from one of Melbourne's best Vietnamese restaurants or gnocchi from this Italian gem, (which also happens to sling the world's best pizza). You'll be firm friends with the locals in no time.


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