How do you say chorizo? And 7 other foods you’re probably not pronouncing properly

Is it chip-ottle, or chip-ot-lay? Our taste for global food can put us in a pickle over how to say them…

Did you watch last night’s episode of MasterChef? Or rather, did you watch it – and then also catch the reaction on Twitter, as a number of disgruntled viewers took to the social media platform to express their offence at guest cook Shaun Rankin’s mispronunciation of chorizo.

The Mayfair head chef called the Spanish meat ‘shor-reet-zo’, which didn’t cut it with the foodie-lingo police, who’d clearly have preferred him say it the ‘proper’ Spanish way, which is more like ‘choree-thoh’.

We get it, language matters. But, just like a perfect soufflé (it’s ‘sooph-lay’, for the record), don’t we also need to lighten up?! After all, Rankin isn’t Spanish, and we’re pretty sure there are lots of foods many of us are probably mispronouncing – or maybe they’re simply said differently in different regions and dialects.

Want proof? Here are seven common examples of foods whose pronunciations don’t always sound the same:


Is it ‘s-gone’, or ‘sk-oh-n’? Your answer will probably depend on whereabouts in the UK you live. But it’s an argument that never gets resolved (and we’ll probably carry on the debate of cream or jam first for the rest of time too!).


Another Spanish one. According to the English alphabet, you might first assume it’s pronounced ‘pah-elle-ah’, or ‘pie-la’, though many of us say something more like ‘pie-ella’. Those who like to do it properly, though, will note it’s more of a soft ‘ey’ sound, than a hard, double L in the middle.


Let’s be honest, a lot of us still aren’t entirely sure what this dish even is, let alone how to say it properly. It’s basically raw fish marinated in citrus juices, popular in South America. Hands up, we were pronouncing it as ‘she-veesh’ for ages, until we heard it said properly: ‘se-vee-chay’.


We Brits see this ‘sch’ combo and our brains automatically want to assume a soft pronunciation is required, which the emphasis on the ‘s’ and the ‘h’, resulting in ‘brush-shetta’. But in Italian, the opposite rules apply and it’s more like a hard ‘c’. The ‘s’ is just there to mess with us!

Acai berries

They’re popping up all over the place (especially on the Instagram feeds of #healthy millennials and celebrity ‘health gurus’), but please don’t ask us to say the words out loud! We had to Google this one; apparently it’s a soft ‘c’ with a perky ‘ai’ ending. Something like ‘ah-saa-ee’.


Sure, it’s a trendy sugar alternative and officially makes cakes a health food (we jest!). But is it ‘ah-gahv’, or ‘ah-gah-vey’? Popular vote says the latter.


It’s tasty, that much we know for sure. But it’s one of those words that whenever you say it, you quickly tag on a disclaimer (“Am I saying it right?! I’m never sure!”). You’re probably half-way there, just make sure you pronounce it as ‘lay’ at the end.

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