by Carissa Wong
Ever wondered why the meat of chicken is called chicken but a juicy beef steak is not called a cow steak? Even the pig had to be renamed pork in the kitchen!
In the 11th century, the rulers (the French!) would only eat certain types of meat that were considered luxurious that were gathered by local hunters (the Englishmen). And these meat, as you would expect, had their own pronunciation or culinary names in French like ‘porc’, ‘boeuf’, ‘mouton’ and even squid (or sotong) is called ‘calamar’. Chicken is still chicken but a young hen is called Pullet which could be traced back to the French word for chicken ‘poulet’.
Hence as time went by - it was much easier for the Englishmen to relate or call upon the meat by its French pronunciation and of course, the "classy" way to name or call a dish were mostly in French.
Fish, on the other hand, is another story altogether because it is spelt ‘Poisson’ which looks a lot like POISON so obviously, the English kept fish as fish and the rest is history.
Now that we're in 2017, we can’t change food names as and when we want, so let’s not get tangled in the web of mispronunciation! Read on (or rather listen up) for our top 10 commonly mispronounced food names – that we shouldn’t malu ourselves when going for dinner!
SG Pronunciation: Flah-Ar
Correct Pronunciation: Flou-er
We admit we’re guilty too! Even a primary school teacher (he/she who must not be named) said ‘flahr’ to us, but now you know! Plain flour, baking flour, self-raising flour - they are all pronounced as ‘flower’.
SG Pronunciation: SAH-go
Correction Pronunciation: Seh-go
It’s almost like saying “Say Go”. In Malay, it’s pronounced as ‘sah-gu’ and spelt as sagu. Probably where we got it mixed up somewhere.
SG Pronunciation: Sue-ger
Correct Pronunciation: Shoo-ger
Does the mispronunciation occur because we tried to be careful with pronunciation, or because the word doesn't have a H? Or simply because sue-ger rolls off the tongue faster? Who knows, but it ends here!
SG Pronunciation: Chi-rahz/She-rah
Correct Pronunciation: She-rahz
Admittedly, most wines are hard to pronounce. 'Pinot' is pronounced 'Pino', and 'Merlot' is pronounced 'Merlo', but for Shiraz, remember to pronounce every letter.
SG Pronunciation: Leh-tuse
Correct Pronunciation: Leh-tis
This is a very common mispronunciation! Some say it's preference, just like how people pronounce 'tomato' as 'toe-may-toe' or 'toe-mah-toe'. Changing the C in lettuce to S is the wrong pronunciation- now you won't make the same mistake!
SG Pronunciation: Braid
Correct Pronunciation: Breh-d
Some pronounce 'Bukit Batok' as 'Bukit Buttock', while others say 'Bukit Batoke'. Similarly, your accent contributes to whether you pronounce it as 'braid' or 'brehd', but 'brehd' is the dictionary pronunciation.
SG Pronunciation: Shu-shi
Correct Pronunciation: Soo-shi
Sushi seems like a straightforward word to pronounce, but many get tongue tied and throw in an extra H.
SG Pronunciation: Ah-sai/Ah-kai
Correct Pronunciation: Ah-sai-ee
This super food is all over the internet, and now you'll be pronouncing it correctly when you're talking acai trends.
SG Pronunciation: Hhh-erb
Correct Pronunciation: Her-b/Er-b
People have always argued over this word. Is the H silent or not? Let's stick with British pronunciation with a H because imagine saying Herbal Essences as Erbal Essences...
SG Pronunciation: Zoo-chee-ni
Correct Pronunciation: Zoo-key-ni
And according to this video, it's 'zch-ch-chi-chi-chi'.
Now you know the correct pronunciations whenever you are talking about food!
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