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Funny food names

Sliders and SOS are some English food names that are pretty funny. I have just tried birria, which is a Mexican or Salvadorean goat stew, and it's tasty, but the name apparently means 'trash'. And my friend kare_raisu's name is kind of funny, being the transliterated Japanese version of an English name for an Indian dish, and a British version at that. (Hi kare_raisu. No offense I hope, but I love the Japanese versions of foreign words, like biru, basuboru, tempura.)

Do you have any others that would be funny if you knew what they meant?

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  1. I like "strozzaprete", "priest-stranglers", a large variety of pasta.

    1. There is a sort of hash in southern Bolivia called "saice". The name is funny to Germans.

      4 Replies
        1. re: Leucadian

          "Saice" is pronounced quite the same as the German word for s*&t.

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            Surprisingly (to me, at least) the Taiwanese word for s&*t is very similar as well. Must have been something they picked up from the Europeans. The word for soap sounds like the French "savon" too. And people are saying below that tempura (tien boo la in Taiwanese) is Portuguese in origin.

            1. re: Pei

              In Viet, soap is "xa phuong", which is pronounced like "savon". And the name for BBQ pork is "xa xiu" -- a calque of "cha shu".

      1. "Tempura" is a cognate from English??

        4 Replies
        1. re: ricepad

          No, tempura is from Portuguese, according to the story I was told. The name is supposed to come from the Portuguese word for temple, and was attached to the batter-fried food by association with a vegetarian diet. Not sure if the technique was introduced by them or not. Katsu is another word that is supposedly derived from English, in this case 'cutlet'. These may be apocryphal, but they're reasonable.

          1. re: Leucadian

            The tempura technique came from the Portugese. When I was growing up, mom would rarely make the stuff, and in those cases only for hakujins.

            1. re: Leucadian

              Tempura is definitly Portuguese, however, I understand it to be derived from the word "temperatura" for temperature.

              I like the temple story better.

              1. re: Julie Woo

                According to Wikipedia under 'Tempura', we were close in sound but far away in meaning:

                "Batter-coated deep frying was introduced to the Japanese by Portuguese missionaries during the 16th century. The word tempura derives from the Portuguese missionaries' custom of eating fish during Lent due to the Catholic proscription against eating meat during this period: in Latin, "ad tempora quadragesimae", meaning "in the time of Lent"."

          2. I just think 'sweetbreads' is hilarious. Could the name be any farther from what they actually are? Anyone know where the name came from?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Melanie

              "We always assumed they were called sweetbreads as a euphemism (kind of like Rocky Mountain oysters!), but also as a reference to the very rich flavor and consistency. We probably weren't far off on the rich flavor part. The sweet element is thought to come from English sweet as the thymus and pancreas are sweet and rich. The bread element, on the other hand, is now thought to come from Old English bræd "flesh", so that sweetbreads are simply "sweet flesh", versus the more savory muscle flesh that is usually consumed because it is more plentiful. The term dates from the mid-16th century.

              Pancreas, by the way, comes from Greek pan "all" and kreas "flesh". John Ayto says that this was because the organ was of the same consistency and substance throughout. Pancreas dates in English from the 16th century, like sweetbread. Pancreas sweetbread is also known as stomach sweetbread, while the thymus is called throat sweetbread. Both refer to the location of the gland in the animal (pancreas in the abdomen and thymus at the base of the throat). "


              1. re: Melanie

                I've always loved that sweetbreads are meat and sweetmeats are (often) bread.

              2. The Brits, I think, win. There's a dish -- allegedly a dessert but based on suet -- called "spotted dick." In politer circles, it is morphed into "spotted dog," but it sounds just as unplatable.

                "Corn smut," the Anglo term for Mexico's huitlacoche (sp?), is pretty funny too.

                4 Replies
                1. re: ClaireWalter

                  Agreed the Brits win. Stiff upper lip, wot? Although the French are not far behind with pettes de souer.

                  Isn't this board a thing of wonder?

                  1. re: Leucadian

                    Pets de nonne! Nun's farts!

                    "Crottin", the name for a small round of cheese (usually goat cheese) means "turd".

                    Cuisse-dame, which actually means "lady's thigh". Calzone, which means "pants leg" in Italian.

                    In Turkey you can get a stuffed eggplant dish called imam bayildi -- "the priest fainted"

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      Calzone sounds a lot like underwear in Spanish

                      Cubans eat a dish called "moros y cristianos" - moors and christians - which is basically rice and beans

                      Chalupas are little row boats in Spanish

                  2. re: ClaireWalter

                    anytime anyone mentions huitlacoche, i am perversely compelled to post this <hilarious> link: http://www.thesneeze.com/mt-archives/...

                  3. Jackp just reminded me of shrimp pea wiggle and cobbler. To me, cobbler makes sense; it's a dessert that is sort of cobbled together. But if either a shrimp or a pea wiggles in a dish, I am not likely to consume it.

                    1. I have to submit pea wiggles here. I don't know if it's only in Maine, but there are tuna pea wiggles, salmon pea wiggles, even pea wiggles with hard boiled eggs. Main ingredients, a milk gravy, peas (canned) and whatever else, served on toast.

                      1. There is a cookie here in Quebec, a small, sugary cinnamon rolled cookie, very delicate, that is called pettes de soeur - translation (excuse me), nun's fart. I think the origin of the name, and possibly the cookie, is Acadian, but I am not sure.

                        1. They're in France, too. Some people call them nuns' sighs.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Glencora

                            i can't believe I am going to add this but, the word f@*t was never ever used by anyone in my family EVER.

                            My mother's parents were French transplants to peekskill ny.
                            When anyone had a gas problem it was referred to as "cookies"!
                            NOW it all makes sense!!

                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              i guess they didn't say "cut the cheese" either, chef c! ;-).

                          2. Add to the list of fun names:

                            Bubbles and squeak
                            Bangers and mash

                                1. re: jfood

                                  Even though I've seen it on pub menus, I had to look it up to be sure (that should tell you what I do in pubs instead of ordering food).... here's what Wiki says:


                                  Sounds pretty good, actually...

                                  1. re: adroit_minx

                                    The sausage one definitely sounds good- I initially thought of the egg version, myself. I didn't know the phrase described two completely different dishes.

                                    Here's two more, that seem to be thematically related:
                                    Ropa Vieja, which translates to 'old clothes', because the shreds of beef resemble tattered fabric.

                                    'Buss up shot', or 'busted up shirt', which is a large Trinidadian roti bread that has been whacked around a bit, or even cut up.

                                    1. re: TongoRad

                                      The Wikipidia entry is right for the UK. On the other hand, the US equivalent is "Pigs in a blanket".

                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                        but "toad in a hole" sounds so much more fun than "pigs in a blanket".... gotta give it to the brits to assign interesting names to things...

                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                          Where I grew up Pigs in a Blanket were those mini hot dogs wrapped in pastry.

                                          I'm with adroit_minx about having to order more food in pubs. Maybe I'll even get some "Kate and Sidney Pie"...

                                        2. re: TongoRad

                                          "roti bread that's been whacked around a bit...." sounds kinda kinky to me... :)

                                      2. re: jfood

                                        Toad in the hole is like sausages baked into an enormous Yorkshire pudding, and it's faboo!

                                        1. re: Kagey

                                          yeah, and have some Wow Wow sauce with it.

                                        2. re: jfood

                                          I've made this from a Jamie Oliver recipe. It's very good, like a giant yorkshire pudding with sausages. The key is to use very good quality sausages and only about half the oil the recipe actually calls for - otherwise it's a greasy mess.

                                          1. re: RiJaAr

                                            cut the bread, whatever with a star shaped cookie cutter= rockstar toad in the hole-- nice because the egg in the points gets kinda crispy while the center is still gooey. it's a punk-rocker thing.

                                        3. When Welsh rarebit is called Welsh rabbit, it's also up there w/ amusing food names -- esp since it has nothing whatsoever to do with Bugs or any other bunny.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: ClaireWalter

                                            The origin of Welsh rarebit is based in British snobbery - they always looked down on their poorer Welsh neighbors, and it was a slight to call it Welsh rarebit, or rabbit,implying that they were too poor to afford to eat meat.

                                            1. re: jillp

                                              And alouettes sans têtes -- headless larks!

                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                Whoa!!!! Just a minute, the eat larks? Like as in the singing bird type larks???

                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                  And kids like to sing songs about plucking their eyes and beaks out. . .remember Pepe le Pew singing "Alouette, gentil alouette"?

                                              2. re: jillp

                                                translation is cat's tongue, right? in italian, its ligue di gatti...they seem like plain cookies, but i betcha cant eat just one! lol

                                              3. Bubbles & Squeak.
                                                Chow Chow


                                                1. Goulash - Huh?
                                                  poo poo platter & Ant's climbing up a tree
                                                  Pork Butt - which is really shoulder - cracks me up everytime!

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                                    And pork pump, the Shanghainese speciality, which has nothing to do with any kind of offal but is actually a pork thigh.

                                                    Shoofly pie.

                                                    Yau ja gwai, the Cantonese name for the long "twin" fried breads that are eaten with congee, means "devil fried in oil".

                                                    1. re: chef chicklet

                                                      When I was a child, my father just loved going into a Chinese restaurant with the family and ordering pu pu platter -- needless to say, we kids loved it, too (which is I'm sure why he did it)

                                                      Interesting note: Some of my friends who grew up on the West Coast don't recall the pu pu platter from Chinese restaurants -- wonder if it was one of those East Coast Chinese restaurant things...

                                                      1. re: Neely_Ohara

                                                        I assumed it was from the Trader Vic's and Don the Beachcomber genre, to have with your mai tai's.

                                                        1. re: Sharuf

                                                          Huh. Never made that connection. Could be -- but it doesn't seem very common these days -- maybe it just went out of style...

                                                          1. re: Neely_Ohara

                                                            pu pu platter is hawaiian, not really chinese

                                                    2. turducken...

                                                      say it 5 times fast.

                                                      (also note that it contains the word "turd," which is funny in itself)

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: bourbongirl

                                                        I thought it was "turkducken" but I don't know so I defer....
                                                        Whichever way, it's a great name

                                                      2. What about the foods we are familiar with: wouldn't these be funny to someone who didn't grow up with them?

                                                        Hush puppies, lady fingers, grits, devil's food cake, dumpling, drumstick.

                                                        But my personal favorite is an unfortunate choice of a loan word, poppycock, which comes from Dutch meaning 'soft dung'. (Mine was a mis-spent youth, poring over the OED.)

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Leucadian

                                                          Grits is actually the same word as grist (ground grain) through the linguistic phenomenon of metathesis---reversal of letters to form a cognate word, as in curl/ cruller or grass/ gorse.

                                                          1. re: Leucadian

                                                            "poppycock" is derived from dutch for "soft dung"? my dad loved the stuff. had he known, he probably would've stopped eating it! ;-). http://www.conagrafoods.com/consumer/...

                                                          2. Mike eats the "pope's nose" off the hind end of the turkey.

                                                            One of my favorite is puttanesca.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                              I was just about to say puttanesca. . .I didn't know what I meant until it was discussed in some Stephen King novel.

                                                              1. re: Covert Ops

                                                                It's also mentioned in one of the Lemony Snicket books.

                                                                1. re: bourbongirl

                                                                  I remembered that, and thought it was a cheeky thing to sneak into a kids book. LS didn't go so far as to explain what it meant though. . .;-)

                                                              2. re: revsharkie

                                                                A couple of Filipino foods have names that have bad meanings in Spanish, which is of course ironic because of the Spanish influence on culture and language there. The one that comes to mind is their "puto" bread: "whore" (a common and very bad insult) in Spanish. The other slips my mind right now, but it's similar.

                                                                1. re: maestra

                                                                  "Puto" is closer to meaning "macho" than "puta" or "whore" in Spanish. Kalako galing sa Tagalog ang salita "puto," parang sa "putong...". Kahit ano.

                                                              3. Fattigman. A fried dough dish from Norway. The Norwegians of my acquaintance (and no, I don't speak the language, so I can't tell you if it's a proper pronunciation) pronounced it "Fatty Man."

                                                                Nuff said. Mmmm. Donuts.

                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: cayjohan

                                                                  My Norwegian grandmother used to make these for Christmas (I've only made them once and will NEVER do so again! LOL) The pronunciation she used was more like "Fattih-Mahn". Either way you pronounce it - very good, but a real PITA to make. :-)

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    And fattig ridder are poor knights or French toast!

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      Lind, you don't know any Norwegian food in the Boston area do you?

                                                                  2. Boba, which are these little starch balls placed in drinks, which I found out it's slang in Taiwan for breasts. It gives a funny twist to the "Do you want boba with that?" question.

                                                                    1. Pho (a Vietnamese noodle soup) is pronounced more like "fuh," which has led to some good restaurant names: "What the Pho?" "Pho King" etc. etc.

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                        Can't get this out of my head now! Funny, still.

                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                            (inhaling now)..... HAHAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAHAAAHAA!!! thank you. i almost passed out from lack of oxygen.

                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                              hahaha...the funniest thing I have heard ( read ) recently!!!!

                                                                              1. re: tuxedo

                                                                                "Pho oui" said the Vietnamese to the Frenchman

                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                  Sam, you are just so funny - I was actually laughing out loud at my desk on this one!!!

                                                                          2. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                            OMG, yes, Peals of audible laughter. Thank you.

                                                                          3. I've been dreaming about opening a combined pool hall/noodle joint and calling it Pho Q !

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Piglet

                                                                              oooo, i'm dying again.... (refer to bugs bunny/penguin cartoon, but i'm laughing to death.) can i get you and SamFujisaka to entertain at my next party? I promise to serve noodle soup... (thanks for the laugh, seriously.)

                                                                              1. re: adroit_minx

                                                                                where is "pho shizzle"-- one of my fave chowhound names, and haven't seen in a while.
                                                                                pho shizzle should be weighing in on this!

                                                                            2. in italy, one christmas, i ate "stinki" (sp?) which are part of the pig, i think, i cant remember exactly...but it was delicious. no one could understand why i was chuckling to myself.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: icey

                                                                                stinko = shank, they can be from many different animals.

                                                                              2. Beignets are called "Bolas de Fraile" (monk's balls) in many parts of Latin America.

                                                                                1. I just like saying "chawan mushi" and "babba ganoush".

                                                                                  Korean-style chicken gizzards (daak ddong jib) translates to "chicken poo house"

                                                                                  1. A very thin pasta called Fazzolettoa which means handkerchief.

                                                                                    A deep fried rice ball filled with and cheese called Suppli Al Telephono for the strings of hot mozzarella that hang down like telephone chords after you take you take a bite.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: missclaudy

                                                                                      us brits have Faggots too (which are sausage shaped things made of brains - honest).

                                                                                      remember a canned soda called Pshittt or something like that?

                                                                                      It's bubble and squeak - mashed potatoes and cabbage.

                                                                                      1. re: missclaudy

                                                                                        oh and garibaldi biscuits (cookies) always known as squashed fly biscuits by everyone - they are squashed raisin filled and do resemble squashed flies.

                                                                                      2. Orange roughy. Sounds like a scrubbing pad

                                                                                        1. pock-marked old lady tofu, aka Ma PO Tofu, is funny as hell to me!

                                                                                          1. Does anybody else call giant clam (aka 'geoduck') "chimpogai"?

                                                                                            1. Not a food name, necessarily, but I nearly lost it when my newly-transplanted neighbor from Australia told me that in order to hold a pavlova, I should "whack it in the 'fridge."

                                                                                              My mom won't eat slaw because it sounds nasty.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: mamaciita

                                                                                                same terminology in the UK, whack it in the fridge just means to put it in in the fridge. We also say throw it so I might tell the check out guy to throw my groceries in a bag or whack them in a bag.

                                                                                              2. kumquats or cumquats! - Can't believe nobody has mentioned that. I was a teenager in New Orleans when I saw my first one and thought it was hilarious.

                                                                                                1. What about a "Chip Butty" -- basically a french fry sandwich.

                                                                                                  1. There is a Turkish dish called "karniyarik", which means "dissected stomach".
                                                                                                    Despite the bloody name it`s just a simple dish of stuffed eggplants.

                                                                                                    1. What's the Italian fish (milleboca?) that means "a thousand in the mouth," because they are so small? Chitlins/chitterlings is allegedly a corruption of shittlings. In Greece they have in the sea something called "turds of the sea." They may be sea cucumbers--not sure, and I haven't heard of anyone eating them (sound scrumptious though). Lets see... we also call cotton candy "ta malia tis grias"--old ladies hair.

                                                                                                      1. "rocky mountain oysters." a/k/a: "prairie oysters, Montana tendergroins, cowboy caviar, swinging beef, and calf fries ." http://whatscookingamerica.net/Histor...

                                                                                                        you might not want to serve them at the same time as "bangers." http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-bang...

                                                                                                        there's also:
                                                                                                        hoppin' john
                                                                                                        shoofly pie
                                                                                                        swamp cabbage
                                                                                                        po' boy sandwich
                                                                                                        frogmore stew
                                                                                                        whoopie pie
                                                                                                        election cake
                                                                                                        peacemaker sandwich

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. Mulligitawny (sounds like a condition one might be ashamed of)

                                                                                                              1. has anyone mentioned blueberry grunt ?

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                  There's a related dessert called a slump.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                    hey passa, there's simply no need to make an a$$ of this thread! ;-).

                                                                                                                  2. "Cosmic Muffin" as a name sounds funny to me and has been variously used...

                                                                                                                    --SPECIAL BONUS-- Cosmic Cottage Dill Muffins...