Unfortunate foreign food names or brands
- grocerytrekker Dec 29, 2006 10:19 PM
I remember trying Calpis drink from a Japanese vending machine, and saying to myself, "this will never translate well in America". You can also get "Hot Calpis".
Do you know any non-English food names that sound awful in English, or vice versa?
I was a linguist once. Very interested in this subject in this global age.
Bubble and Squeak
Love in Disguise
I think the English kinda prefer food names that are naughty. Spotted Pudding, is called "Spotted Dick" for the very same reason Mr. Barsted's Machinist File is called by another name.
The Hienz Spotted Dick in a can is simply dreadful. It tastes like Twinkie with currants, and no cream filling. Spotted Dick is simply a Suet based pie crust, with some currants, odd bits of dried fruit and boiled or steamed. Like anything made with Beef Suet, is absolutely brilliant. In Scotland practically the same thing is called "Clootey Dumpling" , named after the clout or cloth it is wrapped in.
When I was a 16 year old going to Hungary as an exchange student, I remember trying to explain the concept of Oreo cookies to my 12-year-old host sister, who had only a rudimentary command of spoken English. I must have used the word "cookie" about a dozen times, and she kept giggling. I though she was just nervous.
It turns out that "kuki" in Hungarian - pronounced the same as "cookie" - is slang for penis.
When I taught English in Japan, the topic of peanut butter would always eventually come up. To start, it's an odd food concept for Japanese (actually, most of the world, I guess), but it's also a tough lesson in pronunciation, as my students usually came out with "penis butter."
There have been some controversial candy names and packages in Finland. The names have been recently changed, but they were in existence for tens of years.
Of course, they were sold in the K supermarket chain:
The number of K's in the store's designation indicates it's size, with 1 K being a convenience store and 4 K being a large supermarket. There are a fair number of KKK stores in existence.
Also, in Finland "pussi" means "bag", so it's common to see big bags of chips for sale with the designation of "megapussi" - huge bag.
Finally, some funny food name pics (fart drink is even included):
But hey!, let's face it, food manufacturers are a lot more cultured types, linguistically speaking, than car manufacturers. I'm still laughing about the Mitsubishi PAJERO...
"Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors has a sport utility named Mitsubishi Pajero. The original intention was to call the car after a South American wildcat, but the company's failure to check other uses of the word caused many chuckles. In the Americas and in Spain, the vehicle was rebadged as the Montero. (It has since been replaced in North America by the Mitsubishi Endeavor.)"
In the wikipedia link above:
Paja directly translates to English as "straw", used in farms for cattle and other animals to lie on. In South America and Panama hacerse la paja (correrse la paja, in Chile and Peru) means to masturbate. In most parts of Central America to masturbate is to pajearse. In South America and Spain is more often used as hacerse una paja. Pajero, or Pajillero in Spain, is a masturbator (wanker) and also can imply a weakling or a fool, due to cultural beliefs that masturbation created mental weakness. In certain countries, such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, Pajero (fem. Pajera) can also mean lazy person, and in Guatemala it means liar, "Vos sos bien pajero = you're such a liar". In Venezuela and El Salvador, hablar paja can mean either to talk nonsense "tú solo hablas paja = you're just talking nonsense" or small talk "estuve hablando paja con un amigo = I was talking small talk with a friend".