Aburage: aah-boo-rhah-gay (Japanese)
Slightly seasoned fried tofu pouches used for making inari/football sushi, or My Daddy's Aburage Thing-ey. Available at most Asian grocery stores, and some Safeways. Commonly spelled as abura age and aburaage.
Adobo: ah-doe-boh (Filipino and Spanish) NOTE: 'doe' and 'boh' rhyme with slow
1. Filipino seasoning made with garlic, vinegar, shoyu, black pepper and bay leaves and used for among other things, Chicken Adobo or Pork Adobo Fried Rice. 2. Spanish style red sauce that usually includes paprika and chipotle peppers. Usually found in the "global foods" aisles within the Mexican food.
Baba Ghanouj: bah-bah-gah-new-zh (Arabic)
A simple, heavenly roasted eggplant dip made with lemon, tahini, garlic and a few spices. Commonly spelled as baba ganoush and baba ghanoush. Tahini is available at Safeway and specialty Mediterranean grocery stores.
Carnitas: car-knee-tahz (Mexican Spanish)
Literally translates to little meat. Braised slow-cooked spiced pork, which is then finished by frying just to crisp. Similar to kalua pig, but spiced differently.
Char Siu: char-shoe, also cha-shoe (Chinese)
Chinese-style BBQ pork. Five-spice powder, shoyu, brown sugar and a bit of hoisin are the bulk of the flavor profile.
Dashi: dah-she (Japanese)
NOTE: 'she' rhymes with 'bee'.
Starter stock for a lot of Japanese cooking. Made from scratch, it usually includes kombu and some form of katsuobushi.
Dashi-no-moto: dah-she-no-moh-toe (Japanese) NOTE: 'she' rhymes with 'bee'.
Very handy shortcut powder stock. Just add water to make dashi (see above). PSA: includes MSG.
Edamame: eh-dah-mah-meh (Japanese)
Green soybeans, often eaten steamed in their pods and salted.
Furikake: foo-rhee-cah-keh (Japanese) NOTE: Say 'cah' like what one pahks in Hahvahd yahd, and 'keh' like Kennedy.
Rice seasoning in a variety of flavors such as ume (plum), shake (salmon), tamago (egg), and nori (nori). Adds mostly salty flavors and texture to rice. Similar in spirit to Za'atar. Available at most grocery stores and Asian markets
Gyoza: ghyoh-zah (Japanese) NOTE: "ghyoh" rhymes with slow.
The Japanese word for wonton. Similar to potstickers (and sometimes used interchangeably), wonton, mandoo, even piroshki. Meat or vegetables dumplings.
Holoholo: ho-low ho-low (Hawaiian)
To go out and about, travel, visiting, or doing something fun.
Imu: ee-moo (Hawaiian)
An underground oven that is used to slow cook meat. Traditional way to cook kalua pig.
Inari Sushi: ee-nah-rhee sue-she (Japanese) NOTE: 'sue' rhymes with blue or flu, and 'she' rhymes with bee.
Usually a homemade sushi where the seasoned rice is stuffed into a flavored aburage. AKA football sushi because, well, it looks like an American football.
Kal-bi: caul-bee (Korean)
Amazingly delicious marinated, grilled short ribs
Kalua Pig: cah-lou-aah pig (Hawaiian Pidgin English)
Slow-cooked pork butt, originally cooked in an imu, an underground oven. Kalua is the Hawaiian word to do exactly that, cook in an underground oven. I make mine in a crock pot because an imu is not feasible in a townhouse. Kalua pig has nothing to do with Kahlua, the coffee liqueur begun in Mexico, except that it has the same pronunciation.
Katsu: cot-sue (Japanese) NOTE: 'cot' rhymes with hot, and 'sue' rhymes with blue or flu.
Informal term for any crispy, panko-coated fried meat cutlet. Could be beef, pork, chicken, or sometimes seafood.
Katsuobushi: cot-sue-oh-boo-she (Japanese) NOTE: 'cot' rhymes with hot, and 'sue' rhymes with blue or flu.
Dried, salted bonito flakes. Literally looks like wood shavings, but oh-so-good. Available at Asian markets.
Kimchi: kim-chee (Korean)
Spicy pickled cabbage. Three humble words simply to not do this justice. It's onolicious.
Kochujang: koh-chew-jahng (Korean) NOTE: 'koh' rhymes with slow, and 'jahng' rhymes with the first part of Congo.
More commonly spelled as gochujang. A red, spicy, and slightly sweet Korean paste made from fermented soybeans, red chili peppers, and sticky rice. A similar texture and form factor in the stores to Japanese miso, but very different flavor. Great starting point flavor for Korean fried chicken or as a sauce for meat or fish jun, or vegetables.
Kombu: comb-boo (Japanese)
Also spelled as konbu. Dried kelp. Looks a little like shoe leather. Available in Asian markets. If you make dashi from scratch, kombu is an essential ingredient.
Lilikoi: lily-coy (Hawaiian)
Ma po tofu: mah-poe-toe-foo (Chinese)
Tofu and ground pork (in our house) stir fried in a spicy sauce.
Manapua: mah-nah-poo-aah (Hawaiian Pidgin English)
What people in Hawaii call chari siu bao. In Hawaii, the Manapua Man generically refers to a food truck, way before it was a thing, that sells snacks, and you guessed it, Manapua.
Maze gohan: mah-zay go-hahn (Japanese)
Translates to 'mixed rice'. Cooked rice that has other things, edamame, shredded carrots, bits of salmon mixed into it. Edamame rice is a kind of maze gohan
Musubi: moo-sue-bee (Japanese)
Typically rounded triangle balls of rice. Can be dressed up with nori, pickles, bits of meat. AKA o-nigiri. (see below).
Namasu: nah-mah-sue (Japanese)
Pickled vegetables, usually cucumber or daikon and carrots. FMO namasu is my go-to.
Ohana: oh-hah-nah (Hawaiian)
Friends and family that are dear to your heart, that you can depend on, and that can depend on. you. Your tribe, and usually much broader than your literal family.
O-nigiri: oh-knee-ghee-rhee (Japanese) NOTE: 'knee', 'ghee', and 'rhee' all rhyme with me and see.
A rounded triangle ball of rice. AKA musubi (see above)
Ono: oh-no (Hawaiian)
Onolicious: oh-no-lish-ess (Hawaiian Pidgin English)
Extending ono even further. Super-delicious.
Panko: pahn-coe (Japanese) NOTE: 'coe' rhymes with slow.
Japanese breadcrumbs. If you do nothing else, email Food Network and all the other celebrity chefs and tell them it's
pahn-coe (rhymes with Hahn, John, Khan, and Vaughn) and not pan-coe (rhymes with man or tan).
Pau: pow (Hawaiian) NOTE: 'pow' rhymes with cow.
To be finished with something. This is one of the first words my kids learned. I'm pau means I'm done
Poi: poy (Hawaiian)
Staple made from mashed cooked taro root, to a thick liquid/paste. While my children and some friends liken it to wallpaper paste, nothing beats fresh poi. For the best poi experience, recommend Hanalei Poi from Kauai.
Sabih: suh-bee (Hebrew)
An Israeli sandwich centered around fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers and hot sauces on a pita.
Shoyu: show-you (Hawaiian Pidgin English
Soy sauce. Japanese language refers to this as o-shoyu. (oh-show-you)
Spam: spam (American English)
A staple for Hawaii food, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Thank you Hormel.
Speculaaskruiden: speck-you-loss-croy-den (Dutch)
A baking spice similar in spirit to pumpkin pie spice, but spicier and more complex. Fan-freaking-tastic for fall baking.
Tofu: toe-foo (Asian/Japanese)
I didn't know to translate tofu, so I looked it up. It's soybean curd, and was invented in China. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tofu
Tonkatsu: toe-n kahtz-sue (Japanese) NOTE: 'sue' rhymes with blue or flu.
Katsu specifically with pork. Other forms are specifically called chicken katsu and fish katsu.
Tsukemono: tsoo-keh-moh-no (Japanese)
General word for Japanese pickles. Sometimes colloquially referred to as koh-koh
Wonton: one-ton (Chinese)
A dumpling, usually filled with ground pork, chicken or vegetables. Can be steamed, fried, or added to soup/noodles.
Ukupile: ooh-coo-pile (Hawaiian Pidgin English) NOTE: 'pile' rhymes with mile and dial.
A ton of something, for example, ukupile (of) mangoes is so many mangoes that you don't know what to do with them.
Za'atar: zah-tahr (Arabic)
A middle eastern spice mix that usually has marjoram, oregano, thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and I'm sure other spices. I think of it as Israeli furikake. Sprinkling it over almost anything makes it taste better, even a musubi!