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    The World’s Most Confusing Foods Revealed In New Study

    The World’s Most Confusing Foods Revealed In New Study

    A new study has revealed the world’s most confusing dishes – with kimchi (Korea), falafel (Egypt), pho (Vietnam), and even the United States’ signature sandwich filling, peanut butter and jelly, ranking among the foods which are confusing people most.

    Remitly, a leading digital financial services provider for immigrants and their families, has conducted a new study which reveals the international cuisines which cause the most confusion among travelers.

    To find the cuisines that cause the most confusion around the world, researchers at Remitly compiled a list of over 2,700 dishes from over 165 countries around the world. These dishes were combined with search terms like “what is” and “how to pronounce” and then analysed to see which dishes were searched for most regularly over the previous year — and therefore deemed the most confusing.

    The World’s Top 25 Most Confusing Cuisines

    Kimchi tops the list of most confusing cuisines, with almost one million (946,090) annual searches for the traditional Korean banchan (side dish), which is made up of salted and fermented vegetables — commonly Korean radish or cabbage. The tangy cuisine can be used to elevate everything from salads and meat dishes to soups and stews – and while kimchi originated in Korea, it can now be found in supermarkets all over the world.

    Ranking as the second most confusing cuisine is falafel, which is thought to originate in Egyptian cuisine, where it is commonly made with fava beans. The deep-fried balls (or fritters) are extremely popular with vegetarian diners and feature heavily in Middle Eastern cuisine. Falafel is commonly made from fava beans, broad beans, ground chickpeas – or a combination of all three.

    The Greek speciality of gyros ranks in third place with over 660,000 annual searches for the cuisine. Gyros is a hugely popular dish which is made up of meat (often chicken) cooked on a vertical rotisserie which is sliced and wrapped in pita bread along with salad, french fries and tzatziki. Also ranking in the top ten most confusing dishes is shawarma, a dish which originated in Turkey and shares many similarities with gyros, including ingredients and cooking preparation method, differing only in its spicier and more complex flavor.

    Other foods which feature in the top ten most confusing dishes include gelato and gnocchi, both originating from Italy, and the hugely popular Vietnamese cuisine of pho, while Asian cuisines including chai, fufu and sushi rank in the top twenty, each with over 280,000 annual searches.

    There’s even space in the top 25 for the signature sandwich filling of the USA, peanut butter and jelly, clearly a flavor combination that causes plenty of confusion around the world.

    Rank

    Dish Name

    Country

    Annual Global Search Volume

    1

    Kimchi

    Korea

    946,090

    2

    Falafel

    Egypt

    752,850

    3

    Gyros

    Greece

    662,700

    4

    Couscous

    Morocco

    595,640

    5

    Tahini

    Syria

    570,830

    6

    Gnocchi

    Italy

    532,200

    7

    Gelato

    Italy

    510,700

    8

    Pho

    Vietnam

    491,700

    9

    Carnitas

    Mexico

    437,510

    10

    Shawarma

    Turkey

    387,410

    11

    Peanut butter and jelly

    United States

    385,200

    12

    Risotto

    Italy

    378,840

    13

    Haggis

    Scotland

    377,720

    14

    Hummus

    Israel

    354,520

    15

    Chai

    India

    337,470

    16

    Kava

    The Pacific Islands

    320,870

    17

    Fufu

    Ghana

    303,600

    18

    Sushi

    Japan

    283,720

    19

    Foie Gras

    France

    269,080

    20

    Soju

    South Korea

    266,720

    21

    Horchata

    Mexico

    259,950

    22

    Sauerkraut

    Germany

    251,340

    23

    Ceviche

    Peru

    238,510

    24

    Miso Soup

    Japan

    238,000

    25

    Natto

    Japan

    223,570

    The World’s Top 10 Most Difficult To Pronounce Cuisines

    As well as the most confusing cuisines, the study also revealed the cuisines which are hardest to pronounce, by analyzing the number of searches for each cuisine and the term “how to pronounce.”

    The Greek dish of gyros topped the list of foods most difficult to pronounce, with almost 350,000 people searching for help on the correct pronunciation of the cuisine over the previous year. The dish is pronounced “yi · ros” and is often anglicized as a “gyro” — so practice is essential to avoid a restaurant faux pas.

    Pho (pronounced “fuh” and not “foe”) ranked as the second most difficult to pronounce cuisine, while gnocchi (pronounced “no · kee”) rounded off the top three dishes people find hard to say.

    Also featuring in the top ten list is Hawaii’s popular poke bowl (“poe · kay bowl”), China’s gyoza (“gee · oh · zuh”) and Turkey’s baklava (“ba · kluh · vuh”).

    Rank

    Dish Name

    Correct Pronunciation

    Country

    Annual Global Search Volume

    1

    Gyros

    Yi · ros

    Greece

    346,500

    2

    Pho

    Fuh

    Vietnam

    150,600

    3

    Gnocchi

    No · kee

    Italy

    123,200

    4

    Pizza

    Peet · suh

    Italy

    53,800

    5

    Quesadilla

    Kay · suh · dee · uh

    Mexico

    40,200

    6

    Focaccia

    Fuh · kach · ee · uh

    Italy

    33,300

    7

    Poke Bowl

    Pow · kay bowl

    United States (Hawaii)

    32,500

    8

    Tzatziki

    Sat · see · kee

    Greece

    27,000

    9

    Gyoza

    Gee · ow · zuh

    China

    26,800

    10

    Baklava

    Ba · kluh · vuh

    Turkey

    24,120

    Jago McKenzie, Business Management Director at Remitly, commented:

    “We know that sampling a country’s most popular and traditional dishes can be one of the best parts about visiting or moving to a new country, and a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of a new place. However, these specialties – although much loved amongst locals – can sometimes be hard to pronounce or made of ingredients you are not familiar with.

    “It’s been really interesting to dive into the search data to reveal the cuisines which people are most curious about – along with those which people find most difficult to pronounce. Search engines are great for a quick search while visiting a shop or scanning a restaurant menu, but if in doubt it’s always best to chat to your waiter or restaurant staff – they’ll likely be local and can share information about the different local dishes, the history of the cuisine and what ingredients feature in the dish.”

    For further information and to see the full list of the world’s most confusing cuisines, please click HERE.

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