• Sriracha, Poke and Gyros top the list of food items Brits can’t pronounce
  • One in ten UK adults actually refuse to try new food and drink items when abroad due to being unable to pronounce them
  • Veganism, being a fussy eater, and fears around trying new things were also cited as reasons for not sampling new dishes
  • Brits on Holiday over tip by additional £19.5Million a year due to embarrassment over mispronunciation
  • Further information can be found here, and graphics are available upon request

Despite Brits reportedly taking an average of 1.9 holidays outside of the UK in 2019, it seems many UK holiday makers are allowing their fear of mispronouncing words and phrases when abroad limit their experiences, according to new research.

The study from cruise agent, Bolsover Cruise Club, surveyed 1,000 UK adults and found that one in ten UK adults actually refuse to try new food and drink items when abroad due to being unable to pronounce them correctly.

Top 10 Food/Drinks that Brits Actually Struggle to Pronounce

Name of Food/Drink % who answered incorrectly Correct Pronunciations
Sriracha 96.7% See-rotch-ah
Poke 95.2% Poh-kay
Gyros 93.0% Yee-ros
Viennoiserie 92.7% Vyen-wahz-ree
Pho 85.7% Fuh
Paczki 85.7% Pownch-key
Poutine 85.4% Poo-teen
Raclette 71.9% Ra-klet
Edamame 69.6% Ehd-ah-mah-mee
Caipirinha 66.7% Kai-puh-ree-nyuh

food and drink people struggle to pronounce

In fact, just a fifth of Brits are willing to branch out and try new things every time they dine out abroad.

Other reasons given for avoiding ordering certain dishes, included following vegan or vegetarian diets (15%), admittedly being a fussy eater (15%) and being reluctant to try new things (13.3%).

Embarrassment, it seems, comes with a rather hefty price tag, as 15% of Brits admitted they will actually tip higher when abroad as a way of apologising for the language barrier, meaning an additional £19.5Million paid out per year on average in tips alone.

When tested on their ability to correctly pronounce specific food and drink related terms, when it came to some of the produce we’re likely to regularly come across in the supermarket, there was still plenty of room for error.

Less than half (45.5%) of those who believed they could correctly pronounce espresso succeeded in doing so, incorrectly replacing the “s” sound with an “x” (ex-spreh-soh).

Despite being homed within the UK, just 36.6% of Brits can identify the correct pronunciation of Worcestershire (sauce).

Although just over 10% of Brits stated they were confident in their pronunciation of the polish sweet treat, Paczki, almost 15% actually picked out the correct way to do so.

Similarly, more than a fifth shared they would happily rightly identify the pronunciation of Vietnamese dish, Pho, on the other hand, yet less than 15% actually were able to when tested

Just 7% of those surveyed could spot the correct way to pronounce the Greek delicacy, Gyros, compared to the 30% who believed they could do so when initially asked.

Michael Wilson, Managing Director at Bolsover Cruise Club, commented on the findings:

Whilst language barriers can understandably be a daunting factor for many holidaymakers, they certainly shouldn’t stop us from branching out and trying new things, especially when it comes to food and drink. Cruises are a great option for those of us who want the opportunity to try something a little different, in part because there is a plethora of choice when it comes to dining on board, as well as the opportunity to visit a whole host of destinations within a single trip.  Of course, we would encourage everyone to step outside of their comfort zone when on holiday, to give a new language a try, even if it’s just a handful of phrases, and to fully immerse themselves in the culture – you won’t regret it!