Cover Foie gras, the liver of ducks or geese fattened by gavage (Photo: iStock)

Even seasoned epicures fumble with the names of these foods

Good news for native English speakers who are trying to master the French language: both English and French share some 10,000 words in common, especially with regards to food. Even so, many bungle the following foods' pronunciations. Read on to brush up on your food terminology.

See also: Where To Find The Best French Toast In Hong Kong

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Foie Gras

What it is

The fatty livers of male ducks or geese that have gone through gavage (force feeding).

How to pronounce

FWA-GRA (silent 's')

Tatler Tip

Whether lightly seared or churned into a pâté, foie gras is served at most French restaurants in Hong Kong

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What it is

A small game bird that is mostly bound to the ground, although they are able to glide when taken by fright.

How to pronounce


Famous renditions

Red grouse is a speciality at Rules, London's oldest restaurant. At this two-century-old establishment where game meat reigns supreme, orders are written down on small slips of paper, which are stuffed into shotgun cartridges and launched down a copper pipe to the kitchen.

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What it is

A chef for the likes of Napoleon and George IV, Marie-Antoine Carême is credited with creating the modern version of this dessert. Meaning 'a thousand sheets', mille-feuille is not only recognisable by its layers, but also by its 'combed' icing pattern, although powdered sugar also makes for a popular topping.

How to pronounce


Tatler Tip

The mille-feuille at Bien Caramélisé in Prince Edward is well-loved by Hong Kong's sweet tooths.

See also: Asia’s Best Pastry Chef of 2020, Natsuko Shoji Has Bigger Plans For The Future

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What it is

This light-as-air dessert only billows under precise conditions, which includes beating pure egg whites until they reach stiff peaks, combining the egg whites with the yolks in three stages, and maintaining a steady oven temperature—not an easy project for amateur bakers, that's for sure.

How to pronounce


Famous Renditions

From the Grand Marnier Soufflé at La Grenouille (1962) to Pierre Kouffmann's Pistachio Soufflé at La Tante Claire, soufflés have enjoyed celebrity status at some of the world's best fine dining restaurants.

Read also: The Top 20 Restaurants In Hong Kong In 2020

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Tarte Tatin

What it is

Many a kitchen accident has led to happy results, which was certainly the case with this French-style apple pie. Instead of placing sliced apples into her prepared pie dough, French hotelier Caroline Tatin carried out the steps in reverse, but decided to take a leap of faith anyway. The result? A glorious golden apple pie that became a hit at Caroline and her sister Stéphanie's hotel in the Loire Valley. 

How to pronounce

TART-TA-TA (silent 'n')

Related: Where To Find The Best Bakeries In Hong Kong For Your Bread And Pastry Fix

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What it is

While cold soup might be deemed unappetising in most of Asia, this potato-based soup with leeks represented the height of luxury at The Ritz-Carlton New York in the early 1900s. 

How to pronounce


Fun Fact

A brigade of chefs tried to change the soup's name to Crème Gauloise following the controversial events of World War II in Vichy, but to no avail.

See also: How Hong Kong's Vegetables And Char Siu Inspire Bakehouse's Gregoire Michaud

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What it is

Another invention by Marie-Antoine Carême (see 'mille-feuille' above), the vol-au-vent serves as a versatile case for savoury hors d'oeuvres, although it can also be blown up and served as a main.

How to pronounce

VOL-OH-VON (silent 't')

Fun fact

Vols-au-vent are also known as "pasteitje" in the Netherlands and "patties" in Pakistan.