10 Most Misleading Food Names

French Fries

A food’s name plays a huge role in describing the foods and making people salivate just from hearing its name alone, usually. Not every food in this world holds an accurate representation of the food itself. Some foods, unfortunately, have confusing and misleading names that make people think that they’re eating something entirely different. There are even some food names that are so misleading that some people become hesitant to eat them. Without further ado, here is a list of 10 most misleading food names.

1. Puto

For Spanish speakers out there calling someone a puto is an offensive thing to do. Puto in Spanish is a curse word that means…let’s just not mention it. Let’s just say it’s an insulting way to call someone, specifically for males, in Spanish speaking countries. So needless to say that the majority of people are surprised that in the Philippines, it’s actually a round, fluffy, and delicious dessert that is also used as an accompaniment for several Filipino dishes such as dinuguan. That’s right! Puto or steamed rice cake is a traditional Filipino food that is made up of slightly fermented rice with a variety of different flavors depending on the recipe.

This Filipino rice cake’s taste and look are definitely the opposite of its Spanish translation. Check out these recipes for Cheese Puto and Lech Puto for you to try and make your own puto.

2. Pancit Bato

Pancit Bato is a Filipino dish that when translated to English means stone or rock noodles. Knowing that translation, some people will think that stones and rocks are eaten with noodles, thankfully that’s not the case with Pancit Bato. Pancit Bato originated in Bicol in a municipality called Bato, Camarines Sur. So yes, it’s not made up of stones or rocks but the noodles are named after its municipality of origin. The municipality of Bato has its very unique recipe of creating dried noodles used in their pancit that brings its unique taste to the dish. The noodle dish is traditionally cooked with fresh shrimp and pechay (Chinese cabbage), creating a deliciously rich and salty flavor that will always remind you of Bato Municipality and the Bicol region. Don’t go and start eating rocks, okay?

See also: Top 10 Bicolano Foods That You Must Try

3. Eggplant

For people who’ve never seen an eggplant before, they might think that it’s a plant that sprouts eggs just based on its name. And for people who have seen it before they don’t even know that eggplant isn’t a vegetable. Yes! Eggplant is a fruit and it’s actually classified as a berry because it produces small and edible seeds. The assumption that its a vegetable that the majority of people has stems (get it?) from the word plant in the eggplant’s name and the fact that it’s usually always prepared as a vegetable doesn’t help with the confusion surrounding its name.

The eggplant as a name itself was given by Europeans in the 18th century because back then, their eggplant was white or yellow in color that it resembles a goose egg. Today, the eggplant is enjoyed throughout the world, including in the Philippines. Check out this Tortang Talong (Eggplant Omelet) and Crispy Eggplant recipes.

See also: 15+ Surprising Health Benefits of Eggplant



4. Hotdog

Ah, the world-famous hotdog. It may not be the healthiest of treats but it sure is delicious. It’s a favorite food all around the world and its name has absolutely nothing to do with the food itself. It’s certainly served hot but it’s not made out of a dog, which is a surprisingly common misconception. It’s actually made out of meat trimmings, fat, and water with additional ingredients for flavor all pour into a casing to give it its shape. 

But how exactly does the delicious sausage got its name? Well, there’s no definitive answer on where the delicious sausage got its name as we know it today but some claims that in 1901, vendors during a football or baseball game were shouting “They’re red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” This inspired cartoonist Tad Dorgan, who witnessed these shouting vendors, to draw a cartoon of a barking dachshund sausage nestled warmly in rolls. And since he doesn’t know how to spell “dachshund” he simply coined his illustrations “hot dog.” His cartoon became a sensation which popularized the term hotdog. Some historians dispute these claims, but the name hotdog is here to stay.

Filipinos are especially fans of this delicious sausages and even created their version of red hotdogs. Here are some recipes featuring the favorite hotdog: Hotdog Rolls and Tortilla Hotdog Wraps.

5. Chicken Fingers

Chicken doesn’t even have fingers! The dish we commonly know as chicken fingers are actually made of chicken breast, specifically the meat strips located under the chicken breast besides the breast bones. Fortunately, they’re also called chicken strips and chicken tenders by some but they’re more known as chicken fingers.

So where does the name chicken fingers came from when chickens don’t even have fingers? Well, chicken fingers originated in the USA and the invention of its name is due to a stroke of marketing genius that enticed people to buy the cut of meat leftover from chicken breast. The marketers promoted the finger-size, boneless chicken strips as finger food made for the convenience of Americans. Since it’s both finger-sized and finger food, they called it chicken fingers! 

Now chicken fingers might be an American dish but it doesn’t stop Filipinos from creating their versions of chicken fingers. Check out this Filipino recipe of Chicken Fingers.

6. Buffalo Wings

Another American dish with a nonexistent anatomical name. For people who never heard of Buffalo wings before, it may lead to some confusion. Fortunately, this surprising and misleading name is easy to explain. Buffalo Wings are made up of chicken wings served in hot sauce and the origin of this tasty recipe? Buffalo, New York.

Yup, Buffalo Wings was first served in a place called Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York owned by Frank and Teressa Bellisimo of which Teressa invented and served the first-ever Buffalo Wings. Now, Buffalo Wings is enjoyed all over the world, the Philippines even have their own Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings Recipe

See also: Chicken Recipes



7. French Fries

Another world-famous food with a misleading name. People would conclude from its name alone that French fried came from French and is a major part of French cuisine. But that’s not the case. This famous finger food is made up of fried potatoes made into strips and flavored. Seems easy enough but it’s not really French. French fries actually came from Belgium. 

Unfortunately, the American army takes the blame for this one. During World War 1, American soldiers were introduced to the delicious fried potatoes by Belgian soldiers. Since French was the Belgian army’s official language, the Americans gave the delicious food the name French fries and the name stuck and is now known all over the world as such.

The French fry is beloved finger food in the Philippines and some Filipinos consume it almost daily. Check out this Filipino recipe of Fish and Chips featuring the beloved French fries.

8. Corned Beef

When I was a kid, I always wondered where the corns were on my corned beef. Well, apparently, corned beef has nothing to do with corns at all. The term corned is a treatment the beef undergoes where it’s covered with large rock-salt kernels also called corns of salt first done in Ireland. This is how the name corned beef was coined. Today, corned beef is part of cuisines all over the world. Check out this Cheesy Corned Beef Omelet Recipe and Sinabawang Corned Beef Recipe

9. Horseradish

This root vegetable has nothing to do with horses at all. It is said that horseradishes are native to Southeastern Europe and the German name for it is meerrettich that means sea radish because it was grown by the sea. However, the English came and mispronounced the German word as mareradish and over the years changed it into horseradish because of the root vegetable’s size and harsh appearance. So, yeah, a mistranslation and mispronounced word lead to the root vegetable having an undeserving name. That doesn’t stop Filipinos from enjoying horseradishes though. Check out this Pan-fried Salmon with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and Charred Bell Peppers Recipe.

10. White Chocolate

Now, this gets a little rough for white chocolate lovers or they just might not care. White chocolate is not classified as chocolate but as the alternative white version of chocolate. This is because white chocolate does not have any cocoa butter or chocolate liquor in it, not an ounce. These two ingredients are essential in the production of chocolates and white chocolate just doesn’t have it even though it’s marketed as chocolate. This doesn’t stop people from consuming this delicious dessert, though, especially Filipinos. Check out these White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites Recipe and Hot White Chocolate With Cinnamon Recipe. Just ignore the fact that it’s not really chocolate.



References:

Allen, G. (2010, September 07). The history of chicken fingers. Retrieved from https://leitesculinaria.com/52349/writings-history-chicken-fingers.html

Alois, E. (2016, September 21). Meet the food charlatans: 12 foods with deceiving names. Retrieved from https://lavu.com/blog/meet-food-charlatans-12-foods-deceiving-names/

National Sausage and Hotdog Counsil. (2016). Hot dog history. Retrieved from https://www.hot-dog.org/culture/hot-dog-history

Rahm, D.H. (2010, September, 07). Eggplant. Retrieved from https://vitamedica.com/wellness-blog/eggplant/

Raymund. (2018, December 05). Pancit bato. Retrieved from https://www.angsarap.net/2018/12/05/pancit-bato/

The history of corned beef. (2018, July 12). Retrieved from https://www.kitchenproject.com/history/CornedBeef.htm

Upton, E. (2013, October 21). Why buffalo wings are called that. Retrieved from http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/10/buffalo-wings-called/

Witt, E. (2018, May 11). Horseradish. Retrieved from https://www.alpenwild.com/myswisskitchen/horseradish/

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