8 food words that have no English equivalent
Trying to grasp the colloquial language in a new country can be one of the most intimidating aspects of traveling abroad. You want to sound hip and in the know; you don’t want to be that person laughing nervously and nodding at jokes and references you don’t understand. Learning a new language every time you travel is a little too much to ask, but there’s another way to sharpen your language skills: Expedia put together a list of eight food-related words, called the International Language of Food, that have no equivalent in English.
One of the best ways to get to know a new culture is through their food, so understanding how people think and speak about eating will give you a kickstart to making friends or impressing your host on your next vacation. These words give events like joining friends for drinks outdoors, going on a picnic, or enjoying a spirited conversation at the dinner table, simple, elegant packaging.
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Here are eight foreign-language food words and exactly how to define them:
Sobremesa: “Over the table”
This Spanish word means to linger at the dinner table to continue your conversation (or political debate, romantic monologue, or stand up comedy routine), long after the meal has finished.
Shemomechama: “I accidentally ate the whole thing.”
This Georgian phrase refers to gorging yourself on a meal—whether it’s pasta, cake, or pizza—even after you’re full.
Natmad: “Night food”
No, this Danish phrase doesn’t mean a midnight snack you sneak out of your fridge. It actually refers to food served to guests at the end of a party, so they don’t go home hungry. Sounds like the Danes really know how to treat their friends.
Kummerspeck: “Grief bacon”
How could eating bacon ever be a sad occasion, you might be wondering? Actually, in German, this word means to gain weight while emotionally eating your way through a breakup.
Utepils: “Outside beer”
This Norwegian word means exactly what you think it does: Enjoying a drink outdoors.
Kalsarikannit: “Underwear drunkenness”
Many people are probably familiar with this particular state of undress. The Finnish phrase means to drink at home alone in your underwear. After a long day at the office, who among us hasn’t indulged in a little kalsarikannit?
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Madarlatta: “Bird seen”
This Hungarian word is a harder one to guess. It actually refers to any food that goes uneaten at a picnic—food that we assume gets stolen by the birds?
Engili: “Defiled Food”
Spoken in the Telegu language in South India, this word marks food that has been half-eaten or already bitten. It doesn’t necessarily mean any hungry snackers should steer clear of the food item in question, so go ahead and finish that engili cookie if you’re just too tempted. We’re not judging.