Food & Kitchen Glossary


Acai: dark purple grape-sized fruit that is exceedingly rich in nutrients.

Antipasto: Italian word for before the meal. Traditional first course of a formal Italian meal consisting of cured meats, olives, roasted garlic, cheeses, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, peprone and olive oil.

Assam Laksa: Malay word for noodles in spicy and sour fish broth. Check out my recipe!

Aubergine: also known as the brinjal or eggplant.


Baking Ingredient Conversions


Belacan: Malay word for dried shrimp paste. Smelly.



Calorie: The energy stored in food. Typically, a kilocalorie or 1000 real calories is used to discuss energy content of food.

Caviar: processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe.

Charcuterie: a delicatessen specializing in dressed meats and meat dishes ie ham, sausage, pate, etc


Chorizo: Spanish word for pork sausage, typically smoked.


Cornish game hen: young chicken of the Cornish breed.

Couscous: commonly made from semolina wheat and a popular North African dish. It is a type of pasta.


Daikon: Japanese word for large root. Looks like a large white carrot or radish. Mild-flavored.

Dim sum: literally means "point heart", they are traditional Chinese delicacies meant to be nibbled and washed down with tea. Great for family Sunday brunch.


Empanada: pastry crust with savory meat or veg filling.

Edamame: Japanese word for "twig bean". They are fresh soybeans, typically prepared by boiling in salted water.

Escalope: boneless meat thinned out using a mallet, rolling pin or beaten with the handle of a knife.

Escargot: French word for snail.

Espresso: dark, strong coffee made by forcing steam through finely ground coffee.


Feijoada: a Portugese dish which is a stew of beans, beef and pork.

Flan: an open-topped custard pie.

Foie gras: French word for fat liver. Made of liver of a duck or goose that has been purposedly fattened.

Fondue: Swiss communal dish shared at the table in a pot over a small burner. The most common sauce is made from a variety of cheeses, wine and seasoning.


Goji berry: see wolfberry.


Hainanese rice: Chinese dish of Hainanese origin. The rice is cooked in chicken broth.

Hor d'œuvre: appertizers or food items served before the main courses of the meal.


Jicama: also known as a beng kuang. Sweet and starchy turnip. Can be eaten raw, pickled or cooked.


Kway teow: Hokkien word for flat rice noodles. Great in soups and stir fry.


Lemon grass: herbal grass that has a citrus flavor. Good substitute for lemon, without the acidic juice.


Mole: generic term for several thick, homogeneous sauces with complex flavors used in Mexican cuisines. Not referring to the animal!

Molinillo: a traditional Mexican turned wood whisk used to prepare hot chocolate and other beverages

Moon cake: edible Chinese symbol of the Moon Festival. Small round golden pastries, filled with sweet lotus seed and bean paste, nuts, candied fruits and/or savories like meat and yolk of a salted duck egg. Available during the fall season

Mutton: goat or older sheep meat.


Napa cabbage: also known as Chinese cabbage. Flavor is more delicate than regular cabbage.


Okra: Also known as lady's fingers or gumbo. Shaped like a long capsule and contains many seeds. For recipes, check out this NPR article online.

Oktoberfest gingerbread cookie: It is one of the most common souvenirs at the Muchen Oktoberfest in Germany. They are usually given by your significant other. Comes in various sizes. Not meant to be eaten but I know people who ate them. Typically hung on the wall for decoration.

Greetings from Oktoberfest!

Oyster sauce: viscous brown sauce made from oyster extract. I use this sauce for my stir fried dishes.


Palm sugar: made from sugary sap of Palmyra palm or coconut palms.

Pandan: also known as screw pine leaves. Famous for food flavoring. Has distinct sweet aroma.

Pasta dough

Pasta making

Pasta sauces


Pho: Vietnamese noodles in beef broth.

Plantain: looks like a banana but it is firmer and lower in sugar content than regular bananas. Requires cooking.


Rojak: Malay word for mixture. Also, it refers to a fruit and vegetable salad commonly found in Malaysia and Singapore.

Rösti: fried grated potato patty.


Sambal belacan: Malay words for a chili based sauce cooked with small amount of shrimp paste (belacan). Usually used as a condiment or a base for spicy dishes. Check out my sambal belacan recipe!

Sauce: The 5 basic sauces are béchamel, veloute, brown, tomato and hollandaise.

Schnitzel: traditional Austrian dish. An Escalope coated in breadcrumbs and fried.

Spätzle: German word for "little sparrow". A type of soft egg noodle.

Stevia: aka sweet leaf, it is used as a sweetener and sugar substitute. It has almost 300x the sweetness of sugar and negligible effect on blood glucose.

Sugar-apple: round fruit with scaly skin. Contains sweet custard-like fleshy seeds.


Tofu: Japanese/Chinese word for bean curd. Made by coagulating soy milk.


Venison: deer meat.


Wasabe: Japanese version of horseradish. Has sharp pungent, fiery flavor. Served as a condiment.

Wolfberry: also known as Goji berry. Small, bright orange-red ellipsoid berry containing many seeds. Commonly used in Chinese dishes.

Wonton: bite-size dumpling consisting of paper-thin dough pillows filled with minced mixture of meat and vegetables.

Worcestershire: thin, dark, piquant sauce used to season meat and vegetables. Can be served as a condiment.

I got these pie pumpkins for a science class that I taught voluntarily