Mexico is Delicious: A guide to pronouncing basic breakfast stuff in Mexico and/or other Spanish speaking countries

*Dedicated to Serena & Tara who gave me this idea in Oaxaca

The stuff you eat (probably)

Milk  –  Leche

LE as in lay or as if you were trying to be french and say le croissant, CHE as in Che Guevara.

lay – Che

Coffee – Café

Pretty straightforward. Just pronounce café the way you normally would.

Orange Juice– Jugo de naranja

JU as in who (let the dogs out), GO, THEY, NAR as in Narnia, ANNE, HA!

who-go-they-nar-anne-ha!

Sugar– azúcar

A as in ah ha! zu as in zoo, car.

Ah-zoo-car.  (say it with me).

Hot water– agua caliente

ah-goo-ah. caliente.

cali as in California. ente as in … itself.

Toast– pan tostado

pahn  toe-sta-dough.  (think of a toe and some sourdough, sorry if its gross, and do not pronounce pahn like you would kitchen pan.)

French Toast– pan francés

pahn  Fran-says.   But says pronounced zez.

Jam – mermelada

MERME  as in mermaid. LADA as in la di da la di da la la.

merme lada 

Butter – mantequilla

man-tei- ki- ya.  Pronounced properly it should sound like a dope karate move.

Bacon – tocino

toe-si-no

In Spain they call it something like beicon, so kind of the same as in English but slightly mispronounced. They do this for doughnuts too. We in Mexico have the decency to call them dough-nas.

Eggs – huevos.

WHE as in when or whey protein, VO as in bow but with a v, and S to make it plural. You can just say this and people will understand:  whey-bows

  • Scrambled – revueltos.  RE as in ray, VU as in deja vu, EL as in Jor El the father of superman, TOS as in toes.   whey-bows  ray-vu-el-toes.
  • Sunny side-over – estrellados. ES as in Estee Lauder, TRE as in dre, LLA as in how Germans say ya, and toes with a d, so DOES pronounced to rhyme with toes, or dohs.  whey-bows estre-ya-dohs

Cheese– queso

K-so

Cream cheese – queso crema

K- SO – CRAY as in cray cray, MA as in hey ma, wassup.

k-so cray-ma

Bagel 

Same. Just make sure to add a latin inflection to the EL part so it sounds again like Jor El, aka superman’s father.

Lox – salmon

SAL as in the name Sally, Mon as in the beginning of Monica (if you can pronounce it like they do in FRIENDS thats ideal for a number of reasons).

SAL – MON

Cereal – cereal

Looks the same but is pronounced totally different.

SAY as in what did you just say? which is a phrase you might get a lot, REY as in the Star Wars heroine, Al as in the name/nickname

say-rey-al

Honey – miel

MI as in me or meow, el as in Jor El  (never thought Superman would come this handy in language guides, did you?)

me-El

Yogurt – Yogurt (YO GOO RT)

Just over-pronounce everything and you’ll be fine.

Fruit– fruta

Fruit-ah

Or if you can manage:  fru + ta  as in ta da!

Granola 

same same as in English.

Tea

As in the first sound of the word tech.

This is very high …  *insert picture of a very tall glass of tea*

Now for the stuff that we eat (and you should too)

Tortillas

Tor-tea-yas

Avocado – aguacate

Ah-goo-ah-ka-té 

Green sauce – salsa verde

Sal-saw  ver-they

Red sauce – salsa roja

Salsa + row as in row row row your boat + ha as in “ha! you can hardly pronounce that”

Sal-saw  row-ha

Cream – crema

Once again, CRAY as in cray cray, MA as in hey ma, wassup.

cray-ma 

Machaca (eggs with machaca) –  machaca (huevos con machaca)

*Machaca is a delicious type of shredded beef jerky from the North of Mexico. We mix it with scrambled eggs adding onions, green peppers, and tomatoes and then wrap it all within a deliciously soft tortilla. Do not miss out on this.

MA as in hey ma, wassup. CHA as in cha cha cha. Ka as in KA-POW!  For huevos just say whey-bows cone (as in the geometrical shape) Mah chaka.

Mah-chaka  ( whey-bows cone Mah chaka) 

Huevos rancheros – 

whey-bows ran-chey-rows 

Huevos divorciados – Divorced eggs, better explained as two sunny side up eggs on a tortilla with beans, each covered with a type of salsa, normally one red and one green.

whey-bows divorcee-a-doh-s 

Sopes – Very tiny and thick tortillas molded into the shape of small flat bowls covered with mashed beans, cream, fresh white cheese, shredded lettuce and either chicken, meat, or chorizo. So so good that it would be remiss of me not to recommend these throughly and whole-heartedly.

SO as in so, what do we do now? Pez as in the candy dispenser.

So-Pez®

Quesadillas 

kay-sah-dee-yas 

Molletes – Mexican bread slathered with beans and covered with melted yellow cheese that is then topped with some pico de gallo.

Moe-yay-tez 

Chilaquiles – Quintessential Mexican breakfast food. Just order them and be pleasantly surprised.

Chill as in chill yo! we’re in Mexico. a-kill-ayes.

Chill-a-kill-ayes

Enchiladas – Another great quintessential Mexican dish. You are probably familiar with some version of enchiladas, but many versions outside of Mexico are rather blasphemous,  so do try the real thing as soon as you get the chance.

N as in the letter ‘N’  . Chee as in lychee fruit. la. das.

N – chee – la – das

PLEASE GO FORTH, EAT ALL THIS FOOD, & ENJOY

Now its time for a small PSA:

FOOD GUIDES COMING SOON

*soon-ish

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