Foodies share a phrase that they feel deserves an English translation

In William Shakespeare’s words, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” And if we extended that to cover words associated with the culinary world from different languages, would it sound as sweet?

It’s only words but in different languages

Recently, international travel portal, Expedia UK, did their bit to introduce travellers to words associated with food from different countries. So, you got Sobremesa (which means over the table in Spanish) and refers to one lingering at the table long after a meal is finished, Natmad (that’s night food in Danish) which refers to traditional food that is served at the end of the party before you’re sent home and Kummerspeck (in German translates as grief bacon) that’s weight gained through overeating after a failed romance and more. We took this a step further and quizzed some familiar names associated with the culinary world and got them to share one word from their native tongue that they believe deserves an English translation.

‘Kaanfat Tope’

Maria Goretti, television personality

Kaanfat (kaan is ear and fat is slap. So, kaanfat is one tight slap but it also means one tight slap under your ear). My grandmother from Vasai, Rosemary, used to make a dish by this name, which was basically made with meat from under the ear of a goat, and she used to put it in a vessel and put poha into it and the vessel is called tope. So, she used to call it Kaanfat tope. The meat was tender and she would use East Indian bottle masala to flavour the gravy. When it was really hot, just off the fire (literally a wood fire) she would add poha to this and toss it in the tope. And then serve it, which is why I’m spoiled and want to only eat poha this style. Unfortunately, I have not since she passed on. I think it should have an English translation because it’s such a funny name for a dish.


Saransh Goila, chef

I would like to translate the Sindhi term Tivan, which in English means ‘well-cooked’. I would like to use it to describe a well-cooked chicken, as it’s a prime ingredient of my brand and is the reason behind my success. Hence, I would love for this word to grab a few eyeballs.”

‘Bhuna or bhunaoing’

Ranveer Brar, chef

I think the word bhuna or bhunaoing deserves an English translation because there is no English term at the moment that describes it. It’s essentially not roasting or broiling (refers to a technique where one tries to release the flavour of the spices by bhunaoing it in a pan) and in the absence of the right word to describe this particular technique of cooking, many chefs just leave it as bhuna or bhunaoing in their descriptions. It’s a very important word as it’s the base and encompasses the very foundation of the flavour of North Indian and Mughlai cuisine.


Larry Paul, corporate chef, British Brewing Company

I am originally from Kerala and my mother tongue is Malayalam but since I was born and brought up in Mumbai I am very familiar with Marathi. One word that I believe deserves an English translation is Zanzanit. It means superb or mind-blowing when related to food, and is a taste that sets the dish apart or is also used to describe a dish that’s spicy.


Chef Saurabh Udinia, chef de cuisine for Massive Restaurants Private Limited

I hail from Delhi, and two words that we use in common slang that deserve an English translation according to me are Chakhna (a selection of savoury snacks to go with alcohol) and Chhaunka (tempering food with hot fat just before eating it). Both these are commonly used in everyday communication and I believe they deserve to be translated.

Also, on the UK expedia page are:

Uteplis (Outside beer in Norwegian) To enjoy a drink outside in the sunshine.

Kalsarikannit (Underwear drunkenness in Finnish) Drinking at home alone in your underwear.

Mandarlatta (Bird seen in Hungarian) When you take food on a picnic but don’t eat it.

Engili (Defiled food in Telugu) Something that has already been bitten into.