“French food is delicious!”
“Delicious”, this may probably be the word mostly used every time we talk about food. Or we may use other common words such as: good, not good, bad, etc.
In English, native speakers often use many other adjectives to show how food tastes instead of just saying generally like the above example. In this article, Learn English Fun Way will share with you interesting vocabulary about taste and flavor of food so that you can confidently and fluently describe your favorite food!
I) Vocabulary about food taste
- Aromatic : having a pleasant smell that is easy to notice
The plant is strongly aromatic.
- Tasty: having a strong and pleasant taste when it is eaten
Do you have something tasty to eat?
- Acidic: very sour
Some fruit juices are very acidic.
- Mouth-watering: food looks or smells so good that you want to eat it immediately
A mouth-watering display of cakes.
- Luscious: having a strong, pleasant taste; delicious
- Bitter: a strong sharp taste that is not sweet
Black coffee leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
- Bittersweet: tasting bitter and sweet at the same time
I love bitter-sweet chocolate.
- Spicy: has a strong hot flavor
Thai food is hot and spicy.
- Hot: containing pepper and spices that can produce a burning feeling in your mouth because they have a strong taste and smell
You can make a curry hotter simply by adding chillies
- Garlicky: tasting or smelling strongly of garlic
- Bland:not having a strong or interesting taste
This sauce is rather bland.
- Sugary: containing sugar; tasting of sugar
- Tart: a slightly sour taste
I don’t like a tart apple.
- Mild sweet: slightly sweet, not too sweet
This candy is mild sweet
- Gamey: having a strong flavour or smell as a result of being kept for some time before cooking
You can eat venison, but it has a gamey flavor.
- Mature: has been left to develop a pleasant strong flavor
The cheese is smoked and then left to mature.
- Sour: with a taste like a lemon
The fruit was too sour to eat.
- Sweet-and-sour: contains both sweet and sour flavours
Why didn’t you make sweet-and-sour pork?
- Unsalted: not flavored with salt
Should I bake with salted or unsalted butter?
- Savory: tasting of salt or spices and not sweet
What’s in the pastry? Is it sweet or savoury?
- Salty: containing or tasting of salt
It tasted slightly salty.
- Seasoned: containing seasonings to improve flavor
The sausage was very highly seasoned.
- Astringent: as astringent taste is one that is strong and bitter
I feel the astringent taste of lemon juice.
- Insipid: having almost no taste; flavourless
A cup of insipid coffee
- Unseasoned: not flavored with salt, pepper, or other spices or seasonings
Her cooking was too bland and unseasoned for Sara’s traveled palate
- Mild: used to describe food or a food flavour that is not very strong
He doesn’t like a hot curry – he prefers a mild one.
- Cheesy: smelling or tasting of cheese
- Smoky: tasting or smelling like smoke
The chicken has a nice smoky flavor
- Minty: tasting or smelling of mint
That sugar has a minty flavour/smell
- Harsh: has a severe and unpleasant taste
The tea is too harsh to drink
- Tangy: having a strong sharp taste or smell
A refreshing tangy lemon flavour
- Crisp: pleasantly hard and dry
Bake until the pastry is golden and crisp.
- Yucky: horrible or very unpleasant
- Horrible: have an extremely unpleasant smell
The dish is horrible
- Watery: Pale, or not strong
The vegetables were watery and tasteless.
II) Vocabulary about food condition
- Raw: not cooked
Sushi is made from raw fish as well as vegetables, seaweed, and rice.
- Dry: (bread) eaten on its own without any butter, jam, etc.
Breakfast consisted of dry bread and a cup of tea.
- Fresh: recently produced or picked and not frozen, dried or preserved in tins or cans
Sushi always requires fresh fish.
- Rotten: that has decayed and cannot be eaten or used
The fruit is starting to go rotten.
- Off: no longer fresh enough to eat or drink
This fish has gone off.
- Stale: no longer fresh and therefore unpleasant to eat
There was one piece of stale chocolate cake left in the tin.
- Mouldy: covered with or containing mould
Strawberries go mouldy very quickly.
- Tainted: dirty or no longer pure; no longer pleasant or safe to eat, drink or use
Tainted drinking water
- Ripe: (of fruit or crops) fully grown and ready to be eaten; (of cheese) having a taste that has fully developed
Make sure the bananas are ripe so I can use them in the cake.
- Unripe: not yet ready to eat
Many types of fruit are picked unripe and become ripe as they are shipped.
- Juicy: containing a lot of juice and good to eat
The meat was tender and juicy.
- Tender: easy to bite through and cut
This meat is extremely tender.
- Tough: (meat) difficult to cut or bite on
Overcooking the burger will make it tough and dry.
- Under-done: not cooked enough
This meat is underdone
- Over-done/ over-cooked: cooked for too long
This over-cooked dish is horrible
III) Ways to express your feelings about food
If you want to express your feelings about a dish you just have eaten, and want to say a more interesting sentence than just only “it tastes good”. Let’s make reference to the following sentences:
- If the dish is good, you can say:
“Wow, that is delicious!”
“That is amazing!”
“I’m in heaven”
“It’s so yummy, where did you get the recipe?”
“The tastes great, where did you buy it?”
“The food at that Asian restaurant is out of this World”
- If the dish is not good, you can say:
“Ew, I don’t like that”
“I’m not crazy about this”
IV) Ways to describe how food tastes
- “The fruit is so ripe. It’s perfect”
“It’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty”
“It’s so fresh”
“The flavors are rich”
“This is kind of bitter”
“This doesn’t have much taste. It’s bland”
“It’s really sweet and sugary”
“This tastes really sour”
V) Idioms and phrases related to food
Not only used to describe food, the adjectives for the taste in English are also used with figurative meanings in idioms and phrases. Please note down these impressive English expressions, you may find them useful one day in the future!
1. Sweet tooth: If you have a sweet tooth, you like eating sweet foods, especially sweets and chocolate
My brother is a sweet tooth, he can eat dozens of candies a day.
2. Sour grape: If you describe someone’s behavior or opinion as sour grapes, you mean that that person is angry because they have not got or achieved something that they wanted
She thought I did not deserve to win, but I think it’s just sour grape.
3. Take something with a grain of salt: to view something with skepticism or not to interpret something literally.
I’ve seen the article about Tom, which I take with a grain of salt.
4. Bad egg: (old-fashioned slang) a bad person
Don’t trust anything he tells you, he is such a bad egg.
5. Give someone a dose/ taste of your own medicine: to treat someone as badly as they have treated you
Don’t tell Chris about it, we must give him a taste of his own medicine. He never lets we know if something go wrong.
6. Leave a bad taste in your mouth: to cause an unpleasant memory
She leave a bad taste in their mouth when she said bad things about Lydia.
7. Smell fishy: If a situation or an explanation smells fishy, it causes you to think that someone is being dishonest.
His explanation smells fishy. I think that she is lying.
Practicing your food vocabulary will help you become fluent in the one subject that everyone loves to discuss: food and eating. No matter which culture or country, food is a safe subject that will help lead to conversations about other topics. Try asking someone about their favorite meal and you’ll find that you are in a discussion about cooking your favorite foods. Recommend a restaurant and tell someone about a special meal you’ve had, and the conversation will flow.