Every fall, the Merriam-Webster dictionary updates a new word list. This year there are 370 more words, including 9 words about food and “banh mi” (bread) is one of them.
Vietnamese bread is very diverse in flavor – Photo: SCMP
According to information from Merriam-Wester, when many people use a word in the same way, over a long enough period of time, the word will qualify for inclusion in the dictionary.
“The names of foods from around the world become familiar to us through menus, recipes and cooking demonstrations,” says Merriam-Webster.
Merriam-Webster defines Vietnamese “banh mi” as a type of long, meat-filled bread, including pork or chicken, served with pickled vegetables (sour food), herbs, and cucumber.
In 2014, the Merriam-Webster dictionary also included “pho” (pho) in the new word category. According to this dictionary definition, “pho” is “a soup with a broth made from beef or chicken plus a cake made from rice flour”.
Besides the Vietnamese “banh mi”, several other new words added on this occasion are already well known in the local food culture, such as the Japanese phrase “omakase”.
When you enjoy a meal in the form of omakase cuisine, you entrust the chef’s trust to completely decide the ingredients and dishes that day.
The omakase portion of The Aubrey restaurant – Photo: Aubrey
The feature of omakase is that when enjoying, diners will experience a feeling of surprise because it is impossible to know in advance what food they will be served. The cost of this type of cuisine is quite high, because the chef is highly skilled and uses fresh and high-class ingredients.
Omakase is often used to enjoy Japanese sashimi and sushi dishes, but today the phrase has extended to other dishes.
Oat milk is widely sold in supermarkets – Photo: AFP
Another word that is also familiar to Vietnamese people is “oat milk” (oat milk). It is described as “a liquid made from ground oats and water, including calcium and vitamins, often used as a milk substitute”.
Merriam-Webster also added the word “birria”, which is “Mexican casserole seasoned with special spices and chili”. Birria is usually made from goat meat and has a deep red color due to the high use of dried red peppers.
Birria dish originating from the state of Jalisco, Mexico – Photo: Alvy’s
Notably, in the new word list, there is the word “sessionable”, which belongs to the group of terms for alcoholic beverages. The term refers to beverages with mild flavors and “lower than average alcohol content”, reflecting the world’s tendency to consume fewer alcoholic beverages.