Food is something that unifies people across the world. Most people love to eat and to try new tastes and flavours. Food helps us connect with family, to socialise, and to feel happy. So, let’s learn some more advanced vocabulary to help you talk about food! Make sure you check out the transcript on and my Instagram page! 

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People love to talk about food. We love to recommend restaurants, crave for our favourite dishes from childhood, and reminisce over taste sensations. For this reason, adjectives to describe good food are necessary, actually more than necessary; they are essential for English language learners. Of course, you probably know ‘delicious’ is a word used to describe food that you like. However, using delicious exclusively to describe food that tastes good is, often, a little repetitive and boring. For example, today I ate a delicious bowl of ramen containing some delicious pork, and with a side of delicious dumplings. Boring, right? How about, ‘today I ate a delightful bowl of ramen containing some mouth-watering pork, and with a side of appetizing dumplings.’ I think it sounds better. 

Here is a list of alternatives to delicious! Some are formal, some are informal, but all are useful – 

tasty, appetizing, scrumptious, yummy, luscious, delectable, mouth-watering, delightful, lovely, wonderful, pleasant, enjoyable, appealing, enchanting, charming, palatable, satisfying

Acquired Taste

Sometimes, there are some dishes and foods that are not easy to like. With strong flavours, strange smells, or weird textures, it can take a few attempts before you actually start to appreciate what you are eating. For foods like this, we can describe them as an ‘acquired taste.’  Blue cheese is an acquired taste: it is salty and can have an unpleasant aroma or smell. Other acquired tastes include black pudding from the UK (a blood sausage popular for breakfast), natto in Japan, stinky tofu in China and Taiwan, and sweet liquorice! Moreover; drinks, music, movies, anything that can be liked, can also be described as ‘an acquired taste.’ Coffee and alcohol are ‘acquired tastes.’ 7 years ago I didn’t drink coffee or like coffee flavour at all; now I have my own equipment to grind fresh coffee every morning. So, we can also say I have acquired a taste for coffee.  

I could eat a horse/I’m starving 

What do you say when you want, or need, to eat something. I’m hungry, right? How about when you really want, or need, to eat something? I’m really hungry? I’m very hungry? Some people think that it is lazy to use adverbs such as very and really. TO some extent, I agree with this; using alternatives make your speech much more interesting in my opinion. However, I am guilty of using adverbs too much – especially in this podcast. So, instead of using adverbs to describe hunger, here are two alternatives; I could eat a horse, and I’m starving. These expressions are both metaphorical (meaning you don’t literally mean what you are saying, but want to express that you are incredibly hungry). Horses are big animals, so if you could eat a horse then you must be hungry. And to starve means to die from hunger; but we often use it when we just want to eat a lot of food. 

Sweet Tooth

Do you like dessert? Are you the sort of person who loves cakes, puddings, chocolate, candy, ice cream, caramel, marshmallows, cookies, and anything else sweet? Will you always check the dessert menu at a restaurant before you enter? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you probably have a sweet tooth. Having a sweet tooth basically means that you love sweet and sugary food. 

Eyes are bigger than one’s stomach 

Earlier in this episode I mentioned my lunch. A large bowl of savoury noodles containing mouth watering pork, and with sides of delectable dumplings and fried rice. If that sounds like a lot of food, you are right. It was a lot. It was probably too much food. By the time I had eaten the rice and dumplings, I was full and didn’t really want to eat the ramen! However, when looking at the menu before ordering, I felt like I could eat a horse, and was confident that I could finish everything. I was wrong. In this situation, we can say that my eyes were bigger than my stomach. My eye’s saw all the tasty food and wanted to eat everything, but I couldn’t fit everything in my stomach. Have you ever been in a situation where your eyes were bigger than your stomach? It happened to me all the time. 

Hopefully, after listening to today’s episode, you now have a few more terms and phrases to describe food and eating! Check out some of our previous episodes and find all podcast transcripts for free on! 

And as always thank you for listening, and supporting the podcast!

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By Tom Wilkinson

Host and founder of Thinking in English, Tom is committed to providing quality and interesting content to all English learners. Previously a research student at a top Japanese university and with a background in English teaching, political research, and Asian languages, Tom is now working fulltime on bettering Thinking in English!

One thought on “More than delicious: Advanced Food Vocabulary (English Vocabulary Lesson)”
  1. Hi Tom , you’re all right when you say that food help us to socialize and have good time with family and friends. I live in italy where food and wine are a culture .Italy has 20 regions and each one has his own speciality but I’m discovering that we appriacete also food from other part of the world and this is a good thing because we have to taste a new flavors to be in step with the time and try new emotions.Sure is one thing that most of italians are proud of our way to eat .

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