Don’t Say Delicious!

In China, people love talking about food. In fact, for Chinese, food is like weather is for the British. It’s the go-to conversation starter, and it probably makes up a great deal of the rest of the conversation, too.

When I meet Chinese people who want to speak English, they immediately go for food as a topic. My students all love talking about it… A few months ago, I gave them this lesson on food adjectives to help them be more specific.

But sometimes you don’t want to be terribly specific, and in fact in China people rarely think, “This is rather crunchy, but also a bit rich…” No, they think in terms of “good” and “bad.” As such, even the most advanced English-speakers I encounter will describe everything as “delicious” or “not delicious.” It gets a bit tedious.

So here are some other words we can use to say “delicious”:

 

  • Yummy
    • However, for me this word sounds a bit childish. It’s not wrong to say something is yummy, but I wouldn’t expect a university student or graduate to be saying, “I had a really yummy lunch today!”
  • Tasty
    • This is a great alternative to “delicious.” It is pretty much the same in terms of meaning, although maybe a bit understated.
  • Scrumptious
    • Does this make you think of Nigella Lawson? That’s what it reminds me of. This is actually a pretty good word to use, even if it might sound a tad strange. Again, it shows an enhanced vocabulary.
  • Mouth-watering
    • This is a great phrase. It is descriptive and shows a good lexical awareness. But of course, be aware that this describes something which one assumes to be delicious, rather than what we know from experience.
  • Flavorful/flavourful
    • Again, this is a somewhat toned down version of “delicious” and very useful for describing a range of foods.
  • Delectable
    • Now here’s an advanced synonym for delicious! This is a wonderful word to teach your students.
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I'm the founder and editor of Beatdom Literary Journal, author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and World Citizen: Allen Ginsberg as Traveller. I'm also a teacher and operate the popular website, TED-IELTS.

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