Grocery shopping? Put that capsicum down!

Among other shocks one encounters when entering a new country, such as language, accents, dress and customs, another endeavor is hitting the local grocery shops.  Why?  Because everything is different!

What is that?

Yep, it’s true.  Even what you think you know, you don’t.  For example, an American wanting to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in Australia would be disgusted to know that jelly in Australia is jello, and jelly as Americans know it, is jam.  An Aussie peanut butter and jelly sandwich would be one that’s–ALIVE (circa 1990s jello commercials).

Pepper or capsicum...

If you ask the grocery store attendant where you can find peppers, they will probably lead you to the companion of salt, and not a green, red or yellow “bell pepper”.  What Americans deem peppers are capsicums in Australian lingo.

Already covered in a prior post, typical Aussie cuisine favourites (click here), now it’s time for some translating so you’re not left looking like a fool at a grocery store like Coles, Woolworths (Wooly’s as it is affectionately known), Safeway or an IAG.

American Word

Australian Translation

Ketchup Tomato Sauce
Cookie Biscuit
Chips Crisps
French Fries Chips
Shrimp Prawn
Sausages Bangers
Chicken Chook
Cantaloupe Rock Melon
Candy Lollies
Eggplant Aubergine
Bell Pepper Capsicum
Mashed potatoes Mash
Oatmeal Porridge
Jello Jelly
Jelly Jam

So, what are some other great confusing food translations to be recognized?



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6 responses to “Grocery shopping? Put that capsicum down!

  1. hiii….
    nice topic.

  2. Heather

    I just want to clear one thing up about the whole jelly and jam thing. In America, we use the words jelly and jam for similar, but not identical, items. Jelly is clear and juice based, whereas jam has got mashed fruit in it. We also have preserves, which have chunks of fruit in it. It’s not a big deal, but it is a common misconception.

  3. Pingback: Australian English: Where Does It Come From? | gostudyinaustralia

  4. As an authentic Australian, I would tell you that all you need to worry about is rock melon and capsicum, and maybe jelly. The other words we all use. I certainly haven’t ever asked for an aubergine anyway.

  5. Pingback: So you want to come to Australia… | oshibanashiori

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