According to 15% of respondents, the Vietnamese noodle soup pho is in fact a type of exotic fish, while another 10% thought it was the name of a character from the US fantasy drama TV series ‘Game of Thrones’.
The survey also asked Brits to choose from a selection of options what an enchilada might be – and 6% insisted that the classic Mexican dish is actually an animal found in the jungles of South America.
When it comes to the traditional Middle Eastern food falafel, 5% thought it was the name of a Russian poet, while a mechanically-minded 3% were convinced it was a vital component in a jet engine.
The Japanese staple dish of ramen caused confusion too. Some 24% thought it was a religious festival, while 13% thought it was an Egyptian pharaoh – possibly confusing the name with Ramesses.
Fritto misto – the Venetian dish of lightly fried fish – was the subject of misinformation as well, with 12% thinking it was in fact the Italian phrase for a ‘cold and foggy day’. A further 5% thought it was a character from comic series ‘The Adventures of Tintin’, while 4% thought it was the name of a F1 racing driver.
The South Asian dessert of gulab jamun was alternately a Bollywood starlet (16%), a character in the children’s novel ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ (5%), or an evil nemesis of ‘Dr Who’ (4%). And 12% of Brits thought the Thai hot and sour soup Tom Yum Goong was a form of deadly martial art.
We didn’t fare much better as a nation when it came to identifying the French wine Viognier. Two in ten thought it was a French philosopher, 11% claimed it was a ski resort – a bit like Verbier – and 8% insisted it was a mountain range in the Pyrenees.
But despite the culinary blunders, 86% of Brits said they had international tastes when it comes to food, and a further 73% said they would consider themselves ‘quite knowledgeable’ or ‘very knowledgeable’ about food.
A spokesperson for Deliveroo said: “The results of this research show that while many Britons can’t identify a falafel or an enchilada, our love for world foods is on the rise, with 86% of us now enjoying international food regularly”.
When it comes to our favourite styles of food, Chinese came top with 58% of votes, followed by Italian (56%), Indian (50%), American (35%) and Mexican (34%).
The poll also revealed that the average Brit spends £86 a month on takeaways. London emerged as the takeaway capital, with a typical spend of £107 a month, followed by Edinburgh (£92) and Birmingham (£89).
The Middle Eastern dish falafel