How to Pronounce Quinoa

One of the truly dumbest, and yet surprisingly most common questions that I get asked, (yes literally people will come up to me on the street and ask me) is “How do I say quinoa??”

Now let me start by saying that the funny thing for me, as someone who has traveled extensively across South America and Central America, (including Panama), is how quinoa has become some kind of new-age upper-class food… the joke is that in the towns and villages across South America, quinoa is peasant food. It is subsistence gruel that you would feed to your donkey.

Nonetheless, “it is what it is” and now everyone wants to get their piece of the quinoa pie (which reminds me… I have a recipe for quinoa pie)

But getting back to the main subject, HOW does one pronounce QUINOA?

Again, this makes me chuckle because once again, upper-middle-class people in the Western World, (“westies” as I like to call them) have once again had the alpaca-wool pulled over their eyes and been somehow led to believe that the correct spelling of the word is something along the lines of KEEN-Wah!

You will see them give you a knowing glance and a kind of smarty-pants gleam in their eyes as if they are part of some kind of underground cult for special healthy people … because they believe they know how to pronounce Quinoa. It goes a little something like this. Start with a cheesy flashing of the teeth grin, and a big KEEEEEn … exhale exuberantly as you gust out a Waaah.   Um… no.

Well the sad thing is … they’re doing/saying it wrong. Just flat out wrong!

So without further ado (and you guys know how I like my further ados) here is THE CORRECT WAY TO PRONOUNCE QUINOA

We’re going to break it down.

First part of the word : Qui.  Said like QUINCE or QUINTET.

Second part of the word.  Noa.  Said like Noah’s Ark or No Arguments


Phonetic spelling: kwee-noh-uh

There now you can start saying it correctly!

Love Kate. (or you might want to pronounce it Quate)

22 thoughts on “How to Pronounce Quinoa”

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