Chinese gooseberry, anyone?

The idea of eating any type of fruit named after a mean bird that poops a lot is certainly off-putting, which is why you’d be unsurprised to learn that the “Chinese Gooseberry” is actually what we now call a kiwi. The fuzzy fruit is not the first to fall victim to (or be saved by) a name change via public relations or marketing teams for major food producers as a way to sell more product. In fact, many of your favorite foods, especially fish and seafood, have gone through name changes and are really just ugly-named animals hiding behind fancy upgrades.

Related Reading: The Origins of Odd Food Names

We’ve rounded up nine of the most interesting renamed foods we could find. The “Bob Dylans” or “Marilyn Monroes” of the food world (both of whom changed their name for fame). Scroll down to check em’ out.


Original Name: Dolphinfish

New Name: Mahi Mahi

Why? Flipper is a national treasure and the act of slaughtering uber-intelligent dolphins has been a source of controversy for many years now. Despite mahi-mahi looking and tasting nothing like your favorite animal at Sea World, consumers get confused so it’s no wonder this tasty taco fish had its name changed. Plus, mahi-mahi is really fun to say. Try it.

Related Reading: How to Make Perfect Fish Tacos


Original Name: Rapeseed Oil

New Name: Canola Oil

Why? This one’s self-explanatory. We’d rather not conjure something so terrible when trying to recreate grandma’s famous Christmas cookie recipe. Good move, seed-derived oil companies in changing the name of this food.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Cooking Oils

Omaha Steaks

Original Name: Patagonian Toothfish

New Name: Chilean Sea Bass

Why? Frankly, it’s terrifying to think that any fish (other than a shark) has teeth. Chilean sea bass makes the toothfish sound exotic and less like something you’d see mounted on the wall at your dentist’s office or grinning at you from across a pub in London. A name change we can all agree on.

Original Name: Prunes

New Name: Dried Plums

Why? If the idea of living in a nursing home tickles your fancy, you probably eat prunes and enjoy their name on the reg. If you’re only interested in dried fruit with an incredible amount of belly-busting fiber, the idea of eating grandpa’s favorite snack can be very unappealing. In defense of California, one of the world’s biggest exporters, prunes really are dried plums. It’s not that much of a stretch to call them what they are. Remember to just be yourself and people (of all ages) will love you.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Summer Stone Fruit Guide


Original Name: Slimehead

New Name: Orange Roughy

Why? Yeah, we’d like to avoid any fish that sounds like it’s covered in slime. We especially don’t want to be reminded that slimeheads, aka orange roughy, are actually named after the mucus-filled canals on their ugly faces.  It may not be perfect but orange roughy is certainly a name change upgrade for this fishy food.


Original Name: Mud Bugs

New Name: Crayfish

Why? The idea of eating dirt-covered insects isn’t the most appetizing, you have to admit, and this food desperately needed a new identity. Crayfish implies that the animal actually comes from the sea, which certainly helps matters at your next big boil. Insect dishes, however, have become increasingly popular in the U.S. For now, we’ll just stick to mini lobsters.

Original Name: Rockfish

New Name: Red Snapper

Why? Red snapper is a luxury. The Pacific version is called “rockfish,” but can technically be marketed as uber-expensive and Atlantic-derived red snapper because, well, red snapper is still technically what it is. The former obviously has a different taste and feel, which means fish companies are sneaky when it comes to tricking consumers into thinking they’re getting the version with better quality. Tsk, tsk.

Getty Images

Original Name: Whore’s Eggs

New Name: Sea Urchin or Uni

Why? I truly don’t have to go into too much detail as to why this seafood got a name reinvention. Having been consumed for centuries in Japan, uni is a popular delicacy in Japanese cuisine but only recently did it shed the politically incorrect title. Not meant as a slight to sex workers either, but just one look at the spiny creatures and it’s clear this was no tribute to the trade.

Related Reading: Bizarre Fruit Hybrids We Can’t Stop Staring At

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Original Name: Chinese Gooseberry

New Name: Kiwi

Why? As we mentioned, geese aren’t the most affable of creatures, plus they’re famous for their droppings and “gooseberry” just kind of sounds like that. Kiwi, this tangy fruit’s new name, is more exotic-sounding and linguistically related to the Japanese word kawaii which means cute.

Header image courtesy of Getty Images.

Joey is a NYC-based writer/editor, TV/radio personality, editor-at-large for Chowhound, author of "Basic Bitchen," and host of "Dish This." His work has been featured in outlets like Food & Wine, People, InStyle, Travel+Leisure, and BuzzFeed. Prior to a career in editorial, he served as the lead publicist for hit TLC shows like "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," "My Strange Addiction," and "My Crazy Obsession." In his spare time, he enjoys volleyball, visiting the beaches of Naples, Fla. (his hometown), worshipping Beyoncé, eating sour candy, writing depressing poetry, interior design, and perfecting his stand-up comedy routine. He's also been struck by lightning—quite the shocking experience.
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