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
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.
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
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.