Tel: +44 (0)1606 352 527

Tasty Idioms in Other Languages

You might be surprised how often you use food-related idioms in everyday conversation.

If you feel like doing something a little different and confusing people while you’re at it, why not try out some of the expressions found in other languages below? You might notice that many languages’ idioms seem to be related to typical foods found in the countries where they are spoken, for example there are a fair few Wurst-based idioms in German!

Take a look at the perfect recipe that we’ve put together for a dish of tasty food-related idioms!

A spoonful of insults…


Une vraie courge!

An utter squash!



Quelle nouille!

Such a noodle!



Occupe-toi de tes oignons!

Mind your own onions!

Mind your own business!


Va te faire cuire un œuf!

Cook yourself an egg!

Go to hell!


Du gehst mir auf den Keks

You go on my cookie

You get on my nerves


Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad?

What does a monkey know about the taste of ginger?

You don’t know what you’re talking about


Me importa un pepino

I care a cucumber

I don’t give a damn



Sausage arms

You’re weak



Porridge head

You have no brain

A dollop of philosophy…


Es geht um die Wurst

It’s about the sausage

It’s now or never


Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei

Everything has an end, only the sausage has two

Everything must pass


Alimentar um burro a pão-de-ló

To feed the donkey sponge cake

To treat someone nicely who doesn’t deserve it


Benim basima gelen cig tavugun basina gelmez

What happened to me would not happen to a raw chicken

Something happened that is so weird that it’s funny


Incir cekirdegini doldurmayacak sebepler

Reasons that would not fill a fig seed

There aren’t good enough reasons to be upset


Armudun iyisini ayılar yer

The good pears are eaten by bears

The least deserving people get the rewards


Кашу маслом не испортишь

A little butter won’t spoil your porridge

There can never be too many good things


Mochi ha mochi ya

Rice cake, rice cake maker

Every field has an expert

A pinch of money…


L’ho comprato per un tozzo di pane

I bought it for a piece of bread

It was a real bargain


A preço de banana

To cost the same as bananas

Cheap as chips


Mettre du beurre dans les épinards

To add butter to the spinach

To earn a bit extra

A sprinkle of personality traits…


Schokoladenseite zeigen

To present yourself from your best side

To only see good things


Eine treulose Tomate sein

To be an unfaithful tomato

To be disloyal


Das Haar in der Suppe finden

To look for the hair in the soup

To never be satisfied


żyć jak pączek w maśle

To live like a donut in butter

To be as happy as a pig in mud


E’ buono come un pezzo di pane

He’s as good as a piece of bread

He’s a really good guy


Her seye maydanoz olmak

To be parsley to everything

To have an opinion and be nosy about everything


Agzinda bakla islanmamak

A fava bean doesn’t get wet in somebody’s mouth

If you tell this person a secret, they will tell it to other people


Sansho ha kotsubu de piririto karai

Sansho (a Japanese pepper) is small, but hot enough

Even if someone is small, if they are cheerful and talented, you can’t ignore them



To be sipping vinegar

To be jealous

A heap of conversational skills…


Ramener ta fraise

To bring your strawberry

To butt in on a conversation


Rzucać grochem o ścianę

Throwing peas onto a wall

To fall on deaf ears


Seinen Senf dazu geben

To add one’s mustard

To have a say


Ich habe mit dir ein Hühnchen zu rupfen

I have to pluck a chicken with you

We need to talk


вешать лапшу на уши

To hang noodles on someone’s ears

To pull someone’s leg


En tynd kop te

It’s a weak cup of tea

Your argument is not very strong

And a dash of something extra…


Kleine Brötchen backen

To bake little rolls

To take small steps to start something


Die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen

To play the offended liver sausage

To sulk, be a sourpuss


Extrawurst braten

I have to fry you a special sausage

You always need something extra


Pedirle peras al olmo

To ask for pears from an elm tree

To try to do something that’s impossible


Agarrar a alguien con las manos en la masa

To catch someone with their hands in the dough

To catch someone doing something they shouldn’t


Nye boller på suppen

We need new meatballs in the soup

We need new input and ideas



Chicken feather and garlic skin

Irrelevant or worthless things


Bułka z masłem

A bread roll with butter

Something that’s easily achieved


Rendere pan per focaccia

To give back bread for focaccia

To get revenge – an eye for an eye


C’entra come i cavoli a merenda

It fits like a cabbage for the afternoon snack

It doesn’t fit, it’s inappropriate


Nu blir det andra bullar!

Now there will be other bread rolls!

No more Mr. Nice Guy!

And we’ll leave you with a couple to keep you guessing:

  • Swedish: ha rent mjöl i påsen = to have clean flour in one’s bag
  • German: Mit dem/der ist nicht gut Kirschen essen = It’s no good eating cherries with him/her

Can you guess how we would express the meanings of these idioms in (good!) English? Let us know! And if you know of any other tasty idioms, please do share them with us!


Isabella Fink

Isabella Fink

I am native Austrian and studied Linguistics and Literature at the University of Innsbruck and in Manchester, so language and translation has always been a passion of mine. Before joining Tongue Tied, I have worked as a Translation Assistant and in Customer Services and Purchasing.

Ultimate Buyers Guide To Translation Services

The decision to expand overseas and investing in professional translation services can be stressful but exciting as well.

The translation services industry like most industries has its own terminology and technical jargon, along with a vast amount of options to consider before you can achieve your translation goals...

We have put together a 17 page buyers guide to help you:

  • Choose the right translation agency for your projects – It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring an agency for the first time or considering switching to another agency. You will find the information helpful either way.
  • Make your transition into doing business overseas a straightforward process
  • Save time
  • Save money

What are you waiting for?


  1. Glynn Burrows

    I always thought it strange that my French mate called his girlfriend a cabbage. 🙂 Then again…….

    • Isabella Fink

      Thank you for your comment Glynn! That’s certainly not the most flattering nickname! 🙂

  2. Francis

    Love it! Thank you – keep ’em coming.

    • Isabella Fink

      Thank you Francis, we are happy to hear that you are enjoying our articles! 🙂

  3. Ginny Swart

    Can you tell me where the phrase “Butter wouldn’t melt ( in her mouth) ” comes from? Describing someone who looks innocent but isn’t…. Doesn’t make sense, does it? CheersGinny

  4. Simon

    I don’t know the Gaelic version of this but the English is :

    Beef to the heels like the Mulingar Heifer

    The meaning I will leave to your readers to think of..


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

PHP Code Snippets Powered By :