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Spanish Phrases & Words to Know in the Kitchen & at the Dinner Table

Buen provecho with Pisqueya

We spend a good amount of time either in the kitchen, eating, or both! April 23rd is Spanish Language Day and today we want to introduce some words and phrases you may not know but are bound to use in the kitchen and at the dinner table. Latinx are all over the globe and the number of Spanish speaking countries hits the double digits – not to mention, Spanish is one of the top languages spoken around the world. Latin culture is made up of many subcultures and they differ in various ways, from how we say certain things to the food we cook. 
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Spanish language assigns a masculine or feminine attribution to most nouns and adjectives, which is why some words that are the same end in -a and/or -o. When the word ends in -a, it’s feminine and when the word ends in -o, it’s masculine. For example, Latina vs Latino. We do like to use the term Latinx when referring to everyone because it is more inclusive – read a little more about it here From food to utensils, phrases to questions, read on and grow closer to the Spanish language and our culture!

Common Things You’ll Hear or Say:

  • Lávate las manos, por favor

Wash your hands, please.  Before cooking and eating, we should always wash our hands. Remember to scrub them with soap for at least 20 seconds!

  • Poniendo la mesa

Setting the table It’s only polite to help set the table when the host is cooking. It’s a great way to lend a helping hand and show appreciation.

  • Bendecir la mesa

Say grace / Bless the food The majority of the Latinx community is religious and like to take a moment to bless their food before eating to give thanks and pray for those who are less fortunate. It’s a beautiful thing to take a moment to be grateful.

  • ¡Buen provecho!

Spanish version of “Bon Appétit.”  This is the main way of telling those around you to enjoy their meal in Spanish. We always say it before digging in!

  • A buen tiempo

In good time / You’re just in time This phrase directly translates to “in good time,” but it’s like saying “you’re just in time!” For example, if someone shows up a little late to a dinner but they made it at a decent time, you’d say “a buen tiempo!” to welcome them and let them know to join you because there’s plenty of food to go around.

  • ¡Salud!

Cheers! / Good health! Whenever you raise a glass after a toast, you’d say “¡salud!” to wish them good health and fortune.

  • ¡Qué rica comida! / ¡La comida está rica!

What delicious food! / The food is delicious!  The Latinx community throws it down in the kitchen, so you know we always need to call out how yummy it is!

  • Me puedes pasar… ?

Can you pass me the…?

Here are some examples:
  • Me puedes pasar el sartén, por favor? 
    Can you pass me the pan, please?
  • Me puedes pasar la sal, por favor?
    Can you pass me the salt, please?
If you’d like to rephrase, you can also say:

  • Alcánzame el sartén, por favor.
    Reach the pan for me, please.
  • Pasame la sal, por favor.
    Pass me the salt, please.
Now that you know a few common phrases, let’s get into our vocab lesson!

Common Utensils & Cooking Tools

The list of items you’ll need is endless, but here are some of the basics:
el plato plate
el vaso / la taza cup
la copa glassware ex: wine glass
los cubiertos cutlery 
el tenedor the fork
la cuchara the spoon 
el cuchillo the knife 
la tabla para picar chopping board
el cucharón ladle / large cooking spoon
la olla pot
el sartén / la paila pan 
el pelador / la peladora peeler
la taza medidora measuring cup
los guantes de cocina  kitchen mitts/gloves

Common Cooking Methods

We cook in multiple ways, from frying to baking, here are traditional techniques:
frito / frita fried
horneado / horneada  baked
asado / asada  broiled
hervido / hervida  boiled
a la parilla  grilled
salteado / salteada  sautéed

Common Foods

Check out some of the most popular foods and dishes. Side note: a lot of these dishes are served at Puerto Viejo, a Dominican Bistro in Brooklyn and the birthplace of Pisqueya.
la manzana apple
la banana banana
La fresa strawberry
las uvas grapes
la naranja orange
la lima lime
el limón lemon
el tomate  tomato
el aguacate avocado
Pimientos  peppers
plátano plantains 
habichuelas rojas red beans 
los frijoles negros / habichuleas negras black beans 
pollo chicken 
carne de res beef
carne de cerdo pork
las lentejas lentils
la quinoa quinoa 
arroz rice
pan  bread
chuletas de cerdo pork chops
picadera Dominican sampler dish, served as an appetizer 
mondongo  beef tripe soup
sancocho  hearty Dominican soup made up of root veggies, hen, and pork ribs
mofongo  mashed green plantain dish 
pastelon de carne  mashed ripe plantains layered like a lasagna with beef and cheese 
pollo al horno  baked chicken 
pollo guisado  chicken stew
rabo guisado  oxtail stew
tostones  fried (green) plantains 
arepitas de yuca  yuca fritters
maduros fried sweet (yellow) plantains
flan  traditional Dominican dessert, a caramel custard 
tres leches three milk cake 
bizcocho / pastel cake
agua water 
jugo juice
batido milk shake
cerveza  beer
vino wine
Salsa picante hot sauce 


From how to say “recipe” to describing how something tastes, these are the final few words we’d like to translate for you:
receta recipe
ingredientes ingredients
salado / salada salty 
amargo / amarga  bitter
dulce sweet
agrio / agria sour 
caliente hot
frío / fría cold
tibio warm
cocina kitchen 
mesa del comedor dinner table
comiendo  eating 
comida / alimento food
delicioso / deliciosa  delicious 

Last, but certainly not least, try out some of these suggestions to continue to learn Spanish:

  • Watch Spanish cooking shows and videos with subtitles on YouTube.
  • Download a language learning app on your phone! You’ll be surprised at how many words you’ll be able to recognize from this article.
  • Shop at local Spanish speaking grocery stores and practice reading the labels.
  • Eat at Spanish speaking restaurants, whether Dominican, Mexican, or any other – indulge and learn at the same time!
  • Travel to Spanish speaking countries! We can add this to the list of reasons we plan trips. 
  • Read through our blogs posts – they’re written in English and translated to Spanish! Just click on the Dominican flag icon at the top right of the website.

From Pisqueya to you, Happy Spanish Language Day!

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