I cannot tell you the amount of times I've gotten made fun of in my family for pronouncing something "the American way." Given that I, and all of them, are born and raised in America, we do identify proudly as Americans. But there is and always will be pride in our heritage, and with that comes pride in the right way to pronounce Middle Eastern foods.

I do have to give it to them though – most people pronounce common Middle Eastern foods completely incorrectly. So, I'm here to break it all down for you, so you can order your Halal (pronounced: ha-lahl) with confidence.

1. Hummus

sweet, vegetable, carrot
Ellie Haun

No, it's not humm-iss. It's homm-us. Emphasis on the "H." I know, I know, you're probably thinking to yourself: has my entire life been a lie? No, it hasn't, but it's about time you start pronouncing this delicious chickpea spread right.

2. Tahini

sweet, dairy product, milk
Kirby Kelly

Tah-hee-nay. If you want to get really fancy, you can add in an Arabic accept, or at least attempt to. But whatever you do, do not pronounce it ta-hin-ee. Please.

3. Falafel

tomato, falafel, sandwich, lettuce, vegetable, bread
Deena Khattab

This one will come as a surprise to us all: it's not pronounced fa-la-full. In actuality, it's pronounced fell-al-full. Yeah, I know, your mind is blown. But pronounce it right and you can even start making your own at home.

4. Za'atar

corn, relish, condiment, herb, cereal
Tess Wei

This thyme spice mix is all the rage lately – typically on "zayt ou za'atar" (read: spice mix and olive oil on bread), it's now featured on top of avocado toasts and roasted veggies. But the apostrophe in the middle of the word confuses so many people. It's pronounced za-ah-tar. You can use the break in between the two a's to take a breath. 

5. Baba Ganoush

meat, sauce, vegetable
Nina Lincoff

What is baba ganoush? It's basically the eggplant version of hummus. How do you say it? Ba-ba-rah-nou-j. It's complicated, so I won't really judge you for saying it baba-ga-noush. 

6. Baklava

rice, chicken, beancurd, vegetable, pork, meat, baklava
Samantha Dockser

Bak-lau-wa. Not bak-la-va. Get it right, people. 

7. Shawarma

kebab, sandwich, burrito, chicken
Becca Berland

I had an entire conversation with someone who kept pronouncing this delicious sliced meat "shaw-arm-a." It was a difficult conversation to say the least. Pronounce it like this instead: sha-warm-a. Roll the "R" a bit for a little flare.

8. Tabbouleh

Please, please, do not say "tab-oo-lee." It's ta-bool-ay. Emphasis on the -ay. 

9. Labneh 

sweet, chocolate
Christina Chin

Move over, Greek yogurt, the thicker, creamier, more delicious yogurt has entered the room. And it's pronounced leb-nay. Find some of this stat and sprinkle some crushed walnuts or dates on it, you won't be sorry.

10. Bulgur

sesame seed, corn, wheat, cereal
Amy Yi

Okay, this one I actually have a lot of trouble with – my mom can tell you that. This hearty grain is often used instead of quinoa or farro, and is not pronounced bull-gurr. That just sounds like a raging bull. Say it slow: birr-ruh-ll. Yeah, it's really hard, I won't judge you if you can't get it.

11. Kibbeh

If you don't know what kibbeh is, it's basically a meat and grain ball (hint: the grain is bulgur). Many people pronounce it "kib-bee," but little do they know it's really pronounced kib-bay, again, emphasis on the -ay. 

Well, there you have it, the real way to pronounce your favorite Middle Eastern foods. Confused? I would be too, not going to lie. But you know what they say: fake it 'til you make it.