Words that start with X are unusual, and the foods are even weirder. Just by chance, many of the foods that start with X come from Asia and the Far East. From fruits, to vanilla extract, to succulent meals and toppings, the X-factor foods are delicious AND deliver. Every single time. X marks the spot right? 🙂 Without delay, let’s get to it.
The 25 foods that start with X are Xoi, Xi Gua Lao, Xalapa Punch, Xinomavro Grapes, Xanthia, Xavier Steak, Xylitol, Xigua, Xacuti, Xampinyons en Salsa, Xidoufen, Xiaolongbao, Xoconostle, Xia Mi, Xnipec, Xia, Xouba, Xanthan Gum, Xmas Cake, Xavior Soup, Xiaodianxin, Xo Sauce, Xingren Donfu, Xiangcaojing, and Xiphias from Greece.
1. Xoi: Veitnamese Sticky Rice
Xôi (pronounced SZOY) is a sticky rice, handheld treat from Vietnam, which can be sweet or savory. Xôi consists of sticky rice and other ingredients along with special Asian seasoning.
In some parts of Vietnam, people eat Xôi as the main dish. It’s also popular around the world and commonly eaten for breakfast in many Asian countries. Common side dishes include:
- Muối Vừng (salted sesame seeds)
- Ruốc / Chà Bông (shredded pork with a pinch of salt)
- Hành Phi (pan fried shredded scallions)
- Thịt Kho Tàu (pork and eggs, scrambled until they caramelize)
- Lạp Xưởng (similar to sausage)
Be sure to check this one out if you happen to visit Vietnam and see a street vendor selling Xôi. They sell for about 20,000 Vietnamese Dollars, or $1 US dollar. Of course, this is my FAVORITE of all the foods that start with X.
2. Xi Gua Lao: Thick, Chilled “Watermelon”
If at first glance you thought this was a watermelon, you’re wrong. It looks like a watermelon, and it has some watermelon, but it’s not a watermelon.
It’s a Xi Gua Lao (pronounced ZEE-GWA-LAOW), and it’s a specialty in Chinese cuisine. A xi gua lao (or “xi” for short) is a giant, chilled watermelon stuffed dessert. Although it can be made out of many fruits, this one is made out of watermelon, agar, cherries, vanilla powder, and sugar. You make a syrup out of agar, vanilla powder, and sugar. Blend it real nice with a food processor. Then you blend it with watermelon juice and cherries to cook. The result is this awesome looking dessert!
3. Xalapa Punch: Red Wine, Rum, Black Tea
The drink item on the list is Xalapa Punch (ZALAPA). This is a true gentleman’s cocktail, and it also looks really classy depending on the glass you use.
Xalapa is made up of base consisting of red wine, rum and strong black tea. A grated orange peel, sugar syrup, and calvados round out the flavor profile. Once mixed, feel free to grab a sliced orange or lemon to garnish this silky cocktail. It’s a total party starter which your friends will also like, but don’t go too hard and drink a lot of water. The syrup, alcohol, and caffeine from the black tea can cause a quick headache if you’re even slightly dehydrated!
4. Xinomavro Grapes: For Making Wine
If you’ve ever been to Greece and had their red wine, it likely came from the sour Xinomavro grape (pronounced ZINO-MAVRO) The Xinomavro get it’s name from xino (sour) and mavro (black): it’s a sour dark grape.
The grapes are used to make red or sweet wine (me personally, I prefer dry with red meat). Wine made with these grapes ages well, thanks to their perfect acidity and tannin content. The skin of these grapes is also high in resveratrol, an ingredient shown to slow down, and sometimes reverse, the aging process. This can be combined with Negoska (another type of red wine grape) to produce very fruity wines with high alcohol content. Drinker beware!
5. Xanthia: Gin and Brandy Based Cocktail
This is an old-school cocktail from the past known as Xanthia (pronounced ZAN-THI-YA). But you can still see this sometimes at old bars. It is made of Gin, Cherry Brandy, Yellow Chartrubes, and ice cubes. You just stir them and voila! By the way, it is also a kind of moth and a goddess from Greek Mythology. Weird right? Xanthia is also one of the foods that start with X.
6. Xavier Steak: Add Asparagus and Cheese
Xavier steak is a very easy dish to make because it contains three basic ingredients we love. Those ingredients are steak, asparagus, and cheese. Usually the steak is a cut of New York Strip, but I prefer to use sirloin, which is a far more affordable cut. If you’re feeling fancy you can use a small filet instead. Some may argue that putting cheese on a steak would be a massacre, but we disagree. Have you ever tried it? It’s an amazing combo! This is what the famous chef Gordon Ramsay always says is “delicious”: meat and cheese.
7. Xylitol: Natural Sweetener
You’ve probably seen this one before: Xylitol (ZI-LI-TOL). Xylitol is a natural sweetener, contained in one of the most common daily products we all know and love: chewing gum! Xylitol does not include any fructose however, so it makes for a good alternative to sugar if you have any diabetic or pre-diabetic issues. Without fructose, there is no impact on blood sugar (glucose) levels, and without that, the pancreas is not needed to process any glucose for muscle tissue. Xylitol is a sugar substitute made from plant fibers, totally naturally sweet, so you don’t have to worry about putting something artificial in your body.
8. Xigua: Mandarin for “Watermelon”
Another cousin of the watermelon, Xigua (pronounced SHEE-GUA), are not your ordinary melons. They look like yellow watermelon and taste slightly different. These funky melon things come from Africa originally, although China produces 61% of the global supply. So much in fact, the name Xigua actually means watermelon in Chinese. Iran, Turkey and Brazil produce the rest of the global supply. Xigua a member of the gourd family just like ordinary watermelons and 100 other variants!
9. Xacuti: Spicy Curry With White Poppy
If you’ve ever been to India, you have already heard of this one. Xacuti (pronounced ZA-COU-TI) is one of the foods that start with X, and is a dish that was originated in Goa, India. It is made of chicken, chilies, different masalas, potatoes, white poppy seeds, and shaved coconut. To be honest, it looks quite tasty.
10. Xampinyons: “Spanish” for Edible Mushrooms
Ok, so we are definitely cheating here with having this on the list. A xampinyon is the Spanish way to say champignon (the X is used to make the “ch” sound, which Spanish doesn’t have). So it’s not really a food that starts with X, but it kind of is :). Xampinyons in salsa means mushroom in sauce, or literally mushroom sauce. Our favorite is one that incorporates garlic, champignons, sherry, water, tomato puree, and black pepper. Xampiyons En Salsa Mushrooms has low caloric content, making it a perfect lunch for people who like eating light. You can also consume it with rice for a denser meal.
11. Xidoufen: Boiled Pea Meal Soup
Xidoufen (pronounced SZEE-DU-FIN) is a famous soup from Chinese cuisine. It is made of peas, spring onion, garlic, coriander, ginger, and dry chili flakes. A healthy way to begin a winter day which will warm your stomach and keep you warm when you go to work. Chinese people have many foods that start with X.
12. Xiaolongbao: Chinese Dumplings
This is a great one. The Xiaolongbao (pronounced ZI-OW-LONG-BOW) is a steamed dumpling. It is named after the Xiaolong, which is a steaming basket made out of bamboo. Virtually every culture has some type of dumpling, and it can be filled with meat or vegetables. The common vegetables are carrots and cabbage, while the meats include pork or chicken. These dumplings go great with a mix of hot sauce and red chili sauce!
13. Xoconostle: Prickly Pear Cactus
Here we have another fruit in our list of foods that start with X. Xoconostle (pronounced ZOCO-NOS-TL) grows on a prickly pear cactus, and is quite common in Central Mexico. This one is a very sour fruit, so you should not eat it alone, and it’s often used to add flavors to salsas and mole, which are traditional Mexican marinades used as a sauce.
14. Xia Mi: Dried Shrimp & Rice
Xia Mi (pronounced ZIA-MEE) means “Rice Shrimp” in Chinese. It can be cooked but more often it is dried shrimp that is placed over fresh steamed rice. The soft and crunch combination between the rice and dried shrimp makes for a unique texture and flavor profile. This meal is commonly eaten in rural parts of Asia, especially China, and goes great with some red hot chili sauce, like Sriracha. Although it means rice shrimp, it does not actually include rice; it’s just usually served over rice.
They are used to increase the flavor of the dish because this brings out the savory umami flavor in it. Umami is one of the five basic tastes. There is sweetness, sourness, bitterness, saltiness and there is Umami. If you want to know more about it, check it out here!
15. Xnipec: Mexican Onion Salsa
Xnipec (pronounced ZNI-PAYK) is a traditional salsa that is being served in homes, restaurants, and cafeterias. It is a good combination with tortilla chips if you do not want to use ordinary tomato salsa. Because it is moderately hot and has a fresh fruity flavor. It contains Habanero peppers, tomatoes, small red onion, cilantro, and orange/lime juice. You will love it!
16. Xia: Dried Shrimp
Xia means Shrimp in Chinese. You’re already familiar with this one, and it’s best served over steamed rice!
17. Xouba: Small Sardine-Like Fish
Xouba (pronounced ZU-BA) is a fish that looks like a sardine. It is found mainly near the coast of Spain and holds a tight place within the old Spanish cuisine. I don’t know, I always thought that fish names should at least sound familiar. Never would’ve guessed that I would see a fish between foods that start with X.
18. Xanthan Gum: Used for Cooking
Xanthan Gum (pronounced ZAN-THAN) has many industrial uses because it is being used as an all-purpose thickener. It goes really well with gravies and sauces. Xanthan Gum is a product of fermentation of corn sugar. It is is also one of the foods that start with X.
Xanthan Gum is a great substitute for gelatin in recipes with the purpose of stabilizing suspensions. The upside of the Xanthan Gum is, that it is vegan. Gelatin comes from animals, rendering it non-vegan. There are many people out there that show allergic reactions to dairy, soy, and eggs. Xanthan Gum is a great substitute for using gelatin.
Usage of Xanthan Gum
Furthermore, you do not need to cool or heat the Xanthan Gum to get the jelly texture. It just jellifies after getting in contact with a liquid. It is not affected by Acid or heat, making it a perfect substitute for gelatin, because it can be used in a very wide variety of juices and sauces.
The ideal amount to use Xanthan Gum in your recipes is, to use about 1/8 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum per cup of liquid. The mixture is then to be blended with a blender. If you try to blend it with your hands, you will not catch up to its jellifying speed, resulting in clumps in the mixture. That is why it needs to be constantly blended/mixed in the process of making.
To form the best texture, you should first blend the Xanthan Gum with oil, then you should apply soy milk or rice milk into it. This will result in the best possible texture. This way, the sauce will be rich and deep in taste, which is normally achieved by cream, eggs, or butter. The mix will get thicker as you add more Xanthan Gum into it. Keep on reading! We are almost at the end.
19. Xmas Cake: Holiday Sweets
This one is a bit tricky I know, but we really would like to mention this one. It is the Xmas or Christmas Cake. Xmas cakes are as you can assume, eaten in times of christmas. The unique property of this cake is to add brandy, rum, or whiskey to keep the cake moist. It also has many dried fruits inside, this way the fruity flavor gets combined with the alcohol, creating an amazing taste to warm up your belly after eating it. Yum! Just what I need on a snowy winter day.
A tip while making christmas cake, you need to feed it with alcohol in advance to both keep it moist and increase the alcohol content. You should stop feeding it with alcohol, so that the top crust gets dry and you will have the ability to perform the icing much better.
20. Xavier Soup: Chicken and Parmesan Dumplings
Xavier Soup is an Italian soup named after Saint Francis Xavier. He was a Spanish missionary in the past. Xavier soup is a chicken soup with parmesan dumplings. When chicken is combined with parmesan, it is going to feel like Italy inside your mouth.
Actually, let me give you the recipe on how to do it 🙂
Get a baking paper and fit a piping bag. It needs to have a large round tip, about half an inch in diameter.
Mix the flour, cream, and butter together over low heat in a saucepan. After it reaches the texture of the soft dough, remove the saucepan from the heat. After that, you need to add peppers, nutmeg, eggs, cinnamon, salt, and parsley. Stir very fast and hard to combine them as much as possible.
Fill in the dough into the piping bag and form small dumplings by squeezing the piping bag. Let your delicious dumplings rest for about half an hour.
21. Xiaodianxin: Simple Sugar Cookie
This is a very simple cookie from China. Yet another item in our list of foods that start with X that melts in your mouth. This is actually the most famous feature of butter cookies. They literally melt in your mouth as it touches your tongue. They are Chinese butter cookies that melt in your mouth after the second you start chewing them. It is made out of flour, sugar, milk, butter, and corn starch. The word itself means “cookie” in Chinese. Ah yes, also it is one of the foods that start with X.
22. Xo Sauce: Spicy Asian Seafood Sauce
It is originated in the Cantonese cuisine within China. Xo Sauce is a spicy seafood sauce. Very popular in the Cantonese region. It contains dried seafood and cured ham. Another very interesting fact about the Xo Sauce is, that it has an umami flavor. The name, XO Sauce comes from fine cognac which also is eXtra Old (XO). At home, many people use this sauce to enhance the flavor of fried rice.
23. Xingren Donfu: Almond Milk Jello
Xingren Donfu is one of the foods that start with X and is a very popular dessert that belongs to Chinese cuisine, especially in Beijing. It has also started to spread out from China to the world. It is made of almond milk, gelatin, sugar, and agar. Has a really soft and smooth texture. It literally melts in your mouth. Therefore, it is a very good option for children of a young age. I really like desserts or food that has this texture. For me, if a food melts in my mouth so that I do not have to chew it at all, it is a huge plus for me.
24. Xiangcaojing: Vanilla Extract
Xiangcaojing actually means vanilla extract in Chinese. It is being used in Vietnamese, Chinese, and other Asian cuisines. It is used in many desserts like cakes, brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and many more! Adding vanilla extract really alters the food’s taste. So be sure to use it. The main ingredient of the vanilla extract is vanilla of course, but it contains many more ingredients to give it the deep and complex flavor.
25. Xiphias: Greek for “Swordfish”
The Greek word Xiphias means swordfish. Another funky name for swordfish is broadbills in English, because swordfish have very broad, sword like bills. Swordfish is classified as an oily fish, making it extra delicious when pan seared – it just gets so juicy! However, you should be warned, that Swordfish meat has high toxicity levels that may lead to poisoning. It contains methylmercury, so it is recommended by the FDA, that children and pregnant women should not eat Xiphias meat.
Another interesting information about Xiphias meat is, that they can sometimes have an orange-tint in color. This is caused by their diets, especially if the fish has eaten lot of shrimps. These Swordfishes are called pumpkin swordfish, and they are way more expensive than their white counterparts.
Not like other fishes that you consume on a regular basis, this fish is mainly sold in forms of steaks. This is because the Swordfish is.. well.. a big fish. Since it is mostly sold as a steak, most popular option to cook this fish is to grill it. Imagine eating swordfish grilled on a skewer! My god, that would be amazing. I should totally give it a try next time when I’m at the East Coast. In the East Coast of USA, Swordfish usually have a rosier flesh, which should look great on a grill!
Other Foods that Start with X
Is there a snack food that starts with X?
Depending on where you’re at, Xi Gua Lao is a very popular snack food, especially on a hot day. Xia is also a snack that goes great with an ice cold beverage (I prefer beer). Another delightful snack on a hot day is Xingren Donfu, which is the almond jello. These snack foods that start with X are a fantastic and refreshing way to relax on a hot day.
Fruit Foods that Starts with X
The fruit in this post that start with X include:
- Xi Gua Lao – Thick, chilled watermelon.
- Xigua – Mandarin for watermelon.
- Xoconostle – prickly cactus pear
Conclusion on Foods that start with X
This list was actually harder to craft when compared to other articles of ours in our Foodcyclopedia. Because as stated above, there are not many foods that start with X. Mainly they are from the Asian region because they have many foods that start with an X.
I have taken a look at the list again and was wondering which one my favorite is. I think my favorite would be the Xalapa Punch because I am in love with cocktails! If you also love cocktails and if you love making cocktails at home, I suggest you read the Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David A. Embury. Be sure to leave a comment and tell us what your favorite was. See you in another article!
This is Berk from the JarKitchen Team. I am a Mechatronics Engineer and I like cooking in my spare time. By bringing my engineering background into the business, product reviews are a specialty for me. During my travels across Europe, I have learned/tested many recipes and now I plan to bring them to you here!