Whether you are just curious or have a project that requires foods that start with X, we are covering 33 foods that start with X in this helpful guide!
If you are looking for a food that starts with X, we’ve got you covered. As you may have guessed, most of these are pretty obscure but there are some familiar ones! Interestingly, many of the foods and dishes beginning with X come from China and South America.
Why do we sometimes refer to Christmas as X-Mass?The answer is at the end of the post!
Foods That Begin With X
Here are 33 foods that star with the letter “X” from all over the world. Have you heard of them all?
Origin: Xacoco is a traditional Peruvian dish, primarily associated with the Amazonian region of Peru. It is often made by indigenous communities and reflects their culinary traditions.
Taste and Use: The taste of Xacoco can vary, but it typically features a combination of earthy and savory flavors. It often includes ingredients like fish, plantains, yucca, and regional spices, resulting in a rich and hearty dish with a uniquely Amazonian taste. It’s sometimes prepared for special occasions or as a way to celebrate cultural heritage.
Origin: Xacuti is a flavorful curry dish that originates from the Indian state of Goa. It has Portuguese influences due to Goa’s history as a Portuguese colony, resulting in a unique blend of Indian and Portuguese culinary traditions.
Taste and Use: Xacuti is known for its rich and aromatic flavor. It typically includes meat (often chicken, crab, beef or lamb), a variety of spices (such as coriander, cumin, cloves, and cinnamon), coconut, and sometimes cashew nuts, onions, poppyseeds, or dried red chillies. The dish is creamy, mildly spicy, and has a complex, nutty taste. It is normally served with rice or bread. It is a favorite among both locals and tourists, and is typically enjoyed on special occasions and celebrations.
XAMPINYONS EN SALSA
Origin: Xampinyons En Salsa is a Spanish tapas dish, and its name translates to “Mushrooms in Sauce” in English. We know it sounds like chips and salsa, but it is a long way from it.
Taste and Uses: This dish features mushrooms (xampinyons) cooked in a flavorful sauce. The taste can vary depending on the specific sauce used, but it often includes garlic, onions, tomatoes, and various herbs and spices. It results in a savory and aromatic flavor profile with the umami richness of mushrooms. It is typically served as an appetizer or a small plate in tapas bars and restaurants. The sauce enhances the earthy flavors of the mushrooms, making it a delicious and satisfying dish for mushroom lovers.
Origin: Xanthan gum is not a food in itself but rather a food additive and thickening agent. It was discovered in the United States in the 1960s through the fermentation of sugars by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium.
Taste and Use: Xanthan gum is virtually tasteless and odorless, making it an ideal additive for various food products. It’s used in the food industry to improve the texture and stability of many different products. It’s often used in gluten-free baking to mimic the properties of gluten in wheat-based products. It can also be found in salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, and other processed foods as a thickening and stabilizing agent to prevent ingredient separation and improve shelf life. Additionally, it is used in personal care products and pharmaceuticals for similar purposes.
Origin: Xanthium strumarium, commonly known as cocklebur or rough cocklebur, is a plant species that produces small, spiky fruits. It is native to North America, but can now be found in Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Unfortunately, it is largely considered an invasive weed. This fruit may be the strangest entry among foods that begin with the letter X.
Taste and Uses: The seeds of Xanthium strumarium are toxic and not meant for consumption. The fruit itself is typically not consumed due to its bitterness and toxicity. Not surprisingly, it has limited culinary uses. Historically, some Native American tribes used it for medicinal purposes, but it’s not commonly used today. It is mainly considered a weed or invasive plant in agriculture.
Origin: Xarel-lo is a white wine grape variety primarily grown in Catalonia, Spain. It is one of the three main grapes used in the production of the traditional Spanish sparkling wine called Cava. The other two are Parellada and Macabeo grapes.
Taste and Uses: Xarel-lo grapes produce wines that are crisp, with good acidity and a refreshing citrusy character. The taste can vary depending on the winemaking process.
Origin: Xarém is a traditional dish from Portugal, particularly popular in the Algarve region which is located in the southern part of the country.
Taste and Uses: Xarém is a porridge-like dish made from cornmeal, water, and various seasonings. The taste can vary depending on the specific recipe, but it often has a hearty and slightly savory flavor. It may be served as a side dish along seafoodlike grilled fish or shellfish. It can, however, also be a main course and is sometimes flavored with ingredients like garlic, herbs, and olive oil. It can also be used as a base for stews or served with vegetables.
Origin: Xarque is a type of dried meat that is popular in Bolivia and other parts of South America.
Taste and Use: The taste of xarque can vary depending on the meat used and method of preparation. It is typically salted and dried, resulting in a concentrated, savory flavor. It can be quite salty and is often used as a flavoring agent in dishes. Xarque is commonly used as an ingredient in Bolivian cuisine to add flavor to soups, stews, and rice dishes. To use it, xarque is rehydrated and then incorporated into various recipes to impart its salty, meaty taste.
Xavier steak is an American steak preparation in which the steak is topped with Worcestershire sauce, asparagus spears, Swiss cheese, and olive oil. It is often said that Xavier steak is named after St Xavier, but that is also contested. No matter, it is an inventive way to serve a fine steak.
Xavier soup is a traditional Italian soup, and like the steak, we think it was originally named for Saint Francis Xavier. It’s often served on December 3 which is Saint Xavier’s day. It is generally made with hand rolled dumplings, chicken stock, cream, butter, parmigiano-reggiano, and herbs.
Xerophyte is a term for a species of plant that has adapted to survive in environments with little water. Okay, so we are sort of cheating here. It isn’t a specific fruit but rather a grouping of fruits known for their resilience to drought. The much-loved pineapple is a xerophyte.
Origin: Xiaolongbao, also known as soup dumplings, originates from the Jiangnan region of China, specifically Shanghai. Xiaolongbao are often referred to as a kind of dumpling, but shouldn’t be confused with wontons.
Taste and Uses: Xiaolongbao are small steamed dumplings filled with meat (typically pork) and a flavorful, savory broth. They have a delicate and slightly chewy skin and are known for their rich and savory taste. Xiaolongbao are typically served as a snack or appetizer. They are often enjoyed with a dipping sauce made from black vinegar, soy sauce, and sometimes ginger. Eating them involves sipping the hot broth from the dumpling before consuming the rest of the dumpling.
Origin: Xidoufen is a dish that originates from the Yunnan province in southwestern China.
Taste and Uses: Xidoufen is made with boiled pea meal, ginger, onion, chili flakes, garlic, and pepper oil. It has a bold, umami flavor with a combination of sourness and spiciness. It’s often garnished with various toppings such as peanuts, tofu, and vegetables. Xidoufen is a popular street food in Yunnan, and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
Origin: Xia mi is a type of seafood, specifically Chinese freshwater prawns. These prawns are commonly found in Chinese cuisine, particularly in the regions with access to freshwater rivers and lakes.
Taste and Uses: Xia mi have a sweet and succulent flavor with a firm texture. They are known for their delicate, slightly briny taste, making them a prized ingredient in Chinese cooking. Xia mi can be used in a variety of Chinese dishes, such as stir-fries, soups, and seafood boils. They are often served with a simple garlic and ginger sauce or incorporated into more complex dishes like Cantonese-style prawn dumplings.
Origin: Xiaolongbao, also known as soup dumplings, originate from Shanghai, China. They are a popular dim sum item and street food throughout China.
Taste and Uses: Xiaolongbao consist of a thin, delicate dumpling wrapper filled with a savory mixture of pork and sometimes crab or shrimp. They are known for their juicy and flavorful broth that is trapped inside the dumpling. When properly prepared, they are a nice blend of savory, umami-rich flavors. Xiaolongbao are typically served as a snack or appetizer. They are eaten by carefully biting or slurping the dumpling, releasing the hot, flavorful broth inside while savoring the tender meat filling.
Origin: Xidoufen is a popular dish from the Yunnan province of China. It is a type of rice noodle soup with a spicy and sour flavor profile.
Taste and uses: Xidoufen features rice noodles served in a tangy, spicy broth made with ingredients like fermented soybeans, chilies, and vinegar. It has a complex and bold taste, combining sourness, spiciness, and umami flavors. Xidoufen is a regional specialty in Yunnan and is often enjoyed as a main course or street food. It’s a hearty and satisfying dish, especially popular among those who enjoy spicy and sour flavors.
Origin: Xilacayota squash is native to the Andean region of South America, and is commonly grown in South & Central America as well as parts of the southwestern United States. All types of squash are native to the Americas, but this one is a bit of an oddity in that it is a winter squash harvested in August before it is fully ripe.
Taste and Uses: This squash has a mildly sweet and nutty flavor, similar to butternut squash or pumpkin. Its flesh is tender and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. Xilacayota squash is versatile and can be used in various ways. It is often used in Mexican cuisine to make dishes like calabacitas (a sautéed squash dish), soups, stews, or even desserts like empanadas. The seeds of the squash can also be roasted and eaten as a snack or garnish.
Origin: Ximenia americana is believed to have originated in Central or South America, and it has a long history of traditional use by indigenous peoples in various regions. The tree is now found in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, the Caribbean islands, and parts of Florida in the United States.
Taste and Uses: The fruit of Ximenia americana is small, typically about the size of a cherry, and is generally yellow or orange when ripe. The taste of the fruit can vary, but it is often described as sweet and tart, with a flavor reminiscent of plums or apricots. The flesh of the fruit is juicy and somewhat fibrous, and it contains a single, large seed in the center. The skin can be somewhat tough and may need to be peeled or softened before eating. Ximenia americana fruits can be consumed fresh, and their sweet and tangy flavor makes them suitable for eating out of hand. They are also used to make jams, jellies, and preserves.
Origin: Ximenia caffra, also known as wild plum or hog plum, is native to various regions in Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
Taste and Uses: The fruit has a slightly tangy and tart flavor when ripe, similar to a sour plum. It may vary in taste depending on its ripeness and the specific region where it grows. Ximenia caffra fruits are typically eaten fresh, dried, or used to make jams, jellies, and traditional African beverages. In some cultures, the seeds are extracted and used to make cooking oil.
Origin: Xingren Doufu, also known as Almond Tofu, is a traditional Chinese dessert that originated in ancient China. It is believed to have been developed during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). It is a gelatin style dessert made from sugar, gelatin, and almond milk, and is a common dessert in Beijing.
Taste and Uses: Almond tofu has a delicate, sweet, and nutty flavor. It has a smooth and slightly gelatinous texture, similar to regular tofu but much softer. Xingren Doufu is typically served as a dessert, and is often garnished with a syrup made from sugar and fruit juices. Sometimes, it’s also topped with fruit, such as lychee or strawberries, for added flavor and presentation.
Origin: Xinomavro is a red wine grape grown in Macedonia and Greece. Until 2010 the total world cultivation of these grapes was under 5,000 acres, but in 2013 some were planted in China. Perhaps their popularity will go with increased availability.
Taste: The rich red wine produced from these grapes is said, by some, to be the best wine made in Greece.
Origin: Xiphias is the Greek word for swordfish, scientifically known as Xiphias gladius. We don’t like to put in a lot of scientific names, but hey Xiphia Gladius just sounds like a cool gladiator name. Any way, swordfish are found in warm and temperate oceans around the world, and are commonly associated with Mediterranean cuisine.
Taste and Uses: Swordfish has a firm, meaty texture and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. It is often compared to steak, making it a popular choice for grilling or broiling. Swordfish is a versatile fish used in various culinary preparations. It can be grilled, pan-fried, broiled, or even used in sushi and sashimi. It pairs well with a variety of seasonings and sauces.
Origin: Xnipec is a traditional salsa from the Yucatan region of Mexico. It’s a spicy salsa that’s made from habanero peppers. It generally also contains purple onions, salt, sometimes oregano, vinegar, bay leaves, and bitter orange juice.
Taste and Uses: Xnipec is known for its intense, spicy, and tangy flavor. Xnipec is typically very hot due to the use of habanero peppers. It also has a refreshing kick from ingredients like lime juice and cilantro. Xnipec is commonly served as a condiment alongside traditional Yucatecan dishes, such as cochinita pibil (marinated pork) or panuchos (stuffed tortillas). Its fiery heat and zesty flavor add a vibrant kick to these dishes.
Origin: XO sauce is a spicy seafood sauce from Hong Kong. It is commonly used in southern Chinese regions like Guangdong. It got its name from its status as a luxury item. It was named in keeping with another luxury item: XO cognac.
Taste: It’s a very spicy, seafood based sauce that is often served with seafood to add flavor. The sauce itself is a mixture of chili peppers, scallops, ham, and garlic.
Origin: Xocolātl, often referred to as “bitter water,” was a beverage made by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans in Mesoamerica. It predates modern chocolate, and “xocolatl” is both the Mayan and Aztec word for chocolate.
Taste and Uses: Unlike the sweet, creamy chocolate we’re familiar with today, Xocolātl had a bitter taste. It was made from roasted cacao beans, water, and sometimes spices like chili and vanilla. Xocolātl was consumed as a ceremonial and for the affluent an everyday beverage by the Aztecs and Mayans. It was considered a luxury item and had cultural significance in their rituals and traditions. You can easily find recipes for Xocolātl online should you want to make the drink the Mayans so fervently revered.
XOCONOSTLE CACTUS FRUIT
Origin: The xoconostle cactus fruit, scientifically known as Opuntia matudae, is native to Mexico and is commonly found in arid regions of North and Central America.
Taste and Uses: Xoconostle has a sour and tart taste, somewhat similar to a green apple or lime. The flavor can be quite intense and is often used to add tanginess to dishes. It is a versatile fruit used in Mexican cuisine. It is often used to make sauces, salsas, and preserves. It can also be eaten raw or added to salads. In addition to culinary uses, xoconostle is believed to have medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicine.
Origin: Xoi, a Vietnamese version of sticky rice, is a popular dish in Vietnamese cuisine. Xôi can be a savory or sweet Vietnamese favorite made from glutinous rice and other ingredients
Taste and Uses: Xoi, has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. The sticky texture comes from glutinous rice. It can be prepared with various ingredients, making it either sweet or savory. Xoi can be served as a main dish or a snack. Sweet versions are often topped with mung bean paste, coconut, or sesame seeds, while savory versions may include toppings like shredded chicken, sausage, or fried shallots. It’s commonly enjoyed as a street food or on-the-go breakfast item in Vietnam. It is also eaten at both lunch and dinner as a main course in many regions of Vietnam.
Origin: Xoi gac, red sticky rice with baby jackfruit, is a traditional Vietnamese dish that originates from the northern regions of Vietnam. It is especially popular during special occasions and festivals.
Taste: Xoi gac is a vibrant and colorful dish. It is made by mixing glutinous rice with the flesh of gac fruit, which has a mild, slightly sweet taste. The rice takes on the deep red color of the fruit, making it visually appealing. Xoi gac is often served as a festive dish during celebrations and ceremonies in Vietnam. It is also considered a symbol of good luck and prosperity. Beyond its cultural significance, people just like its unique flavor and color.
Origin: Xouba are a variety of small sardines and are commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, particularly around Spain and Portugal.
Taste: Xouba has a strong, fishy flavor, and is often enjoyed grilled, fried, or pickled. The taste can vary depending on the preparation method and accompanying seasonings. Young xoubas are sold canned in oil for use in a variety of European cuisines.
Origin: Xylaria mushrooms are a diverse group of fungi found worldwide. They are typically found growing on decaying wood, particularly in forested areas.
Taste: The taste of Xylaria mushrooms can vary among different species, but they generally have a mild to earthy flavor. Some species may have a slightly bitter or nutty taste. They are used in various culinary dishes and are often prized for their unique appearance.
Xylocarp is really just a term that refers to any fruit with a hard woody outer layer. The coconut being the obvious example of a xylocarp.
Origin: Xylocarpus granatum, commonly known as the cannonball mangrove or cedar mangrove, is found in coastal regions of the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean.
Taste and Uses: The fruit has a hard woody shell, and is not typically consumed for its flesh. Instead, it is known for its distinctive large seeds, which are often referred to as “cannonballs.” These seeds are not edible and do not have a notable taste. While the fruit itself is not consumed, the Xylocarpus granatum tree has some traditional uses in coastal communities. The timber from this tree is used for construction and boat-building due to its durability and resistance to water. It is also valued for its ability to stabilize coastal areas and protect against erosion. So, I guess don’t look for this one at Trader Joe’s.
Origin: Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is commonly derived from birch trees or corn cobs. It was first discovered in the 19th century and has been used as a sugar substitute since the 1960s.
Taste and Uses: Xylitol tastes sweet, similar to sucrose (table sugar), but it has a slightly cooling sensation in the mouth. Xylitol is used as a sugar substitute in a wide range of food products, including sugar-free chewing gum, candies, baked goods, and sugar-free syrups. It is popular among people with diabetes and those looking to reduce their sugar intake due to its low glycemic index and dental health benefits. Xylitol is also used in some oral care products like toothpaste and mouthwash.
That concludes our look at foods starting with X. There are certainly a few oddities in the mix and a lot of exotic fruits and vegetables. If you are looking for other such foods, perhaps check out our articles on 129 Tropical Fruits and 40 Exotic Fruits. And, as always, happy cooking from your friends at Live Eat Learn!
The X comes from the Greek letter Chi from the word Christos meaning “anointed, covered in oil”. This became Christ in English. The suffix MAS is from the Old English word mass. Thus X-Mass.