IELTS & TOEFL Vocabulary: Talking about Food


A common speaking topic on both the IELTS and TOEFL is food. In this class, I will teach you some vocabulary and grammar that you can use when talking about food. These expressions can help you score higher on both tests. I will also give you some common examples of speaking questions you may hear. If you are not taking these tests, this lesson will still help you improve your vocabulary and conversational English. Try our quiz at to practice these words. Good luck on your test!


Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video, I am going to teach you some great expressions and some great things you can say about food. Now, this video will be very, very helpful if you are taking the IELTS, because they often ask you about food in the speaking section, and same with if you’re doing the TOEFL, because oftentimes there is a question on food; not always, but often. Also, just this video can benefit everybody, because food is something a lot of people talk about, and so these expressions are very good to use in everyday situations. All right, so let’s get started.

I have, here, a question. This question comes up a lot on IELTS, sometimes on TOEFL, and in everyday life. The question is: “What kind of food do you like? And what kind of food do you dislike or not like?” So I’ve written here some key expressions you can use to… Which mean “like” and “dislike”. Now, for IELTS and TOEFL people, you really want to show off your vocabulary, so these are some great ways to do that. All right, so let’s look at some of these.

The first one: “I really like…” This is better than just saying: “I like”, because you’re actually, you know, giving an amount. “I really like something.” So, for me: What kind of food do you like? I like Korean food, so I can say: “I really like bibimbap.”, “I enjoy bibimbap.”, “My favourite dish is bibimbap.” “Dish” is similar to food, but it’s not… We wouldn’t use it for talking about apples or oranges. We use it for talking about a cooked meal. Okay? So a “dish” means something that is a meal. So: “My favourite dish is spaghetti.”, “I’m keen on pizza.” And here, be careful with this part: “on”. “I’m keen on pizza.”

Okay, for these two, if you’re comparing two foods, you can use these two expressions. So, for example: “I prefer bibimbap to sushi. I prefer lasagna to pizza.” So it means I’m saying: “I like pizza better than sushi.” Okay? So, key here, preposition “to”. “I prefer __________ to __________.” Similar-I’ll jump on this side-“I’d rather”, “I’d rather eat”. This means the same thing as “I prefer”. The “d” here stands for “would”. “I’d rather eat bibimbap than sushi. I’d rather eat Chinese dumplings than McDonalds.” Okay? So you can use these expressions, too. Very helpful for TOEFL and IELTS.

Okay, what about for dislike, things we don’t like? Here are some examples. “I really don’t like…” For me: “I really don’t like McDonalds. I really don’t like hamburgers. I really don’t like hotdogs.” This has the exact same meaning: “I can’t stand hamburgers. I can’t stand anchovies.”, “I’m not keen on tuna. I’m not keen on oysters.” Okay? And finally: “I really dislike… I really dislike sardines.” Okay? So these all mean “don’t like”, and these all mean “like”. These are great expressions to use when you’re talking about food on the TOEFL or the IELTS, or everyday life. So now let’s look at some new vocabulary we can use when describing food.

Okay, so another question they might ask you on the IELTS or the TOEFL, or maybe one of your friends might ask you this, is to: “Describe your favourite dish.” Okay, I’m just going to say this very quickly: The pronunciation of this word: “favourite”, “favourite”. Okay? Not “fav-our-ite”. And “dish”, what’s a dish again? A dish is like a meal. Okay? So: “Describe your favourite meal.” This is a very common IELTS question and TOEFL. So, when you describe your favourite dish, you might want to talk about how good it is. Okay? “It’s incredible, it’s amazing.” So here are some words we can use that can help you maybe get a higher score on your vocabulary. The first one… And these all mean pretty much “delicious”.


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  1. Emma, congrats for the video! I have a question: wouldn't it be grammatically correct to say " I don't really" (adverb after auxiliary) rather than "I really don't"? I can understand the difference however I think that may mislead students when using adverbs of frequency… would you mind explaining it ?

  2. I really like the way you explain teacher, you're very competent, I like every day to watch your lessons and try to practice very often ,,,,,thanks teacher you're amazing❤
    I m haïtien

    you're Favorite teacher 😍


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