No matter how much you think you know about food, we guarantee that there will be items on this list that you have never even heard of before.
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Broaden your tastes and culinary experiences and check out all of these M foods.
1. Macadamia Nut
Macadamia nuts are large and soft nuts. They have a surprisingly creamy texture. This is due to their high fat content.
Like many other nuts, macadamia nuts have a high presence of unsaturated fats. Macadamia nuts make a great healthy snack. A handful a day (around 95 nuts) is the recommended serving size.
Okay, so you probably have heard about this one. Whether you regularly make macaroni and cheese or used the pasta pieces to make crafts when you were in Kindergarten. This is delicious pasta made by pushing pasta dough through a macaroni shaped machine.
You will likely have seen videos of these machines online as they are super satisfying. If you haven’t, make sure to check out videos of pasta factories.
Macaroons are cookies primarily made from coconut. The word “macaroon” is often used to refer to the delicate French meringue confection made with ground almonds. But this is incorrect.
These French sweet treats are actually “macarons”. Macaroons can sometimes be made with almonds. But the vast majority are made with coconut flakes. My recipe uses both.
Mackerel is a fish that many people recognize. But it isn’t eaten all that often. Mackerel is a great health food. It is full of healthy oils. And it tastes great.
Mackerel is similar in taste and texture to tuna. But is even more beneficial as it has a lower mercury content.
5. Mad Apple
Mad apple isn’t a term used very often today. It is the name for eggplants before they were cultivated.
Despite this name, eggplants bear no relation to apples. Although their shape does appear similar to apples and they are both healthy food. .
6. Madeira Cake
Madeira cake is a light and fluffy cake. Despite its name, this cake does not originate from Madeira. Nor is it made from Madeira wine.
The cake actually comes from Britain and Ireland. It became popular during the 19th century. And is named in reference to the Madeira wine that was exceptionally popular around the same time.
Madrilène might be one of the first foods on this list that you are not familiar with. Madrilène is a clear soup that is served cold.
It is often served in coupes or other cocktail glasses. it often appears to have a jell-o consistency. But it is traditionally a very thin soup.
8. Magic Molly Potato
Magic Molly potatoes are a really beautiful vegetable. These are potatoes with a deep purple color. They might look relatively normal from the outside, even dark and unappetizing.
But once cut into, the color of these potatoes is startling. They can be cooked in the same way as most other potatoes. But are best when roasted.
9. Mahi Mahi
Mahi mahi, sometimes spelled as Mahimahi, is a fish. Mahi mahi prefers warmer climates.
It is a surface-dwelling fish that is most commonly found in waters off the Gulf of Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and the Indian Ocean. Mahi mahi has a surprisingly sweet taste and a medium to firm texture. I like mine served with some lime juice.
10. Mahkota Dewa
This is a food to look out for. Mahkota dewa are bright red fruits that are also known as “God’s Crown”. Mahkota dewa are poisonous when eaten raw.
But, when prepared correctly, they have antioxidant properties and are used in pharmaceuticals. So, this might not be a food you will often come across.
11. Mahonia Berries
Mahonia berries are the fruit of the Mahonia tree. They bear a close resemblance to blueberries. But have a dustier skin.
These berries have a very sharp flavor. They can be eaten raw or baked into other foods. This is also very similar to blueberries.
12. Maitake Mushrooms
This is one of several mushrooms on this list. Maitake mushrooms are also known as “hen-of-the-woods”, “ram’s head”, or “sheep’s head”.
Maitake mushrooms are very interesting looking mushrooms and grow in a cluster. They can be cooked in pretty much the same way as everyday mushrooms.
Maize is a cereal grain that originates from Southern Mexico. It is known as “corn” in North America and Australia. But is just as commonly referred to as maize.
Maize is one of the most commonly consumed foods around the world. It has been farmed since it was first domesticated by indigenous people in Southern Mexico some 10,000 years ago.
14. Malabar Gourd
Malabar gourds look similar to watermelons. Both on the inside and the outside. But they are actually a savory vegetable that is a species of squash.
It is closely related to the pumpkin. Almost every part of the malabar gourd is edible. You can eat its flesh, seeds, and greens.
15. Malabar Spinach
Despite its name, malabar spinach isn’t actually a kind of spinach. But it does resemble it in appearance. Malabar spinach is known by several other names.
And all of them refer to the plant as “spinach”. Malabar spinach can actually be used similarly to traditional spinach. It is most commonly used in curries. It can be easily mixed with garlic, herbs, and spices.
16. Malabar Chestnuts
Malabar chestnuts grow inside a pod. Multiple malabar chestnuts will grow within one pod and when removed they are similar in appearance to hazelnuts.
Their taste is different, however, and is close to that of peanuts. Malabar chestnuts usually grow in warmer climates.
They originate from Southern Mexico, Guyana, and Northern Brazil. They can be cooked and roasted like any other edible nut.
Malt is a cereal that is produced by a process called “malting”. Malting involves soaking the grain in water and then drying it with hot air once it has begun to germinate.
Malt is used in alcoholic drinks. You will likely be familiar with malt whiskey. It is also used in foods such as Maltesers. And can be turned into powder form and turned into a hot drink.
Mamey is a fruit that grows on the mamey sapote. It is primarily grown in Mexico and Central America. This fruit is most commonly used in milkshakes, ice creams, and other sweet dishes.
Mamey fruit is similar in color and texture to apricots. They also have a hint of apricot in their taste. They also taste similar to persimmon, sweet potato, and some spices.
Mamoncillo is also known as Spanish lime. But this is only because of their thick green skin. This is where their resemblance to limes ends.
Mamoncillo grows on soapberry trees. Their shell is relatively hard. It is harder than the skin of a lime. But softer than the shell of a nut.
Mamocillo needs to be cracked open. But this is mostly due to the soft and almost slimy texture of the fruit itself.
20. Manchego Cheese
Manchego was a very popular cheese in 2018 and 2019. This is mostly due to the sudden popularity of pouring melted cheese onto food straight from the wheel.
Manchego cheese isn’t served in exactly this way. But it is mostly often served melted. Manchego is a hard cheese that melts surprisingly well.
It originates from the La Mancha region of Spain. And is made from the milk of the Manchega sheep.
21. Mandarin Orange
Mandarins are a specific species of orange. They are squat and are quite hard when ripe. They are often confused with tangerines.
Tangerines are more commonly found than Mandarin oranges. But tangerines are actually a hybrid fruit made from Mandarin oranges and pomelo.
Mandarins are often used to make hybrid forms of citrus fruit. This is mainly because they are one of the original citrus fruit species.
Mangetout, also known as sugar peas, are green pea pods. They are much flatter than traditional pea pods.
And they can be eaten without popping the peas out of the pod. They can be cooked in several different ways. But the best is steaming. This softens the pods but doesn’t remove their flavor or crunch.
True mangetout are garden pea pods that have been picked before they are fully grown. But this isn’t always what is sold in the grocery store.
You have very likely heard of mango before. They are one of the most flavorful and refreshing stone fruits.
They have a tough skin, but some people do enjoy eating this (although it is not recommended). When ripe, mangos have a soft flesh that is full of juice.
They can be difficult to peel and often contain very large stones. They are native to South Asia and are one of the most widely cultivated fruits in the tropics.
24. Mango Chutney
Mango chutney is a rare instance of a sweet chutney. Chutney is usually salty or vinegary. But mango chutney is deliciously sweet.
Despite this, it is usually served with savory dishes. These are mostly curries, vegetables, and naan bread or poppadoms.
Mango chutney is claimed to have originated from several different regions of India. But it is definitely an Indian delicacy.
Manicotti is a type of pasta similar to cannelloni. They have ridges along the sides. And are like very large pennies.
They are served similarly to cannelloni. Manicotti tubes are often stuffed with ricotta cheese. But they are also sometimes stuffed with other foods, such as meat.
Unlike many other types of pasta, manicotti doesn’t originate from Italy. Instead, it was created in America.
26. Maple Syrup
Maple syrup is something that almost everyone knows and enjoys. Especially on pancakes. Maple syrup originates from Canada and is made from the sap of maple trees.
There are several different kinds of maple trees. But the most commonly used are the sugar maple, red maple, and black maple.
These trees store starch in their trunks and roots during the winter. This is then conveyed into sap during the spring when it is harvested.
Marang are a fruit which grows on the marang tree. Marang fruit are very similar in appearance and texture to jackfruit and are from the same genus.
Marang fruits are very large and have a hard green shell. These shells have blunt spikes all over them. Also like jackfruit, the flesh of the marang fruit is edible.
But its seeds are not. Marang primarily grow in warmer climates. Most commonly in the areas they are native to. These are Borneo, Palawan, and Mindanao Island.
28. Marble Potatoes
Marble potatoes are named so due to their size, rather than because they have a marble-like pattern. Marble potatoes are, as the name suggests, very small and round.
They are usually the standard beige of a potato. But can also grow to be red, pink, or purple. They can be cooked in the same way as other small potatoes. They are best when roasted.
Marc, also known as pomace, is the pulp retained from the crushing of fruits primarily used for their juice or oil. This primarily includes olives and grapes. This can sometimes be used as fertilizer.
But grape marc can be used to make alcohol. This is known as pomace brandy. A popular example of this is grappa.
Margarine is a spread primarily used as an alternative to butter. It is usually considered to be a healthier option. It is also usually much cheaper.
Margarine is traditionally made using the butterfat of milk. But it is also made from vegetable or olive oil.
Marikolunthu is a leafy green that isn’t very commonly used. It is similar in appearance to many herbs. It looks like a softer and fuller version of thyme.
Even when perfectly ready to eat, it has a sagging and soft appearance. It almost looks as though it’s drooping and dying. It has a fragrant woody flavor that has hints of fruit and vanilla.
Masago is the roe (or eggs) of the capelin fish. It is a high-value product and very expensive. This isn’t the kind of caviar you would most commonly find.
But it is still an expensive product. It is often mixed with wasabi which turns it green.
Mast isn’t exactly a food in itself. But it is the term that encompasses the fruit and produce of forest trees and shrubs.
These include acorns, nuts, and berries. The name “mast” comes from the Old English “mæst” which means the nuts and berries of the forest that have collected on the ground.
Maté, also known as chimarrão or cimarrón, is a strong caffeinated drink from South America. It is made from mixing the leaves of the Yerba maté plant with hot water.
It is traditionally drunk from a hollowed out calabash gourd through a metal straw.
35. Mayan Gold Potato
Mayan gold potatoes look pretty similar to standard white potatoes. Except their flesh is slightly more golden.
They are native to Peru but very commonly eaten across the world, especially in the UK. When cooked, their flesh is very light and fluffy.
Marjoram is a herb that originates from the Mediterranean. It is often confused with oregano. While they are similar herbs, they are not synonymous.
That said, marjoram can be used in a similar way to oregano. Marjoram has been popular across Europe for centuries. But did not become commonly used in the US until after the Second World War.
Marlin are a type of fish. They have a very firm texture that is comparable to steak. The flavor is similar to that of tuna but stronger.
Marlin are recognizable to their long pointed bill and thin, flat bodies. They are mostly found in tropical and subtropical waters. These include the waters of the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans.
Marmalade often has chunks of peel and rind in it. This is very different from the softness and smoothness of jam.
But the process of making marmalade is very similar to that of jam. While a kind of marmalade originates from Portugal, the spread as we know it today is from Scotland.
This is another very divisive food. Unless you are from the UK, or know a lot about the UK, you might never have heard of this food.
Marmite is a spread made from yeast. It is incredibly salty and is smothered over toast by some. And completely avoided by others. It is similar to the Australian favorite, Vegemite.
Marrow is what zucchini or courgettes grow into. This is one of the reasons zucchini is sometimes called “baby marrow”.
Despite its flavor and texture, marrow is actually a fruit. It is, however, considered to be a vegetable by chefs and is cooked as such.
Marrows are much larger than the average zucchini. And they are different in appearance as they have lighter stripes on their skin.
41. Marrowfat Peas
Marrowfat peas are mature green garden peas. They are left in the field to grow larger and dry out. Garden peas are harvested at a younger stage.
Marrowfat peas are much harder and denser than the younger garden peas. They can be eaten whole.
But they are traditionally used in the UK to make mushy peas. This is pretty self-explanatory and are marrowfat peas that have been mushed up.
Marshmallows are made from gelatin (which is usually made from ground up animal bones).
The gelatin is what gives marshmallows is soft and gooey texture. Marshmallows are made from whipping together gelatin, water, and sugar.
Vegetarian and vegan marshmallows are becoming more widely available. They are usually made from combining agar agar (a jelly-like substance derived from red algae) with sugar, water, and sometimes aquafaba (the water in which tinned chickpeas are stored).
Marzipan is a popular confectionery made from sugar and almonds. It is often used to decorate cakes. This can be as a layer beneath icing on a traditional Christmas or fruit cake.
Marzipan is very moldable and is often made into the shapes of fruits.
The acid in these substances causes the cheese to coagulate. This makes the cheese much softer and creamer. It almost takes on a whisked consistency. This is different from the tougher and more solid cream cheese.
Mascarpone can be used in a range of dishes as a thicker alternative to cream. It is most commonly used in tiramisu.
45. Matoa Fruit
Matoa is a tropical fruit native to South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Melanesia. It is part of the lychee family. And is very similar to lychee in appearance.
It varies in appearance and does sometimes have a similar appearance to lychee. Matoa fruit has a hard shell with a softer, jelly and grape-like inside. The shell is not edible. But the inner fruit is.
Also spelled as “matza” or “matzah”, matzo is an unleavened flatbread. It is a traditional Jewish food that is eaten at Passover.
Matzo meal is used to make matzo balls which are the main ingredient in matzo ball soup. These are similar to dumplings.
47. McIntosh Apples
McIntosh apples are one of the most popular types of apples eaten in North America. In fact, they are the national apple of Canada.
You will have likely realized their cultural significance as the tech company, Apple, named their Mac computers after the fruit. McIntosh apples have a red-green skin, tender flesh, and a tart flavor.
Medlars are a fruit that have been cultivated since the Roman era. They have a very interesting shape. They are round and a pale orange with a dimpled dip in the middle.
This has caused them to gain the vulgar nickname of “open-tail” fruits. They are also considered to have a laxative effect. Medlars have a soft flesh that is slightly grainy. They have a sweet but acidic taste. They also prefer more acidic soil.
Melons are a varied type of fruit. The word “melon” is also used to refer to the plant on which different melons grow.
Botanically speaking, a melon is a kind of berry. But, unlike most berries, you would not want to eat the skin of this fruit. Melons have very tough and hard skins. But most have a very soft and sweet flesh.
50. Menteng Fruit
Menteng fruit grows in Southeast Asia. They are small fruits that grow in clusters. They have thick, hard shells.
The flesh inside these shells is pale and soft. They also contain seeds. Menteng fruits are very small and can be between 2cm and 6cm when fully grown.
Meringue is a confection made by whipping together sugar and egg whites. There are different kinds of meringue.
But the most popular is made by whipping together only sugar and egg whites which are then baked for around an hour and a half. This kind of meringue is traditionally used in pavlova.
Pavlova is a dessert made from layering meringue with thick cream and fresh fruits. Meringue is also used in Eton Mess which is essentially a pavlova that has been crushed up.
Mesclun is a salad originally from Provence in France. It is a mix of young salad greens. Mesclun traditionally includes arugula, chervil, endive, and leafy lettuces.
But it can also include baby spinach, collard greens, dandelion greens, frisée, lamb's lettuce, mizuna, mustard greens, radicchio, sorrel, and Swiss chard. The term “mesclun” is from Provençal dialect and is derived from “mesclar” meaning “to mix together thoroughly”.
Also known as fenugreek, methi is often used as a herb in cooking. It can only be used in small quantities.
Anything larger than a pinch or so can be damaging. So it takes a skilled chef to know the right amount to use.
Methi seeds can also be used in dishes and are eaten as they are. Methi leaves can be used in salad. It has a sweet and nutty flavor.
54. Mexican Pinyon
Mexican pinyon is a pine tree that is, unsurprisingly, native to Mexico. The tree itself is not edible. But its seeds are the most commonly eaten pine nut in Mexico.
It is most commonly eaten raw as a snack. Mexican pinyon seeds have long been a staple of Native American cooking. And is often used in New Mexican cooking.
55. Milkcap Mushroom
Milkcap mushrooms are a type of wild mushroom that are commonly foraged. They receive their name from the milky fluid they exude when cut or damaged.
There are different types of milkcap mushroom. One of the most popular of which is the saffron milkcap.
This is a reddish-orange mushroom that is the color of saffron. Instead of a white fluid, this type of milkcap exudes an orange colored fluid.
Mincemeat is a traditional pie filling used in Britain. It is mostly used in mince pies during the Christmas period.
Despite its name, mincemeat doesn’t actually contain any meat. Mincemeat is made from mixing together raisins, currants, brandy, lemon juice, suet (animal fat), apple, brown sugar, and spices.
Mincemeat originally contained meat in the Early Modern period. But by the 19th century it had been removed.
57. Miner’s Lettuce
Miner’s lettuce, also known as spring beauty, winter purslane, and palsingat, is a lettuce native to North America. It has very long stems and small leaves.
The leaves are often round or heart-shaped. They have white flowers and are similar in appearance to beansprouts.
It receives its name due to its popularity amongst miners during the California Gold Rush. Miners ate the lettuce as it contains high levels of vitamin C which prevents scurvy.
There’s a pretty good chance that you have heard of mint. Mint is a green herb that is savory in tase but most commonly used in sweet dishes.
Mint has very soft and often fuzzy leaves. It has an incredibly strong taste. But there are many different varieties.
Mint is known for its refreshing taste that can neutralize odors. This is one of the reasons it is so often used in toothpaste. It is, of course, the base for breath mints.
Minutina, also known as buckshorn, is an Italian green. It is a member of the plantain family. It is relatively rare, so you might need to visit a specialist store to find it.
It is similar in flavor to parsley and spinach. But it is also very salty. This is due to the kind of soil it grows in.
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning made from soybeans. The beans are fermented with salt and a fungus called kōji.
Miso has a salty flavor and is used in a wide range of dishes. It is usually sold as a paste and is red-orange in color.
One of the most common uses is in miso soup. This is a thin soup made from stock and miso paste.
61. Mississippi Sweet Potato
The only difference between Mississippi sweet potatoes and other sweet potatoes is where they are grown.
Mississippi sweet potatoes are considered some of the best in the US due to the Mississippi soil they are grown in. They are used to make the traditional Mississippi sweet potato pie.
And it would be easy to confuse the two. Mitsuba means “three leaves” in Japanese. This is due to the fact that three leaves grow on each stem.
63. Moi Fish
Also known as the Hawaiian pond fish, Moi fish are a short but long silver fish.
They are usually found along sandy and rocky shorelines. Historically, they were considered a delicacy in Hawaii and only served to royalty.
Molasses, also known as black treacle, is an incredibly sweet sauce. It is made from refining sugar cane or sugar beets.
Molasses is very dark in color and viscous in consistency. It is similar in consistency and taste to golden syrup.
But is very distinguishable by its dark color. Molasses is used in a wide variety of dishes. But is most commonly used in the distillation of rum.
“Mollusks” encompasses a wide range of creatures. From cockles to garden snails. There are some 85,000 different kinds of mollusks.
But they are not all edible. Edible mollusks are usually those found in water. These include saltwater and freshwater mollusks.
Mombin, also known as hog plum, is a type of fruit. It has a leathery skin and a yellow-orange flesh.
Mombin can be used like most other fruits to make juice, jellies, sorbets, and other dishes. It has a very juicy flesh that is a tart and acidic flavor. Similar to that of a plum.
67. Mongongo Fruit
Mongongo fruit, also known as mongongo nuts, are the produce of the mongongo or manketti tree.
It is grown in several tropical and subtropical regions. But mostly across South Africa.
68. Monkey Bread
Monkey bread is not actually a type of bread. Instead, it is a sweet pastry. It is made in a circular tin with a large dip in the middle.
It is made by placing small balls of dough into the tin and then baked. When fully baked, the pieces of dough can be pulled off individually. Monkey bread originates from the US and is usually flavored with cinnamon.
69. Monkey Puzzle Seeds
These are the seeds of the monkey puzzle tree. The seeds can be eaten raw or cooked.
They will become hard if oven roasted. So it should be cooked in boiling water.
Monkfish are popular in many different countries. But they are shocking to look at when whole and alive.
They are very dark and flat with wide mouths and sharp teeth. They have a mild sweet taste.
71. Monk Fruit
This food is called a fruit, looks like a nut, but is actually a member of the gourd family.
It mostly grows in China and Thailand and is used as an artificial sweetener.
No, this isn’t a mistake. You can eat from your monstera plant. (But, this isn’t why it’s called a Swiss cheese plant…)
The fruit of a monstera plant is long and green and looks almost like a banana when cut open. You can even eat the leaves of a monstera plant. But they don’t taste very nice.
Moqua are similar in appearance and texture to zucchini. It has a sweet and aromatic flavor.
74. Morel Mushrooms
Morel mushrooms are very unique looking. They do not have the usual large flat cap that most edible mushrooms have. Instead, they have an upright cap covered in holes.
It is similar in appearance to a honeycomb. It would be difficult to recognize this as a mushroom if you are not a keen forager.
75. Moroheiya Leaves
This is quite an unassuming plant. The leaves are bitter when raw. But, when cooked, they produce a thick liquid that can be used to make soup and stew.
76. Mosambi Fruit
Also known as sweet limes, mosambi fruit have a green skin but orange flesh. They are a sweet fruit that are believed to have a huge range of benefits.
Mostaccioli is a type of pasta. They are long and hollow with ends cut at an angle. They are similar to penne but are smooth rather than ridged.
78. Mountain Rose Potatoes
These are some really beautiful potatoes. They have a rich dark pink skin and a pink or white flesh. They can be cooked in the same way as most other potatoes.
It is a dish that is also commonly eaten in the Middle East and the Balkans.
Mousse is a type of dessert. It can be any flavor but the most common are vanilla and chocolate. It is made from whipping cream, sugar, and eggs until fluffy.
Mozuku is a type of Japanese seaweed. It is a brown alga that has a soft and sometimes slimy texture.
Mozzarella is a type of soft Italian cheese. It is made from buffalo’s milk and needs to be constantly covered in water.
It becomes incredibly stringy when melted. So is the cheese most commonly used on pizza.
Muenster is another type of cheese. It is a soft and creamy cheese with an orange rind. It was produced in the US by German immigrants.
Muesli is a breakfast cereal made from rolled oats and is often mixed with dried fruits and nuts. It is eaten cold.
Mulberry is a term for a range of berries from the Moraceae family. Mulberries can be red, white, or black.
No, not the hairstyle. Mullet is a light pink fish. It has a surprisingly nutty taste and has a firm white flesh.
87. Mung Bean
Mung Beans are a small dark green bean from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. They are eaten whole or made into a paste. They are claimed to have a wide range of health benefits.
88. Munjal Fruit
Also known as sea coconuts, munjal fruit has a hard shell but soft flesh. The flesh is most recognizable for being almost completely transparent.
89. Muscat Squash
Muscat squash is a collective name for a variety of squashes. These include butternut squash and Long Island cheese squash.
Mushroom is the collective term for a type of fungi. There are currently 14,000 known types of mushroom.
Some of them are poisonous and some of them delicious and great for your health. Toadstools are often considered to be different from mushrooms. But this is a term that is actually commonly used to refer to red mushrooms or poisonous mushrooms.
Muskmelon is a type of melon that belongs to the gourd family. It has a pale green skin and a bright orange flesh. It has a sweet taste due to its high sugar content.
Mussels are a type of shellfish. They have a rich blue shell. The fish itself is small and orange and black. It is traditionally cooked in garlic butter and served with fries.
Mustard does come in many different forms. The main varieties include wholegrain mustard, Dijon mustard, and American mustard.
These all have varying levels of strength and tastes. But all of them are made from mustard seeds.
94. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens are the leaves of the mustard plant. There are many different varieties of mustard greens, depending on the type of mustard seed they grow from.
The leaves are used by many cultures to add flavor. Mustard greens have a sharp and bitter taste, similar to radishes.
Mutton is the word used to describe the meat of an older sheep, between 1 and 3-years-old. This is in contrast to the name “lamb” used for the meat of young sheep.
Mutton is much more red when raw and has a much larger amount of fat. It is not as commonly used as lamb and rarely eaten as a steak as lamb. Mutton is often used in soups and stews.