Is there a noun to describe a dish that looks unpleasant & unappetizing. The situation may be that someone makes their best to cook and serve you this dish and this cooking puts this person out too much.

However, it turns out that the result is disgusting and makes you feel sick.

Dish presented to look like a creature

  • 4
    What's wrong with unappetizing? What did a thesaurus suggest?
    – Mitch
    Sep 13, 2015 at 14:57
  • To a well-meaning friend as in your example, I use interesting or different in such situations, sometimes preceded with "certainly."
    – Papa Poule
    Sep 13, 2015 at 15:09
  • Seeing as the animal is a creepy crawly how about: "that dish gives me the creeps", "it's creepy", or (once at home) you could say it looks like vomit regurgitated. :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 13, 2015 at 15:14
  • 2
    Sorry, but I think the pickle-scaled baby dragon is totes adorbs. Sep 14, 2015 at 1:45
  • 1
    And it looks yummy. Sep 14, 2015 at 2:52

3 Answers 3


The noun slop is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as being:

1.2. Unappetizing semi-liquid food.

  • I may have called that food slop, but compared to this I consider it a meal fit for kings!

Cambridge Dictionaries says

​food that is more ​liquid than it should be and is ​therefore ​unpleasant:

  • Have you ​tried the slop that they ​call ​stew in the ​canteen?

Alternatively, swill

​food that is very ​bad:

  • I ​refuse to ​eat the swill that they ​serve in the ​canteen.
  • Oh! That's good. "Swill" goes well in this context.
    – user128024
    Sep 13, 2015 at 16:42
  • Swill is too mild a term for the atrocity in that picture. I'll stick with nasty :-) Sep 13, 2015 at 18:56
  • @Michael_B but nasty is an adjective, and it can be attributed to practically anything :) It does look pretty revolting though.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 13, 2015 at 18:57

I would call it "strange" or "off-putting" as suggested by Brian Donnovan.

  • disgusting (adj) "so unpleasant to see, smell, taste, consider, etc., that you feel slightly sick" MW

  • off-putting (adj) not pleasing or likable : causing you to feel dislike of someone or something. MW

Some cooks have very good ideas on how to make a dish look most appetizing. Others, however skilled, do exactly the opposite. More often than not, their goal is to shock those who see their "masterpiece". The pictures below illustrate that.

figure 1. brilliant and mouthwatering sweets
figure 2. deleted on request. Considered offensive and shocking by some.

enter image description here

To a Western World culture, the food in your picture certainly looks "strange" to say the least. But I wouldn't be surprised if it were appreciated in some regions. Then again, my second picture will certainly be considered disgusting, unseemly and offensive by most people.

  • 1
    Disgusting is a strong word. For milder cases, try off-putting. Sep 13, 2015 at 14:23
  • 1
    I described a well-meaning person that was not good at cooking and made a nasty thing instead of a delicious dish. Your second picture is obviously offensive and does not work in my context. Sorry.
    – user128024
    Sep 13, 2015 at 16:38

Everything single part of that dish looks nasty.


highly unpleasant, especially to the senses; physically nauseating. ~ Google definition

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