How is ao dai pronounced? Well, it is not too difficult, don't worry, but there are actually two ways, whether it be the Southern Vietnamese or Northern Vietnamese way. We are based in Ho Chi Minh City aka Saigon (in the south) and we say 'ow yai'.
Think of the 'Ow!' you might say if you burn your finger, and 'yai' rhymes with pie (i.e. a long 'i' sound. So again, in the South, we pronounce it as 'ow yai' (we won't go into the different tones for each syllable just now ;) So the English spelling is a little confusing with many people naturally assuming the correct pronunciation is 'ow die', but the 'd' in Vietnamese is pronounced differently to in English - the 'd' in Southern Vietnam is similar to 'y' in English as discussed above.
In the North of Vietnam, in Hanoi for example the pronunciation is closer to 'ow zai' with only the second syllable changing from the Southern style.
So there you have it, how to pronounce ao dai in both the Southern and Northern Vietnamese styles. We hope this doesn't confuse you even more ;) but at least if you here different pronunciations of ao dai, you will now know why :) Thanks for your interest in ao dai ('ow yai') and just send us a message if you have any other questions :)