Japanese Essentials: How to Order Take Out in Japan
In Japan many chain restaurants offer a take out option on their menu. In a country where every one’s busy working, this option is quite convenient. In this article we will learn how to order our food in a natural sounding way.
Take out (please).
持ち帰り which translates to takeout, comes from the verb 持ち帰る, meaning “to bring back” or “to carry home”.
The prefix お makes the noun sound more polite and the particle で, in this context, indicate a mean or a method. The particle translates “by”, “with”, “by means of” or “in”. It implies that you make a choice from a series of option. Here, you opt for takeout over eating in the restaurant. You should add お願いします to sound more polite, but this phrase is often skipped by Japanese themselves. No time to waste when ordering food!
When entering a restaurant you’ll often be asked:
いらっしゃいませ、こちらでお召し上がりですか。(Waiter: Welcome. Would you like to eat in?)
いらっしゃいませ、店内でお召し上がりですか。(Welcome. Would you like to eat in (the restaurant)).
召し上がり is a noun coming from the verb 召し上がる a very formal way to say “to eat”, to show respect for the clients. Here again, お is added to the noun.
If you want to take out you can answer いいえ、お持ち帰りで（お願いします）(No, takeout please) or if you want to eat in you can say はい、ここで (Yes, here) or はい、店内で (Yes, here).
If you’re in a fast food restaurant, the waiter might ask directly if you’re ordering takeout:
Waiter: Welcome, is this for takeout?
You can then answer: はい、お持ち帰りで（お願いします）(Yes, take out (please)).
The waiter will follow up asking for your order: ご注文をどうぞ. (May I take your order?)*
*The literal translation would be closer to “place your order”, however, the phrase here is a polite way to ask if the client is ready to order their food.
Ordering your food is the easy part. If you can’t really speak or read Japanese, simply point on the menu what you want. You can use the counter つ (ひとつ (one of…)、ふたつ (two of…) etc.) to indicate the amount you want. Size in Japan is known as エス (S for small), エム (M, medium) or エル (L, large).
Some restaurants might use the Japanese sizing system too: 大盛り(big) 普通 (normal) 少なめ (small).
Waiter: May I take your order?
John: I’ll have a cheeseburger and a cola, please.
Waiter: What size for the coke?
As the context is very important in Japanese, sentences can often be omitted. The waiter asked the desired size for the coke, without finishing up the question because what he’s asking is obvious. In this case, the intonation is raised on the sentence’s ending: “サイズは?”.
- ホット ー Hot (for drinks)
- アイス ー Cold (for drinks)
- ポテトフライ ー French fries
- ケチャップ ー Ketchup
- マスタード ー Mustard
- ハンバーガー ー Hamburger