Useful Words to Describe Food in Japanese – Illustrated Guide
Looking for Japanese words to describe that great lunch or dinner you just had? In this blog, we will be taking a look at some useful and basic vocabulary words you can learn to describe food in Japanese!
In Japanese, just like English, there are basic adjectives used to describe the tastes and texture of foods that you eat. Picture yourself right now eating ice cream in the streets of Japan, it’s sweet, soft, cold and super yummy! You would really love to compliment it and describe its flavor, but, how do you say it all in Japanese?
Fret not! Because we have included a few lists of vocabulary words and info-graphics that will guide you in using the appropriate and correct Japanese words to describe food.
[ Adjectives to Describe Food Tastes in Japanese ]
In English, the 5 basic tastes we have in our taste palette are – Sweet, Spicy, Bitter, Sour and Salty.
Let’s learn how to say and use them in Japanese!
1. 甘い Amai
甘い (Amai) is the Japanese word used to describe something that is “sweet”. You can use this word to describe sweet foods such as fruits or desserts like cake or pudding.
りんごは 甘いですね！ Ringo wa amai desune!
(The apple is sweet!)
2. 辛い Karai
辛い (Karai) is the Japanese word used to describe something that is “spicy”. Anything from chili to curry, karai is the perfect word to use for foods that have a spicy kick to them.
わたしは 辛いものは 食べられません。Watashi wa karaimono wa taberaremasen.
(I cannot take spicy food.)
3. 苦い Nigai
苦い (Nigai) means “bitter” in Japanese. Use this word to describe bitter foods such as medicine.
私は 苦い食べ物が 好きじゃないです。 Watashi wa nigai tabemono ga suki janaidesu.
(I do not like bitter food.)
4. Sour ― 酸っぱい Suppai
酸っぱい Suppai is the Japanese word for “sour” or “tangy”. You can pair this word with anything with a sour note such as umeboshi (dried plum) or citrus fruits!
梅干しは 酸っぱいです。 でも、おいしいです。 Umeboshi wa suppai desu. Demo, oishii desu.
(Umeboshi is sour. But, it is delicious.)
5. Salty ― しょっぱい Shoppai
この ラーメンは しょっぱい です。 Kono ra-men wa shoppai desu.
(This ramen tastes salty.)
[ Adjectives to Describe Food Textures in Japanese ]
The food that we eat in every meal not only comes with different kinds of tastes, but also in different textures. Here we have Japanese words you can learn to describe 6 common food textures!
1. 柔らかい Yawarakai
柔らかい (Yawarakai) means “soft” in Japanese. You can use this to describe any food that has a soft texture like pudding or soft serve ice cream!
パンは 柔らかいです。 Pan wa yawarakai desu.
(The bread is soft.)
2. 硬い Katai
硬い (Katai) can be used to describe food that is “hard” to bite or chew. Ice and nuts are some foods which 硬い(katai) goes with.
アーモンドは 硬いです。 A-mondo wa katai desu.
(The almonds are hard.)
3. しっとり Shittori
しっとり Shittori is the Japanese word for “moist”. This word is best paired with foods like cakes and bread.
ケーキは しっとりしていて ふわふわです！ Ke-ki wa shittorishiteite fuwafuwa desu.
(The cake is moist and fluffy!)
4. Crispy ― カリカリ Karikari
カリカリ (Karikari) is the Japanese onomatopoeia to describe foods that are “crispy”. Anything from fried chicken to tempura is definitely カリカリ (Karikari)!
このからあげは とても カリカリですよ！ Kono karaage wa totemo karikari desuyo!
(The Karaage is super crispy!)
5. 滑らか Nameraka
滑らか (Nameraka) means “smooth” in Japanese. Use this word to describe foods with a smooth texture like yogurt, whipped cream or even ice cream!
プリンは 滑らかです。 Purin wa nameraka desu.
(The pudding is smooth.)
6. とろり Torori
とろり (Torori) is the Japanese word to describe anything “gooey”. Melting cheese is one great example of gooey food.
ピザの チーズは とろりとしています。 Piza no chi-zu wa torori toshiteimasu.
(The cheese in the pizza is gooey.)
[ Other Useful Adjectives to Describe Food in Japanese ]
We have included a table of bonus adjectives you can learn to describe your food’s tastiness, smell, temperature and more!
|かおりがいい||Kaori ga ii||Fragrant|
With these new words and phrases, you can now describe any food you eat!
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