Japan Eats


The Japan Eats Glossary of Japanese Food and Beverage Terms is necessarily a work in progress. Here at Japan Eats we’re constantly adding to the list. If you would like to contribute or comment on any of the entries below, email lovitt@japaneats.tv.

Note that throughout the text, honorifics have been dropped for ease of use.


Abura 油 – oil; fat.

Abura Soba 油そば – oily noodles. Usually made with ramen noodles, this ra-yu based ‘dry’ noodle dish is often topped with menma, onions, chashu and an egg.

Agari 上がり – term used in sushi shops to refer to freshly poured tea, also used as a request to end the meal. By asking specifically for “agari“, the diner can also signal that he is done.

Agedashi 揚げ出し – deep-fried with dashi. Tofu, whitefish, etc. are often deep-fried.

Ainame 鮎魚女 or アイナメ – fat greenling. a seasonal fish found in Japanese and Korean waters.

Aji 鰺 – horse mackerel; jack. Popular in a variety of styles, notably deep-fried, often as part of a bento.

Akachochin 赤提灯 – a restaurant with red paper lanterns hung outside.

Akagai赤貝 – ark shell.

Amadai甘鯛 – tilefish.

Ankake 餡かけ – a dish prepared with a starch-based sauce.

Ankou 鮟鱇 – angler fish.

Amaebi 甘海老 – pink shrimp.

Amai 甘い – Japanese word for sweet.

Aonori 青海苔 – edible green seaweed.

Awabi 鮑 – abalone.

Awamori 泡盛 – Okinawan firewater; a distilled spirit made from sugar cane, related to shochu, but often higher in alcohol content. Uses indica rice (rather than japonica) during production.

Ayu 鮎 – small, sweet river fish, related to smelt. Often served salted and grilled.

Azuki 小豆 – azuki beans. These are frequently used in traditional Japanese sweets. When made into a paste or jam, the beans are notable for their granular texture.


Baiking バイキング – a meal served from a buffet.

Barista – a person who specializes in preparing coffee.

Basashi 馬刺し – horse meat sashimi, especially popular in Kyushu, in particular Kumamoto prefecture.

Bata-kon ramen バターコーン ラーメン – butter corn ramen.

Beniimo 紅芋 Okinawan sweet potato. Purple in color, it features in everything from bread to ice-cream.

Benishoga 紅生姜 – red pickled ginger.

Benizake 紅鮭 – red or sockeye salmon.

Bento 弁当 – meal in a box often made at home for lunchtime consumption either at school or work. Generally consists of rice, pickled vegetables, and other items such as pork, hamburg, fried shrimp, etc. A large industry specializes in preparing and selling bento.

Budou 葡萄 – Japanese word for grape.

Butabara 豚バラ – pork belly.


Cha kaiseki 茶懐石 – a simplified version of kaiseki-ryori, served at a tea ceremony.

Chashu チャーシュー – roast pork served with ramen. Usually sliced thinly. This is also the type of pork often used in the preparation of cha-han (fried rice). Also commonly served with a garnish as otsumami (snacks to accompany drinking).

Chanko nabe ちゃんこ鍋 – a hotpot traditionally eaten by sumo wrestlers. There are many theories about what exactly makes nabechanko“, but one of the best is simply: sumo wrestlers eat it.

Chirinabe ちり鍋 – a nabe that features simmered vegetables, tofu and fish. Like many nabe, this dish is popular in colder months and is often accompanied by a soy sauce/vinegar mixture for dipping.

Choko 猪口 – small cup for drinking nihonshu (saké). Some of these, called kiki choko, are white with concentric blue circles on the bottom of the inside of the cup – the circles allow tasters to judge the color and clarity of the sake.

Crema – the thin layer of foam on an espresso coffee.


Dai ginjo 大吟醸 – the highest grade of sake, in which the rice has been polished to less than 50% of its original mass.

Daikon 大根 – long, white Japanese radish, served in a variety of ways year-round, but especially prevalent in winter cuisine, when it can be served as an element of oden or grated and served as a topping for a variety of dishes.

Dango 団子 – small food balls that are often made from wheat, millet or rice flour. The balls are steamed/boiled and then grilled after being dipped in a topping of some sort (such as soy sauce). Meat and fish can also be used to mack the balls, and they are usually deep-fried rather than being steamed/boiled.

Dashi 出汁 – a stock made from dried bonito, konbu (seaweed) and water.

Daizu 大豆 – soybeans.

Debabocho 出刃包丁 – thick, almost cleaver-like knife.

Dengaku 田楽 – miso-based cuisine.

Depachika デパ地下 – lit. “under the department store”, the underground food section of a Japanese department store, usually consisting of two basement levels, the upper of which contains a variety of meats, prepared foods, bread, and more, with the lower level usually selling sweets or other luxuries. Depachika tend to deal in higher-range products.

Donburi 丼ぶり – either a china bowl or a bowl of rice topped with some combination of meat or vegetables. Gyudon (beef bowl) and tendon (tempura bowl) are two of the more popular styles of donburi.


Ebi 海老 – Japanese name for shrimp (U.S.) or prawns (U.K., Aust.)

Edamame 枝豆 – boiled immature soybeans. The pods are boiled in water together with condiments such as salt, and served whole. Edamame are served with small dish for the discarded pods.

Ei 鱏 or エイ – skate, ray.

Ekibene 駅弁 – bento sold at train stations (eki).

Enoki えのき – Chinese hackberry tree, which produces a berry, but is better known for the white mushrooms, enokidake, which grow at its base.

Enokidake 榎茸 – slim, white, somewhat crisp Japanese mushrooms that grow and are often sold in bunches. Popular in nabe and soups and especially used in winter cuisine.


Fu 麩 – dough made from wheat gluten.

Fugu 河豚 – Blowfish (or pufferfish), most famous for being poisonous if the liver is eaten.

Fugusashi 河豚刺し – fugu sashimi.

Furikake 振り掛け – topping sprinkled on rice. Commonly made of a mixture of salt, sesame seeds, dried fish that has been ground, and toasted seaweed.


Gari がり – sushi restaurant word for sliced ginger that has been soaked in sweetened vinegar.

Genatsu Jouryuu 減圧蒸留 – low (vacuum) pressure distillation. Sometimes used in production of shochu.

Genshu 原酒 – undiluted sake or shochu.

Gobo 牛蒡 – burdock root.

Goya champuru ゴーヤ チャンプルー – Okinawan stir-fry containing bitter gourd (goya), tofu, moyashi, and pork/spam.

Gunkan maki 軍艦巻き – traditional type of sushi made up of nori, rice and soft topping such as roe or sea urchin. Also known as ‘battleship sushi’ (owing to their distinctive shape) gunkan maki are relatively easy to make.

Gyoza 餃子 – fried or steamed dumplings, commonly found in Chinese restaurants and ramen shops. Gyoza can be made with a variety of fillings, but usually involve minced pork and negi.


Hakusai 白菜 – large cabbage often used in tsukemono and nabe.

Hamo 鱧 – pike eel. This fish is commonly found on menus in the Kansai region.

Hara hachi-bu 腹八分 – eating until you are 80 per cent full. Said to originate in Okinawa.

Harusame 春雨 – transparent noodles made from potato starch or mung bean starch.

Hirame 平目 – fluke.

Hiyamugi 冷麦 – noodles made from wheat flour.

Horumonyaki ホルモン焼き – grilled pigs innards.


Ichiban dashi 一番出汁 – primary dashi.

Ika 烏賊 – squid.

Ikura イクラ – salmon roe.

Imo 芋 – Japanese word for potato.

Imo shochu 芋焼酎 – potato shochu.

Inago稲子 - locust. Often cooked as tsukudani

Instant ramen インスタントラーメン – instant Chinese noodles.

Izakaya 居酒屋 – Japanese pub.


Jagaimo じゃが芋 – variety of potato (imo) often used in western dishes and grown throughout the country, particularly in Hokkaido.

Jako じゃこ – dried baby fish.

Jouatsu Jouryuu 常圧蒸留 – atmospheric (normal) pressure distillation. Commonly used in the production of shochu.

Junmai 純米 – pure rice, usually a sake term.

Junmai ginjo sake 純米吟醸酒 – high grade, pure rice sake, made only of rice polished to less than 60% of its original mass, koji, and water.


Kabocha 南瓜 – type of Japanese pumpkin with a dark green outside and a slightly sweet orange inside.

Kaiseki 懐石 – traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.

Kaitenzushi 回転寿司 – carousel sushi.

Kai 貝 – Japanese word for shellfish.

Kaki 1 牡蠣 – Japanese word for oyster.

Kaki 2 柿 – Japanese persimmon.

Kakiage 掻き揚げ – vegetables, especially onions, and sometimes small shrimp dipped in tempura batter before being fried.

Kakiage no tendon 搔き揚げの天丼 – rice bowl topped with kakiage and a sweet tempura sauce.

Kamaboko 蒲鉾 – processed whitefish loaf with a firm, somewhat rubbery texture. Usually pink or yellow on the outside and white inside. Served in soups, including ramen, or on its own with shoyu or another sauce for dipping.

Kamameshi 釜飯 – meat, vegetables or fish cooked with rice and dashi. A kama is an individual-sized iron pot.

Kamameshiya 釜飯や – a restaurant serving kamameshi.

Kani 蟹 – crab.

Kanpyo 干瓢 – dried gourd strips.

Kappou Ryori 割烹料理 – high end Japanese cuisine.

Kappou Ryoriya 割烹料理や – similar to ryotei, however restaurants have a counter to better observe the chef.

Karai 辛い – Japanese word for hot or spicy.

Katakuriko 片栗粉 – Cornstarch.

Katsuo 鰹 – skipjack tuna or bonito.

Katsuobushi 鰹節 – dried bonito flakes, a key ingredient in the preparation of dashi and are often used to top okonomiyaki or the rice in bento. Sometimes also referred to as kezuribushi.

Katsuobushi kezuriki 鰹節削り器 – traditional wooden box plane, used for shaving thin strips of dried katsuobushi of off blocks. The shavings are collected in a drawer at the base of the box.

Katsuramuki 桂剥き – technique of cutting thin, continuous sheets of daikon.

Kiki choko 利き猪口 – small, white sake tasting cups with concentric blue circles on the bottom of the inside of the cup, which allow tasters to judge the color and clarity of the sake.

Kikurage 木耳 – wood ear.

Kimchi キムチ – Korean cabbage which is fermented with spices, often red pepper. Kimchi comes in a wide variety of styles, but is usually spicy or salty.

Kimo 肝 – liver.

Kinoko 茸 – generic word for mushrooms.

Kissaten 喫茶店 -a traditional Japanese coffee shop.

Kyushoku 給食 – school lunch.

Kogyoku 紅玉 – apple, more commonly known as “ringo“.

Koji 麹 – mold (Aspergillus oryzae) used in the brewing of sake, which performs the role of yeast in brewing beer – it grows on steamed rice and produces the enzymes that break the starch down into fermentable sugars.

Kome 米 – rice.

Konbu 昆布 – seaweed.

Konnyaku 蒟蒻 – seaweed-based, firm, gelatinous food often used in soups or as a side dish.

Kura 蔵 – a sake brewery. There are some 1800 sake kura throughout Japan (2009).

Kuri 栗 – chestnuts. Kuri are particularly popular during autumn.

Komatsuna 小松菜 – Chinese cabbage.

Korokke コロッケ – Japanese croquettes typically contain mashed potato, minced meat, or crab and white sauce.

Koromo 衣 – butter.

Koshihikari コシヒカリ – variety of Japanese rice.

Kushiage 串揚げ – skewers of crumbed meat, fish or fresh vegetables deep-fried and dipped in Woostershire sauce.

Kushiageya 串揚げや – an establishment serving kushiage. All standing kushiageya have become popular in recent years.

Kushikatsu 串かつ – skewered, deep-fried pork.

Kuzu 葛 – Starch used in the preparation of Japanese sweets.

Kyo ryori 京料理 – Kyoto-style cuisine.

Kyo yasai 京野菜 – vegetables originating from Kyoto.

Kyo kaiseki 京懐石 – Kyoto-style kaiseki.

Kyuri 胡瓜 – cucumber.

Kurozu 黒酢 – dark vinegar.


Machiya 町屋 – lit. “town shop”, traditional wooden townhouses fronting the street with a shop in the front part.

Maguro 鮪 – tuna – the most popular of sushi or sashimi fish.

Makisu 巻き簾 – a sheet of bamboo or plastic used for rolling makizushi (rolled sushi).

Mame 豆 – Japanese word for bean.

Masu 鱒 or ます マス – trout.

Matsutake 松茸 – variety of mushroom.

Meigara – a brand name.

Mendokoro 麺処 – the name given to a restaurant serving soba or udon noodles.

Mioga みょうが – Japanese ginger often used to make pickles.

Mirin 味醂 – a rice wine similar to sake used in cooking. In addition to a sweet flavor, it adds a sheen to ingredients. Mirin is of a lower alcohol content than sake – around 14 per cent.

Mirugai 海松貝 – geoduck. A type of large clam distinguished by its long, meaty syphon, which extends well outside the shell. Most often served in soups or as sashimi.

Mirukuigai 海松貝 – alternative pronunciation of “mirugai“, geoduck.

Miso 味噌 – salty soy bean paste used in soups, stews, as a dressing, and more. It comes in variety of styles, the most common being white and red (aka-miso); the latter being especially popular in the Chubu region.

Misoshiru 味噌汁 – miso soup.

Mochi 餅 – sticky rice cakes, made of certain varieties of steamed rice pounded in a mortar.

Modori 戻り – a prefix used when referring to bonito which are ‘returning’ i.e. swimming upstream.

Momoniku もも肉 – a cut of chicken thigh or beef round.

Moromi 諸味 – thick mash of cereal or cereal and soy bean left to undergo slow fermentation with bacteria, yeasts, and mold. Often used to refer specifically to the fermenting rice mash in the production of sake.

Moyashi もやし – bean sprouts, usually mung beans, but also soy beans. Often used in stir-fried dishes or as a topping for ramen.

Mugi 麦 – Japanese word for barley.

Mugi shochu 麦焼酎 – barley shochu.

Muroka 無濾過 – unfiltered.


Namazu 鯰 – cat fish.

Nabe 鍋 – Japanese hotpot, which consists of any kind of stock to which any variety of meats, seafood, or vegetables are added; esp. popular in winter. “Nabe” is also the Japanese word for a cooking pot.

Nabeyaki udon 鍋焼きうどん – Udon served with various ingredients and soup in a Japanese hot pot.

Nanairo tougarashi 七色唐辛子 – Kanto-region equivalent for shichimi tougarashi, a chili powder mix featuring at least six added ingredients. Often sprinkled over nabe and noodles, the six additives can be anything from sesame seeds to shiso.

Nashi 梨 – Japanese pear.

Nasu 茄子 – egg plant or aubergine.

Natto 納豆 – fermented soy beans.

Negi 葱 – Japanese green onion.

Nigari 苦汁 – magnesium chloride, used for making tofu.

Nigiri 握り – a type of sushi. Nigirizushi usually consists of a piece of fish or cod roe resting on a bite-sized mound of sushi rice.

Nigai 苦い – Japanese word for bitter.

Niboshi 煮干 – dried baby sardines.

Nikiri 煮きり – Kansai-style boiled mirin.

Niku 肉 – the Japanese word for meat.

Nikuman 肉まん – steamed meat bun. Chinese in origin, nikuman are a popular snack in Japan, and a wide variety can be found in restaurants, specialty stores and even convenience stores.

Nishin 鰊 – herring.

Nomihodai 飲み放題 – “all-you-can-drink” option at Japanese bars and restaurants.

Noren 暖簾 – short, sectioned curtain which hangs over the door to an eatery, usually bearing the name of the shop or similar legend.

Nori 海苔 – laver – paper-like sheets of seaweed.

Nuka 糠 – rice bran.

Nukamiso 糠味噌 – salted rice bran paste.

Nukazuke 糠漬け – Japanese vegetables pickled in rice bran paste.


Obanzai ryori おばんざい料理 – traditional type of Kyoto cuisine.

Ochazuke お茶漬け – rice in tea, usually topped with tiny fish or vegetables.

Oden おでん – type of Japanese hotpot. Oden often contains ingredients such as boiled eggs, daikon, konnyaku, and fish cakes. Oden is a popular take-out dish in Japanese convenience stores.

Odenya おでんや – establishment serving oden. Often, odenya take the form of street stands.

Ogura 小倉 – confectionery made with azuki beans.

Okazu おかず – accompaniment or side dish. In Kyoto, it is referred to as obanzai (おばんざい).

Okonomiyaki お好み焼き – lit. “what you like, grilled”, a so-called Japanese “pancake” made of flour, water, and cabbage and usually including seafood and other vegetables.

Okonomiyakiya お好み焼きや – restaurant specializing in okonomiyaki.

Okra オクラ – type of green vegetable frequently used as an otoshi or in tempura dishes.

Omurice オムライス – derived from “omelet” and “rice”, usually a plain omelet over rice seasoned with ketchup.

Oomori 大盛り – large serving of food.

O-sechi お節 – traditional meal eaten on New Years Day.

Otoro オオトロ – highly-prized fatty, oily tuna belly meat. Usually the priciest item on a sushi shop’s menu.

Oyuwari お湯割り – hot water shochu mix. Often served 6:4 (shochu to hot water) in Japan. Pour the hot water first and shochu second because it will mix on its own.


Panko パン粉 – Japanese word for breadcrumbs. Used in dishes such as tonkatsu.

Piiman ピーマン – bell/sweet pepper. Green piiman are used most often in Japanese cooking.

Ponzu ポン酢 – a soy-based sauce often used for dipping or in nabe.


Raayu ラー油 – spice-infused oil commonly used to add flavor to ramen or gyoza or, in it’s chunkier form (including bits of pepper, etc.), used a topping for a variety of meat or starchy dishes.

Ramen ラーメン – Chinese-style noodles.

Ramenya ラーメンや – restaurant specializing in ramen.

Ringosu リンゴ酢 – apple vinegar.

Robata 炉端 – type of Japanese grill.

Robatayaki 炉端焼き – a type of izakaya characterized by an open hearth at which vegetables and seafood are cooked. The customers sit around a central serving area, allowing them to indicate what they would like to order.

Ryori 料理 – Japanese for a type of food, cooking style or cuisine.

Ryoriryokan 料理旅館 – A Japanese ryokan (hotel) which specialises in food.

Ryotei 料亭 – a high class Japanese restaurant providing private dining areas, often with a garden. Synonymous with Japanese politicians.


Saba 鯖 – mackerel.

Sakana 魚 – Japanese word for fish.

Sake 1 酒 – Japanese word for alcohol, but used outside of Japan to refer to nihonshu, a brewed rice drink with an alcohol content a little stronger than the average wine. The word is pronounced /sah-kay/.

Sake 2 鮭 or サーモン – salmon.

Samsai 山菜 – general word for edible wild plants.

Sansho 山椒 – Japanese pepper.

Sashimi 刺身 – raw meat (most often fish).

Sato 砂糖 – Japanese word for sugar.

Satoimo 里芋 – taro potato, sticky, with a prickly outer skin.

Shabu shabu しゃぶしゃぶ – onomatopoeia for the sound of swishing thinly-sliced meat (usually high-grade beef) or vegetables through a pot of boiling water to quickly cook them. Also the name of the dish, which is especially popular in winter.

Shichirin 七輪 – type of lightweight Japanese stove.

Shiitake 椎茸 – highly-prized variety of mushroom, which has a broad, dark brown cap.

Shime 締め – the last course of meal. Used informal restaurants such as izakaya, not in formal dining situations.

Shimeji しめじ – shimeji mashrooms.

Shirako 白子 – fish milt (seminal fluid).

Shirataki 白滝 – noodles made from the konjac plant. They are generally low carbohydrate, low calorie, thin, translucent and gelatinous.

Shichimi 七味 – short for shichimitogarashi, a powder made up of seven different spices (ground red pepper, white poppy seeds, dried mandarin peel, green nori, hempseeds, powdered Japanese pepper seeds and sesame seeds).

Shio 塩 – Japanese word for salt.

Shiso 紫蘇 – Perilla is a genus of annual herb that is a member of the mint family.

Shoga 生姜 – Japanese word for ginger.

Shochu 焼酎 – distilled spirit, usually made of sweet potato, wheat, brown sugar, or rice, but also made of a wide variety of other ingredients.

Shojin ryori 精進料理 – a vegetarian cuisine which was first developed in the Kyoto area of Japan. It is based mainly on rice, tofu, and fresh vegetables and is eaten by Buddhist monks (who are forbidden to include any fish, meat or eggs in their diets).

Shokudou 食堂 – cafeteria inside an office or university.

Shokuiku 食育 – lit. “basic knowledge of food”.

Shoppai しょっぱい – Japanese word for salty.

Shoyu 醤油 – soy sauce.

Shuzo 酒造 – distillery.

Soba 蕎麦 – buckwheat noodles.

Sogi giri 削ぎ切り – diagonally cutting long vegetables, such as negi.

Somen 素麺 – thin, cold noodles, often served in summer.

Souzai 惣菜 – Similar in meaning to okazu.

Souzaiya 惣菜や – Japanese delicatessen, selling souzai (side dishes) such as nimono or potato salad.

Su 酢 – general word for vinegar.

Suppai 酸っぱい – Japanese word for sour.

Sushi 寿司 or 鮨 – bite-sized clumps of vinegared rice topped with or wrapped around raw seafood or certain vegetables.

Sushiya 寿司や – restaurant serving sushi.

Sudachi 酢橘 – small, round, dark green citrus fruit that is almost unique to Japan and especially common in Tokushima prefecture. Often used as a garnish or topping for various food or cocktails.

Sukiyaki すき焼 – a type of hotpot with a sweet, soy-based soup (sukiyaki tare). Slices of beef and vegetables are cooked at the table in a shallow iron pan and dipped in raw egg just before eating.

Sumeshi 酢飯 – sushi rice.


Tai 鯛 – sea bream.

Takikomi gohan 炊き込みご飯 – Japanese rice dish seasoned with dashi and soy sauce along with mushrooms, vegetables, meat, or fish.

Takoyaki たこ焼き – fried balls of batter and types of onion with a small piece of boiled octopus at the center, usually served with a thin layer of a sweet sauce and katsuobushi on top.

Tamago 卵 or 玉子 – egg.

Tamper – a metal device used for compressing coffee inside a filter basket before the beginning of the brewing operation.

Tempura 天麩羅 – deep fried fish or vegetables.

Tenkasu 天かす – small, crunchy bits of deep-fried batter used as a topping for udon or, sometimes, okonomiyaki.

Tenugui 手ぬぐい – a patterned cloth traditionally used a wrapping or method of carrying things, also used as wall decorations or bandanas.

Teppanyaki 鉄板焼き – meat, vegetables or noodles cooked on a large hotplate.

Tofu 豆腐 – bean curd. Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white cubes.

Toishi 砥石 – a stone used for sharpening knives.

Toji 杜氏 – master brewer, particularly of sake.

Tonjiru 豚汁 – pork miso soup, usually filled with small bits of pork, konnyaku, daikon, potatoes, and other vegetables.

Tonkatsu とんかつ – breaded pork cutlet, usually served with shredded cabbage and either a thick, sweet sauce or seasoned salt.

Tonkatsuya とんかつや – restaurant serving tonkatsu.

Toshi お通し – small dish provided as a starter in Japanese izakaya.

Tsukemono 漬物 – Japanese word for pickels.

Tsumami おつまみ – small dish served with drinks.

Tsumire つみれ – ball of ground sardine, usually served with soup or in oden.

Tsukiji fishmarket 築地 – Tsukiji fishmarket is the largest wholesale fishmarket in the world. It is presently located on the western edge of Tokyo Bay, however the Tokyo Metropolitan Government has announced its intention to move the market east to Toyosu. The plan is highly controversial, not least because the Toyosu site is said to be contaminated.

Tsukudani 佃煮 – a sweet and salty preserve.

Udon うどん – thick, white noodles made from wheat flour.

Umami 旨味 – one of the five basic tastes, sometimes described as “savoriness”.

Ume 梅 – The so-called “Japanese plum” is actually a relative of the apricot. Ume is a popular flavoring for rice and shochu (umeshu).

Umeboshi 梅干し – ume that has been dried and salt-pickled. Red shiso leaves are often used to make it turn red.

Umi-budo 海ブドウ – sea grapes used in many Japanese salads.

Unagi 鰻 – freshwater eel, usually grilled with a sweet sauce and served over rice.

Unagiya うなぎや – restaurant specializing in unagi (eel).

Uni ウニ – sea urchin; the raw orange gonads are the part usually served.


Wagyu 和牛 – lit. “Japanese beef”. Wagyu is known for a well-marbled, tender texture and a relatively mild flavor.

Wakame 若布/和布 – seaweed often used in miso soup.

Waribashi 割箸 – wooden chopsticks that are originally one piece and must be snapped apart before use. They are almost always thrown away after one use.

Wasabi 山葵 – Green relative of horseradish that is primarily used with sushi and sashimi.

Wasanbonto 和三盆糖 – refined sugar made from boiled-down sugar cane juice.


Yaki- 焼- – Japanese word (usually a prefix) indicating that something is grilled.

Yakiami 焼網 – type of grill used to cook on gas or charcoal stove.

Yakiniku 焼肉 – marinated grilled meat, most often beef.

Yakionigiri 焼きおにぎり – a toasted rice ball brushed with soy sauce.

Yakisoba 焼きそば – fried Chinese noodles. In Japan, this dish is usually seasoned with Worcestershire sauce.

Yakitori 焼き鳥 – barbecued chicken cooked and served on a bamboo skewer.

Yakitoriya やきとりや – a restaurant specializing in yakitori.

Yakumi 薬味 – a condiment made up of either fresh vegetables (spring onion, shiso and myoga) or dried seaweed and shichimi.

Yatai 屋台 – kiosk serving street food.

Yonezu 米酢 – rice vinegar.

Yuba 湯葉 – tofu skin, made by boiling soy milk until a “skin” congeals on the surface. It is served fresh with dipping sauces, such as shoyu or used to wrap dim sum in Chinese cuisine. It also used to make faux “meat”, especially faux “chicken”.

Yubari 夕張 – town in Hokkaido, which has lent its name to a variety of popular and prized cantaloupe.

Yukke ユッケ – raw ground beef dish similar to steak tartare.

Yuzu 柚子 – Japanese citrus fruit with a yellow rind, often described as being between a lemon and a lime.


Zatsumi 雑味 – an unnecessary, unsuitable, or out-of-place flavor, esp. in sake; always a negative term.

Zouni 雑煮 – mochi in vegetable soup that is often eaten during New Year celebrations and gatherings.