Food in Japanese – List of Words and Vocabulary

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Today you will learn how to pronounce food and write fruits, vegetables, meats, food drinks and sweets in Japanese [日本語]. In this organized list you will learn several words and increase your vocabulary.

The Japanese language is quite complex, and it borrows many words from other languages and writes them using Katakana (script used for foreign words). We recommend having some knowledge of the language.

Kudamono [果物] – Fruit in Japanese

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JapaneseRomanizationTranslation
りんごringolitter
ぶどうbudougrape
なしnashijapanese pear
ようなしyounashiPear
かきkakikhaki
オレンジorenjiorange
レモンremonlemon
ライムraimulime
グレープフルーツgureepufuruutsugrapefruit
バナナbananabanana
いちごichigostrawberry
ブルーベリーburuuberiiblueberry
さくらんぼsakurambocherry
メロンmerongreen melon (honeydew)
すいかSuikawatermelon

Curiosities: Japanese apples are much larger than western apples, while watermelons are quite small.

Japanese foods - word list and vocabulary

Yasai [やさい] – Vegetables in Japanese

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
にんじんninjacarrots
セロリseroricelery
レタスretasulettuce
キャベツkyabetsucabbage
トマトtomatotomato
ねぎdenygreen onion (scallions)
たまねぎTamanegi(Round) onion
ポテトPotetopotatoes
ブロッコリーburokkoriibroccoli
ピーマンbabychili, green pepper
まめmombeans (in general)
ピースpeisupeas
コーンkooncorn

Japanese cuisine uses a lot of vegetables, including many that are unknown in the West. An example of a Japanese vegetable is daikon, which is a giant white radish.

Japanese foods - word list and vocabulary

Meat and Fish in Japanese

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
牛肉gyuunikumeat
豚肉butanikupork
ハムhamuHam
鶏肉torinikuchicken
tamagoegg
sakanafish
エビebishrimp, shrimp, lobster
カニkanicrab
たこtakooctopus

tori “bird” is used to refer to chicken in the context of food products, as turkey and other birds are rare to find in Japan. In the same way, niku “meat” not otherwise specified generally refers to beef, although butaniku (pork) is cheaper and consumed in greater quantities.

Japanese foods - word list and vocabulary

Nyuuseihin [乳製品] – Dairy products in Japanese

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
牛乳gyuunyuumilk
ミルクmirukumilk
チーズchiizucheese
ヨーグルトyoogurutoyogurt
アイスクリームaisukuriimuIce cream

Dairy products are not used in traditional Japanese cuisine, but they can still be found in Japanese supermarkets and in Western foods. Both Gyuunyuu and Miruku are common words for milk.

Nyuuseihin [乳製品] - Japanese dairy products

Grains and Pasta in Japanese

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
eatrice (uncooked)
ご飯gohancooked rice)
玄米genmaibrown rice
うどんudonwheat noodles
そうめんsoumenThin Noodles (Noodles)
そばunder thebuckwheat noodles
ラーメンRaamenramen (Chinese noodles)
パンpanbread, rolls, pies
菓子パンkashipansweet bread cakes
ピザpizzaPizza
Japanese foods - word list and vocabulary

Other remarks:

Japanese rice It is short-grain, unlike the long-grain rice commonly used in the West. Short-grain rice is a little sticky and clumps together, making it easier to eat with chopsticks, but it's not chunky.

japanese noodles - especially only and under the, can be served hot or in a cold soup with a sauce. Noodles is a popular dish in Japanese cuisine.

The real ramen is a style of Chinese noodle soup, which became popular in Japan with its enormous fame. Pan in Japanese can refer to any type of bread or dough.

Nomimono [飲み物] – Drinks in Japanese

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
mizuWater
お茶the teagreen tea, tea, in general
日本茶nihonchajapanese green tea
麦茶mugichaJapanese iced barley tea
紅茶kouchablack tea (lit. “crimson tea”)
コーヒーkoohiicoffee
ジュースjuusujuice
オレンジジュースorenjijuusuorange juice
レモネードearnLemonade
ソーダsoodasoda pop
お酒Osakesake (rice) and alcohol in general
日本酒nihonshujapanese sake
ワインwainwine
ビールbiirubeer
sake

Japanese Seasonings and Condiments

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
醤油Shouyusoy sauce
aburaoil
yourvinegar
味醂mirincooking rice wine
shiosalt
コショウkoshouchili
砂糖satousugar
わさびwasabiwasabi (Japanese horseradish)
ごまGumsesame seeds
バターgownbutter
ケチャップkechappuketchup

The true wasabi it's a grated root. The green paste found outside of Japan is a cheaper substitute made from horseradish and mustard, two spicy plants. Also read our article on japanese spices.

Japanese seasonings and condiments

Washoku [和食] – Japanese food in nihongo

Below we will see how to write traditional and Japanese foods. Also quickly understand what each Japanese food is.

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
寿司Sushirice wrapped in seaweed
刺身Sashimisliced raw fish
天ぷらtenpurabreaded and fried vegetables and seafood
焼き鳥yakitorichicken in stick
焼肉yakinikujapanese barbecue
焼き魚yakizakanagrilled fish
焼きそばyakisobafried noodles with vegetables and meats
すき焼きSukiyakitraditional japanese stew
お好み焼きokonomiyakijapanese pancake
とんかつtonkatsufried pork chop
カレーkareecurry usually served with rice
コロッケkurokkefried croquette, usually with mashed potatoes
餃子GyouzaChinese pastry
味噌汁misoshirumiso soup (soy based)
漬物tsukemonoJapanese pickle salad

Yaki [焼き] can mean fried, grilled, roasted and the like. The word comes from the verb yaku [焼く] which means to fry, grill and bake. While not strictly native to Japan, Japanese curry is totally different from Indian curry.

Japanese foods - word list and vocabulary

Youshoku [養殖] – Western food in Japanese

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KanaRomajiTranslation
スープsuupusoup (any kind)
サラダhealedsalad
サンドイッチsanditchisandwich
ハンバーガーhanbaagaahamburger
ホットドッグhottodogguhot dog
フライドポテトfuraidopotetefrench fries, french fries
フライドチキンfuraidochikinfried chicken
ステーキsuteekisteak
スパゲッティーsupgettiispaghetti

Note that despite similar names, Japanese versions of Western foods are typically adapted to Japanese tastes.

We also recommend reading: The 100 most popular Japanese meals in Japan

Youshoku [養殖] - western food in Japanese

Snacks and Sweets in Japanese

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JapaneseRomajiTranslation
チップchippuchips
ポップコーンpoppukoonpopcorn
クッキーkukkiicookies
ケーキkeekicake
パ イdadpie
アイスクリームaisukuriimuIce cream
チョコレートchokoreetochocolate
ゼリーzeriijam (gelatin and similar desserts)
わがしwagashitraditional Japanese sweets (many are cookies)

Dessert is not traditionally served after meals in Japan (except for fresh fruit), but sweet foods are eaten as snacks or all the time.

Hope you enjoyed the article. Thanks to “japaneseprofessor” for sharing some information from the article. Hope you enjoyed the article. If you liked it, share it and leave your comments.

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