Oishii! 16 Ways to Say Delicious in Japanese

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When studying Japanese we come across the word yummy and delicious which is oishii [美味しい], but is it the only existing word to express that something is delicious in Japanese? In this article we have separated some alternatives to the word oishii for you to say that something is tasteful and delicious in Japanese.

What does Oishii mean?

Before we must understand what it really means oishii [美味しい]. This word is composed with the ideogram bi (美) which refers to beauty, to something beautiful and beautiful. And also the ideogram aji (味) which refers to flavor and taste. So we're literally saying the taste is beautiful.

The first alternative we are going to mention is exactly the same as oishii [美味] but pronounced differently. The word oishii can also be pronounced as bimi [美味] which are the Chinese readings of this ideogram and does not refer to an adjective like oishii, but rather a noun.

Of course we are not going to use a random noun, we should add that noun in a sentence like “Bimi naru” [美味なる] which indicates that something has become delicious, in the sense of becoming delicious. We can also add where this food is served to indicate that the food from a certain place is delicious.

Alternatives to oishii - ways to say delicious in Japanese

Umai [うまい] – Tasty and delicious

This expression umi [うまい] is quite popular, but casual and a little more specific. In addition to referring to something tasty, you may be trying to say that something is really appetizing and tasty. A great option that really expresses the feeling you have for food while hanging out with friends.

The great confusion goes to the origin of his writing, which is kind of confusing and indeterminable. According to the dictionary it can be written as [上手い] but it also means splendid, promising, skillful and smart. It's like we're praising not just the food, but whoever made it.

There is another word that is pronounced umi [甘い] related to flavor which literally means sweet, sugary and bittersweet taste. Some end up using this expression in cooking to refer to a delicious taste, but it is not recommended (unless something is literally sweet or bittersweet). Read our article on Japanese flavors.

Apparently the original character of umai is [旨] but it is no longer used, where nowadays it is customary to write only with hiragana. This ideogram literally gives the idea of something delicious, tasty and specialty. Over time it was literally replaced by [上手い]. Interestingly, the ideograms [上手] give the idea that something was made by hand.

Alternatives to oishii - ways to say delicious in Japanese

Zeppin [絶品] – Maravilhoso

The word zeppin (絶品) gives the idea of a masterpiece, an exquisite item, a perfection or something unique. The word is composed of the character [絶] which means interrupt and beyond, and the character [品] which means something refined, dignified and is also used as counter in cooking.

In TV shows and advertisements it is common to find expressions like zeppin gormet [絶品グルメ] or zeppin desu [絶品です] that you can use both casually and formally. Just don't use it randomly because that word is really saying it's one of the tastiest and most delicious things you've ever eaten in your life.

In addition to using these simple words like oishii, umai and zeppin, you can talk more and explain how the food tastes or why it tastes so good. You can express it with few words and end with aji (味) which means flavor.

Alternatives to oishii - ways to say delicious in Japanese

Other Ways to Say Yummy in Japanese

Some people use expressions of common surprise like saikou [最高] which means the best, wonderful and supreme. Some girls often say shiawase (幸せ) which means happy, because they are really happy to eat a delicious dish.

Some say the food is so good that they are addicted to it saying: Kuse ni naru (癖になる). The word kuse [癖] literally means habit, tendency and vice. There is also a reverse version of umi that is pronounced maiyu [まいゆ] which literally means the same thing.

Some often use the expression Hoppe ga Ochiru [ほっぺが落ちる] which literally means cheek dropping. That expression indicates that the food is so good that her cheek has surrendered, been defeated and dropped.

Alternatives to oishii - ways to say delicious in Japanese

Finally, let's leave other words related to delicious and tasty, but that are not usually used today or in all situations.

Responsive Table: Scroll the table to the side with your finger >>
Splendid (Used but when satisfied);結構kekkou
Delicious or gourmet food美食Bishoku
Delicious taste, excellent taste風味絶佳Fuumizekka
delicious taste佳味Kami
Unusual and delicious meal珍膳Chinzen
Unusual and delicious meal珍肴Chinkou
It was delicious牛負けたUshimaketa
Good taste好味Koumi

Checklist – 15 Ways to Say Yummy in Japanese

Now that we've reached the end of the article, it's time to count the number of ways to make food taste good:

  1. Oshii;
  2. Umai;
  3. Zeppin;
  4. Saikou
  5. Shiawase
  6. Kuse ni naru
  7. Maiyu
  8. Hoppe ga Ochiru
  9. kekkou
  10. Bishoku
  11. Fuumizekka
  12. Kami
  13. chinzen
  14. Chinkou
  15. Ushimaketa
  16. Koumi

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