Sensations and flavors of taste in Japanese

Do you know all the flavors in Japanese? Do you know how to express the sensations of taste in the Japanese language? In this article, we will talk about the taste sensations used by the Japanese palate and detail some of them.

The Japanese take cuisine and flavor so seriously that they even discovered an official taste sensation that was named umami. They use lots of spices and little salt to give their food a unique and distinctive flavor.

The taste is a chemical sensation perceived by specific cells, the taste buds. Through them we can distinguish the salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami flavors. But, have you ever wondered how to say this in Japanese?

How to say the flavors in Japanese?

When you eat, or are tasting something, the expressions of flavors and sensations in the Japanese language are:

  • Aji [味] - Flavor;
  • Oishii [美味しい / おいしい] - Delicious, Yummy;
  • Umai [うまい] - Good;
  • Love [甘い] - Sweet;
  • Nigai [苦い] - Bitter;
  • Suppai [酸っぱい] - Sour;
  • Shoppai [しょっぱい] - Salty;
  • Umami [旨味] - Umami;
  • Shiokarai [塩辛い] - Salty;
  • Karai [辛い /からい] - Spicy;
  • Shibui [渋い] - Astringent;
  • Mazui [まずい] - I like Bad;
  • Atsui [熱い] - Hot;
  • Tsumetai [冷たい] - Frosting;
  • Atatakai [温かい] - Warm;
Sensations and flavors of taste in Japanese

How do you say something tastes good in Japanese?

There are several ways to say that something is delicious or very good in Japanese. See in detail some of the expressions below:

Oishii [美味しい] - A common word to say that something is delicious and delicious. Its use covers things besides food, it can be used to say that a person is hot or has a hot body.

Umai [うまい] - It means good, tasty and delicious. The word Umai it is used not only when we taste something delicious, but when we witness something good and surprise with results, meaning did very well! Skillful!

Umai in addition to being written in hiragana, it can be written in several kanji:

  • 美味い - Literally refers to good taste;
  • 旨い - Refers to something delicious;
  • 巧い / 上手い - Refers to the act of doing something good, smart, tasty;

Usage examples:

  • うまく行く- umaku iku - Go well, be successful;
  • 日本語うまいですね - nihongo umai desu ne! - You speak Japanese very well!

It is worth remembering that the pronounced form also greatly influences the effect of the word, whenever you express a taste for something, speak in a way that expresses feeling.

Kekkou [結構] - Although it is not very common to use it to describe flavors, some may use it to say that the food is splendid, wonderful, cool and delicious .. It can also indicate that the person is already full, he doesn't want it anymore, finds it tolerable or thanks, so be careful when using it.

  • Maiuu [まいうー] umai slang;
  • Boono [ボーノ] comes from the Italian buono;
  • Maiyu [まいゆ] - slang for umai;

Another way to show gratitude for the food, especially in restaurants, is to end the meal by saying gochisousamadeshita [ご馳走様でした], for more information read our article on these expressions.

Sensations and flavors of taste in Japanese

How do you say sweet in Japanese?

To express that something is sweet in Japanese we use love [甘い] which can also mean naive, unprepared, half-assed, excessively tolerant, bland, soft, insufficient, incomplete, ineffective, succulent.

Unlike English, this word can have a negative connotation when used in occasions that are not describing the taste of a food. So be careful when calling something sweet. For example:

  • Niamae [人に甘い] - It can refer to a spoiled person, or easy;
  • Amaeru [甘える] - It means flattering, giving up;
  • Amai hahaoya [甘い母親] - In a negative way, a mother who spoils her child;
  • Amaku kangaeru [甘く考える] - Underestimate, be unprepared, dream too much;

How do you say Sour in Japanese?

To say sour in Japanese we use the expression suppai  [酸っぱい] which fortunately has no other meaning than sour. The word is used to refer mainly to acidic things, it can also be used in phrases like:

  • Sui mo ama mo [酸いも甘いも] Good and bad times

Acidity is an indispensable and daily flavor of the Japanese table, whether in food or condiments. To refer to bitterness we use the expression sanmi [酸味]. A source of sour flavor that the Japanese like and consume is vinegar, umeboshi, which are pickled plums and some sauces.

Sensations and flavors of taste in Japanese

How do you say Bitter in Japanese?

The bitter taste or bitterness in Japanese can be expressed with nigami [苦味]. The adjective of bitter in Japanese is nigai [苦い] and can be found in some Japanese sauces and the famous dish goya chanpuru.

In addition to bitterness we also have the astringency that in Japanese is called shibumi [渋み]. Astringency is not a taste, but a mechanical sensation. The adjective for something astringent in Japanese is shibui [渋い].

Astringent when a product is consumed, the drying effect fills the mouth, as does the language inside the cheeks. Astringency is often mistaken for bitterness that is "detected" by the taste buds of the tongue.

Sensations and flavors of taste in Japanese

Umami - The Japanese flavor

It is considered one of the 5 basic flavors and tastes, recognized worldwide, but little talked about. O umami it is on the same level as sweet, salty, sour, but it is rarely mentioned when referring to tastes.

Umami [うま味] - Can be translated as “pleasant salty taste”. This particular writing was chosen by the teacher Kikunae Ikeda. It is a derivation of umi [うまい] which means “delicious” and mi [] which means “like”.

Umami has a soft but long-lasting aftertaste, hard to describe. It induces salivation and a velvety sensation on the tongue; it can stimulate the throat, the palate and the back of the mouth.

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