5+ Easy Words For Flavors In Japanese

Raise your hand if you love Japanese cuisine or 日本料理 (pronounced as nihon ryouri)! The infused flavors in Japanese dishes are truly unique, making them extremely popular with the international community. For this reason, tourists often save a lot before coming to the country as they usually are keen to try out all the mouthwatering types of sushi, ramen, and katsu don. Are you one of them? If you are, then learning the basics of the Japanese language can certainly help you to get the best experience!

Are you ready to order correctly or describe what you want to eat to the chef? If you are, let’s get to know the familiar words and flavors in Japanese below!

Japanese Food At A Glance

Do you know that traditional Japanese food is among the healthiest in the world?

There is an emphasis on fresh, in-season foods, and the staple dish is rice with miso soup and other specialties. In addition, you may have noticed that Japanese cuisine is frequently served in sets or combinations of the main dish and a selection of side dishes. And people in Japan, like those in China or Korea, typically eat with chopsticks and drink soup straight from the bowl.

flavors in Japanese

Basic Flavors In Japanese

As Japanese cuisine offers all the flavors, so does the Japanese language. So, if you have a Japanese friend who wants to describe food to them, here are some words and phrases to help them grasp what you’re trying to convey.

Japanese FlavorsPronunciationEnglish Definition
甘いamaiSweet flavor
辛いkaraiSpicy flavor
苦いnigaiBitter flavor
酸っぱいsuppaiSour flavor
塩辛いshiokaraiSalty flavor
まあまあmaa maaSo-so
(neither good nor bad)
不味いmazuiBad (taste)

Japanese Sentences About Flavors

甘い (Amai) – Sweet Flavor

  • そのリンゴは甘い味がする。 (sono ringo wa amai aji ga suru) – The apple tastes sweet.

辛い (Karai) – Spicy Flavor

  • タイ料理は辛いです。 (Tai ryōri wa tsurai desu) – Thai food is spicy.

Note: This word can also be used to describe a “tough” moment.

  • 誰でも辛いこともあったさ。 (dare demo karaikoto mo attasa) – Everybody had a hard time.

苦い (Nigai) – Bitter Flavor

  • この薬は苦い。 (kono kusuri wa nigai) – This medicine tastes bitter.
  • 恋の味は苦い。 (koi no aji was nigai) – The taste of love is bitter.

酸っぱい (Suppai) – Sour Flavor

  • レモンは酸っぱい。 (remon wa suppai) – Lemon is sour.
  • 腐った牛乳は酸っぱい。 (kusatta gyunyu wa suppai) – Bad milk tastes sour.

塩辛い (Shiokarai) – Salty Flavor

  • この水はすこ少し塩辛い。 (kono mizu wa sukoshi shiokarai) – This water is a little salty.

美味しい (Oishii) – Delicious

  • 日本料理は美味しいです。 (nihonryouri wa oishii desu) – Japanese food is delicious.
  • 本当に美味しそう。 (hontoni oishisou) – Looks really nice.

まあまあ (Maa Maa) – So-So (Neither Good Nor Bad)

  • カレーはまあまあでした。 (kare wa maamaa deshita) – The curry was nothing special.

不味い (Mazui) – Bad (Taste)

  • そのミルクは不味かった。 (sono miruku wa mazukatta) – The milk tasted bad.
flavors in Japanese

Popular Japanese Foods

寿司 – Sushi

A traditional Japanese meal is made of rice seasoned with basic ingredients such as vinegar, sugar, and salt. And it’s served with a colorful mixture of seafood and vegetables. Soy sauce and wasabi are then used as dipping sauces.

刺身 – Sashimi

Sashimi is frequently misunderstood as being the same as sushi. But, Sashimi is a traditional Japanese meal made of raw fish, shellfish, or other meats that have been finely sliced and served raw. Sashimi can be cut into many forms, such as thin strips, squares, cubes, etc.

ラーメン- Ramen

One of Japan’s most iconic foods is ramen, a noodle soup that has gained fans worldwide. Although there are countless variations, the dish’s key ingredients are a broth base, long, thin wheat noodles, and various toppings.

鰻丼 – Unadon

The Japanese bowl of eel and rice is categorized as donburi. Eel (or 鰻, pronounced as unagi) fillets are grilled specially and served on a heap of steamed white rice in a huge bowl. They use a sweetened soy-based sauce as a glaze. Among Japanese cuisine, this is one of the most expensive ones.

お好み焼き – Okonomiyaki

Delicious pancake topped with various sauces and seasonings and fried on an iron pan with vegetables, meat, and seafood. And you can bond with your friends over a meal like this.

カレーライス- Rice And Curry

No one ever said that Japanese cuisine lacked spiciness. This cuisine is perfect for spicy food lovers! Potatoes, carrots, onions, and pork are common ingredients in Japanese curry. Usually, curry powder or mix is used to create the sauce. Compared to its Indian inspiration, Japanese curry is typically thicker in texture and has a sweeter flavor with less spiciness. As we said before, many restaurants allow you to customize the level of spiciness in your meal, so those who like a more intense experience can order dishes with a more spicy taste.


Learning Japanese words will help you enjoy communicating with Japanese people, especially when you’re enjoying a delicious meal and want to comment on the dish in front of you. So, to make the most of your time in Japan, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with Japanese flavors. So keep practicing!

Learn Japanese With The Ling App

Learn flavors in Japanese with the Ling App

Do you find that eating Japanese food makes you want to learn more about the Japanese language? Then, there is no more time to lose!

For starters, the Ling App provides many resources to help you learn the language to your desired proficiency level. You won’t just pick up the vocabulary for describing flavors in Japanese; you’ll also learn how to express your appreciation for good food so that you can amaze the natives with your mastery of the Japanese language.

Are you ready to learn more? So download the Ling App from the Google PlayStore and Apple AppStore now, and prepare to be fluent in Malay very soon!

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