mylunch (mylunch) wrote in bentolunch,

Glossary of Terms

The great thing about Japanese is that it's usually pronounced just the way it's spelled (in romaji). Though in Japanese, there is no real distinction between the letter R and L, so any Rs you see might be pronounced more like Ls, or a mixture of the two, depending on the speaker.

  • anko - (ahn koh) - sweetened red bean paste made from azuki beans

  • bonito - (boh nee toh) - dried fish that is shaved into flakes to make dashi seasoning

  • croquette - (croh ket) - food such as minced meat, potato, or vegetables, shaped into a patty, encased in breadcrumbs and deep fried

  • daikon - (dye kohn) - big white radish, often used to garnish sushi

  • daifuku - (dye foo koo) - Japanese confection consisting of a small round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, most commonly anko

  • dashi - (dah shee) - basic Japanese soup stock made from bonito flakes and seaweed

  • donburi - (dohn boo ree) - A bowl of rice topped with meat and vegetables. Ex: Oyakodon (chicken and egg, literally mother and child), katsudon

  • furikake - (foo ree kah keh) - condiment usually sprinkled on rice, most often made of a mixture of sesame seeds, seaweed, sugar, salt and MSG. There are many variations of furikake, sometimes includes roasted rice, salmon or crushed red pepper.

  • furoshiki - (foo roh shee kee) - cloth or napkin that the bento box and chopsticks are bundled up in

  • gyoza - (gyo-zah) - Japanese dumpling fill with meat and/or vegetables

  • kamaboko/naruto - (kah mah boh koh/nah roo toh) - fish paste cakes. Naruto is round and white with a pink spiral

  • kinchaku - (keen cha koo) - little bag, usually drawstring to hold bento and chopsticks

  • kombu - (kohm boo) - a type of seaweed used to make dashi

  • korokke - (koh roh keh) - "croquette" in Japanese; see above.

  • mirin - (mee reen) - rice wine, a slightly sweet Japanese condiment similar to sake, but with lower alcohol content

  • mochi - (moh chee) - rice cake

  • natto - (nah toh) - fermented soy beans, has a strong smell.

  • nikujaga - (nee koo jah gah) - beef and potato stew. Traditional comfort food, called ofukuro no aji (lit. Mother's taste)

  • nori - (noh ree) - various types of edible seaweed

  • Okonomiyaki - (oh koh noh mee yah kee) - a cross between an omelet and a pancake, and its preparation varies by region. I've seen many Japanese folks prepare it in a manner similar to the US' leftover casserole - i.e., just chuck in whatever random crap is in the fridge, throw it together with some eggs, noodles and flour, and there's dinner... or tomorrow's cold lunch, as the case may be.

  • onigiri - (oh nee gee ree) - rice with desired filling, often shaped into a triangle, capsule, circle or some other shape, sometimes using a mold

  • sake - (sah keh) - Japanese rice wine

  • sakura denbu - (sah koo rah dehn boo) - seasoned, shredded cod fish.
  • soba - (soh bah) - buckwheat noodles. Can be eaten hot, as in a soup; or cold, dipped in soy sauce

  • sunomono - (soo noh moh noh) - vinegared, or pickled vegetables

  • taiyaki - (tye yah kee) - baked cake filled with anko in the shape of a carp (tai)

  • takoyaki - (tah koh yah kee) - grilled octopus-filled balls made of pancake batter, topped with green onions, bonito flakes and sweet soy sauce

  • takuan - (tah koo ahn) - pickled radish, usually colored yellow

  • tamago - (tah mah goh) - Japanese omlette

  • tempura - (tehm poo rah) - vegetables or shrimp, dipped in batter and deep-fried

  • tonkatsu - (tohn kah tsu) - breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet, generally served with shredded cabbage

  • udon - (oo dohn) - thick, chewy noodles

  • unadon - (oo nah dohn) - donburi made with unagi

  • unagi - (oo nah gee) - grilled freshwater eel, usually served with a sweet soy sauce

  • yakitori/yakiniku - (yah kee toh ree/yah kee nee koo) - grilled chicken and grilled beef, respectively.
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