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Point-and-Speak Japanese Phrasebook Convenient for Travel (Standard Cuisine Edition)

Have you ever been to a restaurant where only Japanese is spoken, and had trouble understanding the menu? Here is a standard cuisine edition of a word book that you simply need to point at in restaurants. Use it in combination with a phrase book and you'll be able to communicate smoothly. Try ordering in Japanese using these terms!

1. Soba(そば)

"Soba (そば)" is a type of noodle that is made by kneading buckwheat flour with water and cutting it into small strips. There are various ways of eating it, such as "kake-soba (かけそば)", where it is eaten with plenty of warm broth, and "zaru-soba (ざるそば)", otherwise known as "mori-soba (もりそば)", which is cooled with water and eaten by dipping into sauce.

2. Udon (うどん)

"Udon (うどん)" is a type of noodle made by kneading flour with a little salted water and cutting it into noodles. It is most common to eat it as "kake-udon (かけうどん)", with warm broth, but as in the case of soba, it can be eaten cold with sauce as "zaru-udon (ざるうどん)". There is also a type called "kamaage-udon (釜揚げうどん)", where it is eaten steaming hot and dipped in a separate sauce.

3. Ramen (ラーメン)

"Ramen (ラーメン)" is a type of dish with noodles, soup, and a variety of toppings, that originally came from China but developed into a uniquely Japanese dish. There is a wide variety of tastes, from light ones to rich ones. There are many regional ramen around Japan, each with different characteristics, such as the taste of the soup and the thickness of the noodles.

4. Sushi (寿司)

"Sushi (寿司)" is the general term for dishes that combine vinegar rice and seafood. The representative type of sushi is "nigiri-zushi (寿司)", which are bite-size pieces of rice with fresh fish on top. "nigiri-zushi" often has wasabi in it, so if you don't like wasabi, ask for "wasabi-nuki (わさび抜き)", which means "no wasabi".

5. Donburi-mono (丼もの)

"Donburi-mono (丼もの)" are dishes with the rice and accompanying food all served in one donburi-bachi bowl (a thick, deep bowl). Donburi-mono usually has "don (丼)" at the end of its name as in the case of "katsudon (カツ丼)", which has tonkatsu pork cutlets cooked with eggs, and "kaisendon (海鮮丼)", which has fresh seafood, .

6. Yakiniku (焼肉)

"Yakiniku (焼肉)" is a type of food where the customer orders the type of meat he wishes to have and cooks it on direct heat. The main type of meat is beef. It can be ordered by cut, such as "karubi (カルビ)" short ribs, "roosu (ロース)" loin and chuck slices, and "harami (ハラミ)", the tender meat around the diaphragm. Most restaurants also offer pork, chicken, and offal.

7. Sukiyaki (すき焼き)

"Sukiyaki (すき焼き)" is a type of dish where ingredients such as thinly sliced beef are grilled and simmered in a shallow cast iron pot. It has a sweet and salty flavor from soy sauce, sugar, and sake and usually has ingredients such as shungiku chrysanthemum greens, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and shirataki (thin noodles made from konjac yam). It is eaten with beaten raw eggs.

8. Shabushabu (しゃぶしゃぶ)

"Shabushabu (しゃぶしゃぶ)" is a pot dish made by dipping thin slices of meat in boiling dashi soup and eating them with sauce. The sauce is usually a gomadare sesame sauce (ground sesame mixed with sugar, soy sauce and mirin) or a ponzu (soy sauce with citrus juice) sauce.

9. Tonkatsu (とんかつ)

"Tonkatsu (とんかつ)" is deep-fried thick pork cutlets covered in flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs. It is usually eaten with a sauce that concentrates the umami flavors of vegetables and fruit, or grated daikon radishes and ponzu citrus sauce. Some restaurants offer several types of sauces to choose from.

10. Teishoku (定食)

"Teishoku (定食)" is a type of set meal that includes a main dish, rice, soup, and side vegetables or tsukemono pickles. Usually, it has the name of the main dish at the beginning, such as "tonkatsu teishoku (とんかつ定食)" for a teishoku with tonkatsu pork cutlets or "yakizakana teishoku (焼き魚定食)" for a teishoku with grilled fish.

Each word has its pronunciation next to it, so try reading them out! They are all standard dishes, so they are sure to come up frequently during lunch and dinner.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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