Explaining Japanese food and drink

Part One

Imagine your partner is a foreign guest who arrived in your country for the first time yesterday and has little experience eating your country’s food. Choose places from below that you think might be suitable for a foreign guest. Suggest going there to them, then explain what each place and its food is like. Do they like your ideas?

  • Akachochin bar
  • Champon restaurant
  • Chankonabe restaurant
  • Conveyor belt sushi bar
  • Donburi restaurant/ Gyudon restaurant
  • Family restaurant
  • Fugu restaurant
  • Geisha bar
  • Genghis Khan restaurant
  • Hanami party
  • High ball bar
  • Izakaya
  • Karaoke box
  • Kushiyaki restaurant
  • Monjayaki restaurant
  • Motsuyaki restaurant
  • Nomihoudai
  • Oden restaurant
  • Okinawan bar/ restaurant
  • Okonomiyaki restaurant
  • Ryotei
  • Sake bar
  • Shabu-shabu restaurant
  • Shochu bar
  • “Snack”/ Mama-san bar
  • Soba restaurant
  • Tachinomiya bar
  • Teishokuya
  • Tempura restaurant
  • Tonkatsu restaurant
  • Tonkotsu ramen restaurant
  • Wagashiya
  • Yakatabune
  • Yakiniku restaurant
  • Yakitori restaurant
  • Yatai
  • Youshoku restaurant

Are any of the places above unsuitable for entertaining foreign guests? Why?

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Explaining Japanese food and drink Part Two

Roleplay a conversation with the same foreign guest who is in your country for the first time, this time imagining you are already inside a Japanese-style restaurant or bar and this is its menu. Make recommendations for what your partner should try, explaining what all the things are. Only use words that a foreign person who has only eaten a little Japanese food in their own country would understand (meaning words like “sushi” are fine).

  • Agedashi dofu
  • Basashi
  • Champon
  • Chawan mushi
  • Chikuwa
  • Chirashizushi/ Maki-zushi
  • Daikon salad
  • Edamame
  • Genmai
  • Gobo kinpira
  • Goya champuru
  • Gunkan sushi
  • Gyoza
  • Hayashi rice
  • Hijiki salad
  • Ikura
  • Kamaboko
  • Kappamaki
  • Karaage
  • Kareraisu
  • Konnyaku
  • Mentaiko
  • Mirin
  • Mochi
  • Motsuyaki
  • Natto
  • Negi
  • Nikujaga
  • Nikuman
  • Nira
  • Nori
  • Ochazuke
  • O-kayu
  • Omuraisu
  • Onigiri
  • O-sechi- ryori
  • Oyakodon
  • Ponzu
  • Reimen
  • Sashimi
  • Sekihan
  • Shabu-shabu
  • Shichimi
  • Shumai
  • Somen
  • Sukiyaki
  • Sunomono
  • Tamagoyaki
  • Tekkamaki
  • Temaki-zushi
  • Tofu
  • Tonjiru
  • Tonkatsu
  • Tsukemono
  • Udon
  • Umeboshi
  • Unagi-don
  • Wasabi
  • Yaki-imo
  • Yakiniku
  • Yakisoba
  • Yakitori
  • Yuzu
  • Zaru soba
  • Zousui

 

Desserts

  • Anmitsu
  • Daigaku imo
  • Daifuku
  • Kakigori
  • Karinto
  • Manju
  • Melon pan
  • Taiyaki

 

Drinks

  • Chuhai
  • Dango
  • Dorayaki
  • Genmai cha
  • Happoshu
  • Hoppy
  • Houjicha
  • Matcha
  • Mugicha
  • Shochu
  • Umeshu

—————————–

Explaining Japanese food and drink

What Japanese food matches each of the following descriptions? Try to write the names next to the descriptions without looking above first of all.

  • Japanese-style curry.
  • Japanese-style fried chicken.
  • Various parts of chicken and vegetables threaded on bamboo skewers and grilled over charcoal. During cooking, it is flavoured with salt or brushed with a mild sweet soy sauce.
  • A fairly sweet plum liqueur.
  • A giant savoury pancake cooked right in front of you on a hot plate. You choose the ingredients and make it yourself.
  • A rice ball with fillings, sometimes wrapped in dried seaweed.
  • A slightly hot mixture of seven spices.
  • A slightly sweet Japanese omelette, usually made in thin layers and then folded together.
  • Barley tea, usually served cold.
  • Brown rice.
  • Chewy rice cake, made from short-grained sticky rice.
  • Chinese steamed pork buns.
  • Crispy sheets of thin seaweed
  • Cucumber sushi, wrapped in dried seaweed.
  • Fermented soy beans, often eaten at breakfast but very much an acquired taste due to their strong smell, aftertaste and sliminess.
  • Fresh green soya beans, often served as a healthy snack or appetiser.
  • Fried breaded pork cutlets served with a spicy brown sauce.
  • Grilled tripe (kidneys, liver, guts, etc)
  • Japanese horseradish, with a green colour and very pungent taste which goes up your nose, something like English mustard.
  • Japanese mushrooms, often dried.
  • Japanese pickles, usually fairly lightly salted.
  • Japanese rice wine.
  • Japanese spirits made from ingredients such as rice, Japanese potatoes and sweet potatoes. Not usually as strong as Western spirits such as vodka. Drinkable straight, on the rocks, diluted with water, or with mixers such as oolong tea.
  • Large fish eggs, often served as part of sushi or on rice.
  • Like a kind of stew or non-spicy curry with a sauce that tastes like gravy, served on rice.
  • “Potstickers” – a kind of Chinese dumpling that are fried on one side, filled with minced meat and garlic.
  • Powdered green tea, with a somewhat or very bitter taste. Drunk as part of the Japanese tea ceremony, but nowadays more common as a flavour in other things such as ice cream.
  • Processed fish cake, often included in the broth of noodles.
  • Raw horse meat.
  • Rice porridge.
  • Seafood and vegetables are deep-fried in a crispy, light batter.
  • Shaved ice sherbet with sweet toppings such as strawberry syrup and condensed milk.
  • Slices of raw fish.
  • Small spicy fish eggs.
  • A cheap, low malt alternative to beer.
  • Sour pickled dried plums.
  • Sweet Japanese rice dumplings, often covered with a caramelly sauce.
  • Sweet rice wine vinegar, used as a flavouring in things such as sushi rice.
  • A kind of savoury custard, usually served as a side dish.
  • Thick white wheat noodles.
  • Thin, greyish noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flour. Sometimes eaten plain and cold dipped in a sauce.
  • Thinly sliced beef and a variety of vegetables are dipped into a bubbling broth and quickly cooked. A selection of special dipping sauces are used.
  • Somewhere between a spring onion and a leek (in both appearance and taste).
  • A big white radish, something like a long suede, which is often grated and eaten raw.
  • Bean curd.

Look at the worksheets above to help with this task, then check your answers as a class.

 ——————————

Find words and expressions in the descriptions above that have the meanings below. If you get stuck, try to think about which food might be described that way, then find words in that description that match these definitions.

  • a piece of hot flat metal that you cook on top of
  • a small course or snack served right at the very beginning of the meal, sometimes while still looking at the menu
  • an extra dish served with the main course, usually on a separate smaller plate or bowl
  • cooked floating in a lot of oil
  • hard and thin, so it breaks and crunches when you bite it
  • not sweet
  • plants from the sea
  • put around the outside of something
  • put one food briefly into another food or sauce
  • soft drinks such as soda water when put with alcoholic drinks to make them weaker and/ or add taste
  • something that most people don’t like the first time that they try it (although people who have got used to it may love it)
  • strong but sweet alcohol
  • the insides of an animal
  • the main ingredient of beer, similar to wheat
  • the opposite of strong
  • thin sharp pieces of wood or metal, put through food in order to cook it
  • things inside
  • things put on a dish to give it more flavour and/ or colour.
  • things that make up a recipe
  • uncooked
  • very strong taste or smell
  • water and flour plus maybe egg that things are coated in before frying
  • water flavoured by meat and/ or vegetables for cooking in
  • with no sauce

————————–

Hints

The words to match the task above are in bold below

  • Japanese-style curry.
  • Japanese-style fried chicken.
  • Various parts of chicken and vegetables threaded on bamboo skewers and grilled over charcoal. During cooking, it is flavoured with salt or brushed with a mild sweet soy sauce.
  • A fairly sweet plum liqueur.
  • A giant savoury pancake cooked right in front of you on a hot plate. You choose the ingredients and make it yourself.
  • A rice ball with fillings, sometimes wrapped in dried seaweed.
  • A slightly hot mixture of seven spices.
  • A slightly sweet Japanese omelette, usually made in thin layers and then folded together.
  • Barley tea, usually served cold.
  • Brown rice.
  • Chewy rice cake, made from short-grained sticky rice.
  • Chinese steamed pork buns.
  • Crispy sheets of thin seaweed
  • Cucumber sushi, wrapped in dried seaweed.
  • Fermented soy beans, often eaten at breakfast but very much an acquired taste due to their strong smell, aftertaste and sliminess.
  • Fresh green soya beans, often served as a healthy snack or appetiser.
  • Fried breaded pork cutlets served with a spicy brown sauce.
  • Grilled tripe (kidneys, liver, guts, etc)
  • Japanese horseradish, with a green colour and very pungent taste which goes up your nose, something like English mustard.
  • Japanese mushrooms, often dried.
  • Japanese pickles, usually fairly lightly salted.
  • Japanese rice wine.
  • Japanese spirits made from ingredients such as rice, Japanese potatoes and sweet potatoes. Not usually as strong as Western spirits such as vodka. Drinkable straight, on the rocks, diluted with water, or with mixers such as oolong tea.
  • Large fish eggs, often served as part of sushi or on rice.
  • Like a kind of stew or non-spicy curry with a sauce that tastes like gravy, served on rice.
  • “Potstickers” – a kind of Chinese dumpling that are fried on one side, filled with minced meat and garlic.
  • Powdered green tea, with a somewhat or very bitter taste. Drunk as part of the Japanese tea ceremony, but nowadays more common as a flavour in other things such as ice cream.
  • Processed fish cake, often included in the broth of noodles.
  • Raw horse meat.
  • Rice porridge.
  • Seafood and vegetables are deep-fried in a crispy, light batter.
  • Shaved ice sherbet with sweet toppings such as strawberry syrup and condensed milk.
  • Slices of raw
  • Small spicy fish eggs.
  • A cheap, low malt alternative to beer.
  • Sour pickled dried plums.
  • Sweet Japanese rice dumplings, often covered with a caramelly sauce.
  • Sweet rice wine vinegar, used as a flavouring in things such as sushi rice.
  • A kind of savoury custard, usually served as a side dish.
  • Thick white wheat noodles.
  • Thin, greyish noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flour. Sometimes eaten plain and cold dipped in a sauce.
  • Thinly sliced beef and a variety of vegetables are dipped into a bubbling broth and quickly cooked. A selection of special dipping sauces are used.
  • Somewhere between a spring onion and a leek (in both appearance and taste).
  • A big white radish, something like a long suede, which is often grated and eaten raw.
  • Bean curd.

—————————

Suggested answers

  • a piece of hot flat metal that you cook on top of – hot plate
  • a small course or snack served right at the very beginning of the meal, sometimes while still looking at the menu – appetiser
  • an extra dish served with the main course, usually on a separate smaller plate or bowl – side dish
  • cooked floating in a lot of oil – deep fried
  • hard and thin, so it breaks and crunches when you bite it – crisp
  • not sweet – savoury
  • plants from the sea – seaweed
  • put around the outside of something – wrap
  • put one food briefly into another food or sauce – dip
  • soft drinks such as soda water when put with alcoholic drinks to make them weaker and/ or add taste – mixer
  • something that most people don’t like the first time that they try it (although people who have got used to it may love it) – an acquired taste
  • strong but sweet alcohol – liqueur
  • the insides of an animal – tripe
  • the main ingredient of beer, similar to wheat – barley
  • the opposite of strong – mild
  • thin sharp pieces of wood or metal, put through food in order to cook it – skewer
  • things inside – fillings
  • things put on a dish to give it more flavour and/ or colour – toppings
  • things that make up a recipe – ingredients
  • uncooked – raw
  • very strong taste or smell – pungent
  • water and flour plus maybe egg that things are coated in before frying – batter
  • water flavoured by meat and/ or vegetables for cooking in – broth
  • with no sauce – plain

———————————-

PDF version for easy saving and printing: Explaining Japanese food and drink

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