Japanese Phrases on Their Food Culture

Japanese Phrases on Their Food Culture

Japan and their food culture totally amaze us! Not just the food, their culture overall always brings a big impact globally. Let’s take the example of Anime and Manga, there are fans all over the world, and through this art, many of them try to learn their language or signature phrases. In my case, food does that to me!

You definitely know about itadakimasu in every Japanese restaurant. It’s a common phrase to say it before you eat, but there are more than that! And do you know the meaning of it? Let’s dig in and found out more about Japanese Phrases on their Food Culture!


Same as the French phrase bon appétit” means dig in. But this phrase is usually said by the chef or the host to show that the food has been served and is ready to eat. In Japanese dining etiquette, it is important to greet and serve the customer. Many Japanese restaurants will greet you with a hot, wet towel (oshibori), used to clean your hands before eating. So the next time you hear the chef or the host says Meshiagare, you know you will be looked after by them and enjoy your food experience!


Some of you should know its true meaning is not Happy Eating, but it’s a gratitude expression. Asian culture really polite in my opinion, saying thank you or sorry or even please a must. It is really important for Japanese food culture on the process, including the chef, the waiter, the food, the ingredients. Itadakimasu is a perfect expression to showing gratitude for everything! For the food, the preparation, the ingredients, and people who are involved in the process.


You say Itadakimasu before you eat, while Gochisousama after your meal. It is a phrase for saying thank you for the food! It is a sign of respect to the chef as a way of saying “it is a feast”. Gochiso refers to a meal of luxurious food. Before you say it, it is also good manners to return all of the dishes and chopsticks back to where they were at the start of the meal!


What if you want to say hungry in Japanese? It’s Harapeko, which means I’m hungry! Usually, it was used by little kids to say that. It is an informal word to say hungry. Harapeko translated into you have a strong appetite! But be careful with using this word, it can be cute or rude! Make sure you only use this word to your close one, not in a restaurant!


Can you guess what is this? Of course, it is Delicious! What I love with Japanese phrases is their word are so expressive! Oishii is an enthusiastic term to communicate that the food you’re eating is good. It is a good manner to show your appreciation of food to the chef. And definitely will make the chef happy 🙂

Okawari Kudasai

What if we want more food? This phrase is the one! It means “More Food Please!” Remember it is a good manner to finish all the food on your plate. So make sure you finish the first portion then if you need more, you can say Okawari Kudasai. It is a polite way to ask for more food!


Omakase also translates as “I’ll leave it up to you,” reflecting how Japanese dining culture allows the chef to create a specialized menu with no input from the customer. It is known as one of the expensive meals, so make sure to use omakase for special occasions. Because in Japanese culture, it is expected that the person who invited everyone should pay the bill.

It is one fun way to learn more about Japanese, both their language and culture through food! Are there any Japanese phrases for a food culture that you know? Share it with us! 🙂

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