Gitai-go (mimetic words) - let’s describe flavor and texture of food

Gitai-go (mimetic words) are words which mimic the attributes (excluding sounds) of things and can be used as nouns. Japanese have so many gitai-go (mimetic words) that I’d like to focus on ones to describe flavor and texture of food here! They are commonly used and you can use them easily when you enjoy delicious Japanese food!


Karikari / Sakusaku (カリカリ / さくさく): “crispy” “crunchy” - Tempura

Shakishaki (しゃきしゃき): “crisp and juicy” - e.g. vegetable in Tempura

Puripuri (プリプリ): “plump”, “nice texture” - e.g. shrimp in tempura

<Oyako-don: Chicken and Egg rice bowl>

Fuwafuwa / Funwari (ふわふわ / ふんわり): “fluffy,” “soft,” “light” - e.g. egg in oyako-don

Shittori (しっとり): “moist,” “soft to the touch” - e.g. chicken in oyakodon

Mocchiri (もちっり): chewy and moist - e.g. cooked rice

<Udon - thick Japanese noodle>

Tsurutsuru-shikoshiko (つるつるしこしこ): “smooth and chewy” - e.g. Udon

Piritto (ぴりっと): “spicy and hot” - e.g. Shichi-mi (Japanese spice)

Assari (あっさり): “not heavy nor lingering,” “light”e.g. Udon soup


Kotteri (こってり): “rich,” “heavy,” “lingering,” “fatty” - e.g. Tonkotsu ramen

Trotoro (とろとろ): “thick and smooth/creamy” “soft and moist” - e.g. soft boiled eggs, pork belly slices


Nabanaba (ねばねば): “sticky and slimy” - e.g. Nagttou

Some expressions are hard to translate into English, so it's better to remember them with your actual experience of eating these specific Japanese dishes!

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