You might think that Japanese people like “raw-food”? No wonder! When the Japanese word “nama” is combined with food like “nama + food”, generally it implies “raw, fresh, uncooked/unbaked, and so on.
Nama-tamago: raw egg
Nama-gaki: raw oyster
Nama-niku: raw meat
Nama-zakana: raw fish
Nama-yasai: fresh vegetables
Nama-men: fresh noodles
Nama-kurīmu: fresh cream
Nama-mizu: unboiled/treated water
Nama-bīru: pasteurized/unpasteurized beer (draft beer)
Nama-gashi: unbaked sweets
However, what I would like to focus on here are different “nama-food/sweets” unique to Japan! They are luxurious, expensive and hard to get...but they are very popular these days!
Nama-shokupan: extra soft and fluffy shokupan-bread
Nama-kasutera: melted sponge cake (It’s a half-baked textured sponge cake, but not unbaked!)
Nama-purin: super smooth caramel custard with raw egg yolk on the top
Nama-kukkī: rich and moist cookies (not unbaked cookies!)
Nama-aisu: *super fresh and high quality ice cream (*They only produce “nama-aisu” that they can sell out on the same day.)
Nama-chīzu kēki: rich and melt in the mouth cheesecake
Nama-choko: creamy and melt in the mouth Japanese ganache
As you can see, such “nama-food/sweets” are hard to translate into English…the basic meanings of ”nama” doesn’t work...so it’s better to try them and find out what they taste like!
Sometimes words like “nama” can be combined with other words in a unique and creative way. They don’t really show their original meaning. That’s a fun fact, isn’t it?