Who hasn't ever walked into a Japanese restaurant, read the menu and didn't understand anything?

Here is a small guide of some Japanese words related to gastronomy to help you choose your dishes.

An (Ko): An or it is commonly said anko are jams or creams made with legumes, potatoes, chestnuts and are used for traditional Japanese sweets.

Bento: Bentō or obentō is a Japanese word that means: meal put in a container to take it out. The classic bento is made with rice and a dish and some side dishes, but they can be variable, in fact, even a sandwich can be called a bento.

Dango: Dango is a Japanese word that indicates a food similar to dumpling, prepared with flour (rice, or glutinous rice, or other cereals) and water, it is characterized by its ball shape, but can be served at spit.

Donburi: Donburi means 'bowl' in Japanese, but also the name of all dishes consisting of rice (gohan) together with a side dish placed in a bowl, it is also said 'donmono' as a generic name. The variety of donburi is infinite, they can also be invented occasionally, but the typical ones are: oyako-don (rice with chicken and egg), ten-don (fried rice called quenching), katsu-don (rice with cutlet called katsu ), maguro-don (rice with raw tuna), una-don (rice with eel called unaghi) etc.

Furikake: The word furikake literally means 'sprinkled' and indicates spices or foods made into small pieces and dried to be sprinkled. Normally, boiled white rice (gohan) is used as a flavoring, they are salted enough to season it, then they are brought to the table and sprinkled directly on the rice. Furikake can be used to prepare onigiri, or on rice for bento. In Japan there are various types of furikake ready for use and packaged in different ways such as in bags, in jars.

Himono: Himono literally means 'dried things', but often it means that of fish or molluscs. There are several ways to prepare them, first you clean the entrails of the fish (but in some cases they are also used whole), and put them in salty water, then they are dried for a few hours or for a few days in a well aerated. In the case of short drying, they are called ichiyaboshi or namaboshi, which in this way the ingredients are not completely dehydrated but become slightly compact so the taste stands out.

Kayu: Kayu or okayu is a simple soup commonly made of rice but can be based on other cereals. It is a digestible dish so it is often used if you are sick. It is usually eaten with salted preserves such as umeboshi, tsukudani etc.

Kimpira: Kinpira is a basic dish of edible roots such as burdock root, carrot, lotus root, etc. You can also use daikon or pumpkin skins as an 'ecological' cuisine. The vegetables are thinly cut into julienne strips, sautéed in oil and seasoned with soy sauce and sugar. It is one of the popular side dishes for white rice (gohan).

Menrui: Menrui ¬ or men is the generic name of spaghetti, both in broth and dry, they can be made from wheat or rice flour. Among the most popular are: soba, udon, ramen, somen etc. etc. A plate of menrui can replace rice (gohan), which is its primary component.

Onigiri: Onigiri or also called omusubi, are boiled rice balls that you can easily eat with your hands, are often used for a quick meal or to take it out of the house as a bento.

Sashimi: Sashimi is a preparation method to enjoy raw fish or seafood but also beef, chicken, horse, naturally the meat must be very fresh and safe. The ingredients are sliced ​​with a sharp knife and served with soy sauce and a little wasabi or other spices such as ginger, chives, shiso leaves, julienned daikon etc.

Udon: Udon is a type of traditional Japanese noodles that is as popular as soba noodles, made with wheat flour, water and salt, the most common being thick and white, but they can be thin or flattened. like noodles.

Tsukemono: Tsukemono is the Japanese name for foods prepared by immersion in condiments for a certain period, it can be for a few minutes or for years, and in the latter case a fermentation process is often used. The most used condiments are: salt, vinegar, sugar, rice bran, komekoji, oil, miso, and alcohol.

Sake: very alcoholic liqueur obtained from the fermentation of rice, used by Japanese in various situations.

Shiitake: a species of mushroom typically used in Japanese cuisine.