Japanese onomatopoeia for food ! -Part 2-

Onomatopoeia is great way to express your feelings when you can't use ordinary words. Japanese has more than 4000 onomatopoeia!

In our previous article, we shared about onomatopoeia for foods that are really common for Japanese people. Please check the link below if you haven't read it yet!

Japanese onomatopoeia for food ! -Part1- - Nyapanese

This article is our part 2 for food onomatopoeia. These onomatopoeia are for Japanese unique foods!

We will also share about onomatopoeia for the taste of food!
You can understand how to say spiciness in Japanese onomatopoeia too!

Japanese onomatopoeia for food

つるつる (tsuru-tsuru) / smooth and slippery

つるつる (tsuru-tsuru)

Tsuru tsuru means smooth and slippery! Tsuru tsuru feels like the surface of a candy when you lick it.

You can say tsuru tsuru for soba and udon if it has a smooth surface!



Slurp up soba.


This udon is smooth and good!


Soba, udon, and other slippery noodles.

ネバネバ (neba-neba) / slimy, sticky and stringy

ネバネバ (neba-neba)

ネバネバ (neba-neba) means slimy and stringy.  Japanese food has lots of stringy food, like natto, okura, nammeko mushroom and yams. These foods are good for your stomach. The slimy texture is said to protect your mucous membranes. Some people think Japanese food is good for your health because not only does it have oil-less foods, but also has these neba neba foods!



Stir natto (as it is stringy).


Sticky foods are good for your health!


Natto(なっとう), okura (オクラ), yams (山芋)

ガリガリ (gari-gari) / crunch crunch

ガリガリ (gari-gari)

Garigari is a sound when you bite hard foods. But it’s mostly used for when you eat ice cubes or popsicles.

ガリガリ君 (gari-gari-kun)

Garigari kun is a Japanese famous popsicle brand. Garigari is used in the name as an onomatopoeia. You can hear the garigari sound when you eat it!

You have definitely eaten a garigari kun in your lifetime if you are a Japanese person!

プリプリ (puri-puri) / plump and chewy

ぷりぷり (puri-puri)

Puripuri means plump and chewy!

It’s used for shrimp and shumai. It expresses freshness and a filling with lots of meat!



I want to eat a fresh shrimp sushi!


Raw shrimp and shumai (Chinese meat dumpling).

Onomatopoeia for taste and thickness

あっさりとさっぱり (assari and sappari)


Assari means mild and lightly seasoned. You can say assari for all food if its taste is mild and lightly seasoned!

Sappari is for sour and refreshing food. You can use this word for not only food, but also for someone’s personality!

A person who is nice and frank has a sappari personality.



Let's have mild food tonight.


This food is so refreshing!


Japanese traditional foods like using fish, beans, and plants.


Salad, tomato, and other sour foods, like citrus fruits.

こってりとぎとぎと (kotteri and gito-gito)


こってり (Kotteri) means rich and thick. It expresses the rich oiliness of food. Especially if it has animal fat like food with fatty meat or ramen with thick soup!

In contrast with こってり (kotteri), ぎとぎと (gito-gito) is thicker than こってり (kotteri). It is almost just fat. 



This fatty soup fills my stomach.


I want to eat some super fatty ramen!


こってり (kotteri) and ぎとぎと (gito-gito) are used mostly for ramen!

ピリピリとビリビリ (piri-piri and biri-biri)


Piripiri and biribiri mean spicy! Both express the stimulation on your tongue when you eat spicy food. You can use piripiri for when food is a little spicy. If it’s really hot, you can use biribiri.

Welcome to Japanese onomatopoeia world!

Now you can use these onomatopoeia for specific Japanese foods!

There are a lot of onomatopoeia for food besides what's written in this article.

If you wanna check out more onomatopoeia, we shared about more common onomatopoeia for food in our previous article! Check it out!

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