How to Order Food in Japanese

9 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Japanese Words and Phrases for Traveling

Whether you're on a short visit to a Japanese-speaking country or planning to live there, knowing how to order food in Japanese is essential. Knowing some basic restaurant (resutoran) vocabulary can make the experience of eating out in Japan a lot more fun.

In Japanese-speaking countries, as in most of the rest of the world, there are three main shokuji (shoh-koo-jee) (meals) of the day: chōshoku (chohh-shoh-koo) (breakfast), chūshoku (chooo-shoh-koo) (lunch), and yūshoku (yooo-shoh-koo) (dinner).

Menus items

When you go to a restaurant in Japan, your ueitā [M]/ueitoresu [F] (waiter/waitress) will give you a menyuu (menu) and ask you what you'd like to order by saying Go-chūmon wa. To order something, say Name of item o onegaishimasu (I would like the Name of item, please). The following list might help.

niku (nee-koo) (meat)
butaniku (boo-tah-nee-koo) (pork)
gyūniku (gyooo-nee-koo) (beef)
ringo (reen-goh) (apple)
sarada (sah-rah-dah) (salad)
toriniku (toh-ree-nee-koo) (chicken)
sakana (sah-kah-nah) (fish)
tamago (tah-mah-goh) (eggs)
yasai (yah-sah-ee) (vegetables)
kudamono (koo-dah-moh-noh) (fruit)
dezāto (deh-zahh-toh) (dessert)
gohan (goh-hahn) (cooked rice)
aisu kurīmu (ah-ee-soo koo-reee-moo) (ice cream)
chīzu (cheee-zoo) (cheese)
sūpu (sooo-poo) (soup)
pan (pahn) (bread)

To tell someone you're hungry in Japanese, say Onaka ga suka desu. If you want to ask somebody if he or she is hungry, you say Onaka ga suita deshou (You're hungry, right?). To tell someone you're thirsty in Japanese, say Nodo ga kawaita.

Beverages

The following are some of the most common drinks you'll want to order in Japanese.

bīru (beee-roo) (beer)
kōhī (kohh-heee) (coffee)
jūsu (jooo-soo) (juice
gyūnyū (gyooo-nyooo) (milk)
o-cha (oh-chah) (tea)
wain (wah-een) (wine)
mizu (mee-zoo) (water)

Dining phrases

The following words and phrases might help you when you're eating at a restaurant.

  • o-kanjō (oh-kan-jooo) (check)

  • chippu (cheep-poo) (tip)

  • *ryōshūsho (ryohh-shooo-shoh) (receipt)

  • Sukiyaki o onegaishimasu. (I would like to have sukiyaki, please.)

  • O-nomimono wa. (How about a beverage?)

  • Bīru o onegaishimasu. (Beer, please.)

  • Orenji jūsu wa arimasu ka. (Do you serve orange juice?)

  • O-mizu o kudasai. (I would like some water, please.)

  • Donna yasai ryōri ga ka. (What kind of vegetables do you have?)

  • Donna sakana ryōri ga arimasu ka. (What kind of fish is available?)

  • Kyō no supesharu wa nan desu ka. (What is today's special?)

  • Dezāto wa aisukurīmu o onegaishimasu. (I will have ice cream for dessert.)

  • Dōzo meshiagatte kudasai. (Please eat.)

  • Mō sukoshi onegaishimasu. (May I have some more?)

  • Kōhī ni wa miruku to satō o onegaishimasu. (I would like milk and sugar for my coffee.)

  • Ii desu ka. (Is it okay?)

  • Hai, ii desu. (Yes, it's fine.)

  • Yoyaku o shitai n-desu ga. (I would like to make a reservation.)

  • O-kanjō onegaishimasu. (Check please.)

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The Essentials of Japanese Words and Phrases for Traveling

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