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Last update July 27, 2011

Other Contents
Sightseeing in Japan
Hiragana and Katakana List
Japanese Word List
Japanese Proverbs

食べ物  Food Tabemono [tah-beh-moh-noh]
*: Kanji representation of the food name seldom used in modern day Japan.
 negi   ねぎ, 葱
 Pronunciation  [neh・ghee]
Welsh Onion  or green onion leaves

negi With a stimulating refreshing flavor, negi is an indispensable condiment for various Japanese dishes. Minutely ring sliced and sprinkled over miso shiru, udon, soba, tofu; or chopped into finger size pieces and added to sukiyaki or other nabe ryori. In West Japan ao negi (green negi) cultivated to harvest the upper green part (above the ground) is popular while the East Japan style prefers shiro (or naga) negi (white or long negi), a lower white portion closer to the root, specifically grown buried under the ground.

 niboshi   にぼし, 煮干し
 Pronunciation  [knee・boh・she]
Broth Sardines  or small dried sardines

Together with kombu and katsuo bushi, niboshi is a typical material for dashi (broth). It's a product mainly made from small sardines (scientifically named "Engraulis japonica") through processes of boiling and drying. Also called by several other names such as iriko (parched small fishes), jako (small fishes) and dashi jako (small fishes for broth). Besides the use as a broth ingredient, they can be parched in a pan to serve as an instant snack for e.g. beer. Powdered niboshi products are also available.

 nigiri meshi   にぎりめし, 握り飯
 Pronunciation  [knee・ghee・ree・meh・she]
Rice Ball 

The literal meaning of nigiri is to clasp or seize; while meshi, cooked rice. See omusubi/onigiri for a general definition.

 nimono   にもの, 煮物
 Pronunciation  [knee・moh・noh]
Season Boiling  or boil-cooked cuisine

nikujaga Nimono generally refers to a boil-cooked dish of vegetables and other ingredients seasoned with sugar, salt, soy sauce, mirin or miso. Some examples include niku jaga (niku: meat; jaga potato) with beef or pork and potatoes cooked with other ingredients; chikuzen ni (Chikuzen county style cooking), chiken and vegetable dish; and furofuki daikon (soft-boiled radishes) seasoned with miso. Similar to nimono, nikomi specifically denotes dishes simmered for longer time; nishime is a dish in which the ingredients has sufficiently absorbed the broth; and nitsuke, quick boiling in a small amount of broth.
(Photo: Niku jaga with beef, potatoes, carrots, onions, and konnyaku.)

 nira   にら, 韮
 Pronunciation  [knee・rah]
Garlic Onion Leaves  or Garlic chives; Chinese chives

nira Nira is the plant with white blossoms belonging to the negi family, and the leaves are consumed as food. With the strong odor similar to garlic, it adds an appetite-enhancing, distinctive flavor to dishes. Popular menus using nira include reba nira (or nira reba) itame (reba: beef liver; itame: sauté) and nira tama, scrambled egg with nira (tama or tamago: egg). Minced nira may be used as a gyoza filling ingredient in place of garlic.
(Photo: Nira sauteed with tofu and minced meat.)

 nori   のり, 海苔
 Pronunciation  [noh・ree]
Laver (Seaweed) 

nori One of the most popular Japanese comestibles and has been comsumed since the Nara Period (710 - 784), according to historical records. Mostly processed into thin dried sheets; one type seasoned and cut into strips, and other non-cut plain kind without flavor. The former is called aji tsuke nori (seasoned nori) and usually used for nori maki (onigiri wrapped with nori) and the latter for wrapping maki zushi (sushi roll). Powdered ao nori (green laver) is often topped on okonomi yaki. Wet paste types are also available, which are eaten spread over gohan.
(Photo: Wet paste type nori on gohan.)