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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.
 oba   おおば, 大葉
 Pronunciation  [oh--・bah]
Green Relish Leaf  or a green shiso leaf

oba Oba literally means "a large leaf" and denotes the leaves of ao jiso (green shiso) or Perilla frutescens. For the crisp, refreshing smell, the leaves are often used to garnish sashimi. Cut into strings, they can be used as a salad ingredient or soup sprinkles. Another popular way to enjoy oba is to fry them tempura as entire leaves.

 ochazuke   おちゃづけ, お茶漬け
 Pronunciation  [oh・chah・zoo・keh]
Rice & Tea  or a bowl of rice dipped in tea

Ochazuke or chazuke is a bowl of cooked rice dipped in Japanese tea and consumed with toppings of whatever salty food such as tsukemono, tsukudani, shio jake (salted salmon), or chirimen jako. Products named Ochazuke no moto containing ochazuke powder and dried ingredients are available. The word ochazuke is sometimes used as a metaphor for a humble meal.

 oden   おでん, 御田*
 Pronunciation  [oh・deh・n]
Japanese Pot-au-Feu  or soy sauce stew

oden Oden is a kind of soy sauce-based pot-au-feu of large-cut vegetables and other foods boiled slowly for at least several hours. Radishes, carrots, potatoes, paste food such as chikuwa, konnyaku, satsuma age, yaki dofu (surface parched tofu) and boiled eggs are popular ingredients. Also called Kanto daki (Kanto style boiled cuisine) due to its origin back to the region with the same name in the Edo Period (1603 - 1867).

 ohagi   おはぎ, 御萩*
 Pronunciation  [oh・hah・ghee]
Autumn Flower Rice Cake  or a rice dumpling covered with sweet bean paste or soybean powder

Hagi is a species of bush clover flowers, and ohagi (o-: prefix suggesting politness or gracefulness) semantically denotes the rice dumplings prepared for the autumnal Higan (a Buddhist week for remembering one's ancestors), the season of the hagi flowers. See bota mochi for a general definition.

 ohitashi   おひたし, 御浸し*
 Pronunciation  [oh・he・tah・she]
Plain Boiling  or plain boiled vegetables

ohitashi The word ohitashi indicates "something dipped", and denotes any boiled vegetable (e.g. spinach) usually in water without broth or seasoning. It's served with soy sauce, sometimes kezuri bushi or chirimen jako, etc. sprinkled according to one's taste.
(Photo: Ohitashi of broccoli.)

  okaki   おかき, 御欠き*/御掻*
 Pronunciation  [oh・kah・key]
Rice Cookies 

okaki Also called kaki mochi (kaki: breaking into pieces), okaki (o-: prefix suggesting politness or gracefulness) is plain rice crackers made from dried, often pre-seasoned and -flavored mochi pieces. To serve as a ready-to-eat snack, they are often roasted while occasionally shaking, baked or fried until the surface get brown and crispy. Arare may be roughly considered a smaller version of okaki.
(Photo: Okaki seasoned with shoyu.)

 okara   おから, 御殻*
 Pronunciation  [oh・kah・rah]
Tofu Flowers  or bean-curd refuse (lees)

okara As the word kara indicates, it's lees (of soybean milk) generated during the process of tofu making. Together with soymilk (tonyu), okara is a popular healthy food. Usually boiled or sautéed with small-cut ingredients such as carrots, abura age, konnyaku, sprinkled with negi, and seasoned sweet or salty. It's also metaphorically dubbed u no hana, a kind of Deutzia crenata flowers, for its whitish color.
(Photo: Okara cooked with ingredients.)