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3 Phrases You Might Say at a Japanese Restaurant

We've all been there. One bite into a piece of Kingfish Nigiri. One chomp of a seafood tempura serving. One slurp into your steaming bowl of Shinmachi ramen. The taste is delicious, exquisite, heavenly. But there is only a finite number of English words that can describe food. Here are 3 Japanese phrases to level up your foodie game.

Shinmachi sashimi
Sometimes words just can't describe good taste


In a Japanese household, it's customary to express gratitude before digging into your meal. This gratitude covers the whole process and people involved in making the food. From the gathering of the ingredients, the cooking by the chef, and the serving by the waiter. "Itadakimasu" means to eat and receive. It's traditionally said with your hands clasped together and head slightly bowed as a sign of respect.

Shinmachi ramen
Before you dig into your next bowl of Shinmachi's ramen, what can you say?


Among cultures around the world, the Japanese are known to be one of the most respectful. Whilst "Itadakimasu" is said at the beginning of the meal, "Gochisousama" is said at the end. It communicates thank you for everything, and shows your appreciation of the chef's efforts in preparing the meal. Helpful tip: say it after you return your cutlery and bowl to its original place.

Chef Erick from Shinmachi
Test your Japanese with Chef Erick from Shinmachi


Perhaps a more widely known phrase due to exclamations of it on international talk shows, "Oishii" is an enthusiastic compliment. It is said during the meal, and in our humble opinion, most effective after the first bite. Japanese chefs are proud of their cooking. "Oishii" tells them that you enjoy their food.

Fun fact: men might say the phrase "umai", which expresses the same meaning.

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