It is said there are over 400 words to explain texture of food in Japanese language. In English, fresh vegetable like lettuce and crackers are both "crispy" but in Japanese, lettuce is "shakishaki" and crackers are "sakusaku". There are many more just for "crispy". Karikari for deep fried crispy, poripori for firm crispy like pickles, paripari for dry crispy like hard rice crackers, not like the light ones in the picture. Same for "soft". Torotoro for creamy soft like custard, Fuwafuwa for fluffy soft like white bread, hokuhoku for floury soft like baked potato. Many of those texture words are onomatopoeia to describe the sound when you bite and that's why these are repeat word.
But why are there so many in Japanese ? It seems there are two main reasons. #1. There are inherently more onomatopoeia in Japanese language compare to other languages and onomatopoeia is not only for children. These are used a lot in daily conversation just like normal adjective, adjective verb and adverb. #2. Japan is a long mountainous country from north to south, surrounded by ocean. This means wide variety of seasonal ingredients are available. Japanese people traditionally try not to over cook those ingredients to enjoy and maximize the texture of each ingredient. We even appreciate textures that are unpleasant for western people such as "slimy" or "stringy".
Food matters a lot here !
Hi ! I'm Yoshimi, the owner of TOKYO KITCHEN !