Did you know it is said that there are over 400 words to describe texture of foods in Japanese while there are less than 100 in English ? 70% of those are onomatopoetic words or echo words such as sakusaku, paripari, shakishaki, fuwafuwa and hokuhoku.
Sakusaku is the word to express airy crisp texture, for example croissant. Shakishaki also means crisp but it's more watery crisp, like bean sprout or lettuce. Poripori is, again, crisp but something firmer, like pickles. Paripari is another word for crisp, but it's dry-crisp like cracker. See, already 4 different kinds of crispness I can easily think of and there are a lot more. And of course, there are words to express texture which is opposite to crisp. Shinashina would be opposite to sakusaku, kutakuta would be antonym of shakishaki.
Fuwafuwa means airy soft such as white bread, hokuhoku means hot, fluffy, sort of powdery texture like baked potato. Tsurutsutu is the word to express slippery texture of noodles, nebaneba means sticky like inside okra.If someone ask me what is the food which is karikari outside and hokuhoku inside, I can guess it is probably french fries.
This wide variety of texture words illustrates how texture is important in Japanese food. We try to cook everything just right, not to overcook or undercook. Spinach for example has to be shakishaki and not kutakuta (overcooked) or garigari (undercooked).
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Hi ! I'm Yoshimi. Here are some updates on TOKYO KITCHEN, Japanese food, Asakusa, Tokyo and more.