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A Dictionary of Japanese Food : Ingredients & Culture by Richard Hosking

It is unique in a field that is not well documented in the English language. The main body is a Japanese-English dictionary of Japanese foodstuffs. Entries go: Japanese name in romaji (Roman alphabet), kana, kanji, (Chinese characters), then the English translation, then any scientific name. Each definition is several lines long, including details of preparation, culinary uses, and cultural, regional and seasonal notes. The book is profusely cross-referenced and illustrated in black and white. There is an Engish-Japanese glossary at the back and seventeen appendices covering key items such as katsuobushi, miso, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine and so on in greater detail. This is not a cookbook, there are no recipes or instructions. Rather, it is a treasure-chest of culinary detail, illuminating a great deal that was previously hidden.

The Japanese cuisine is vast and varied, but largely mysterious and unknown outside Japan, because there are very few definitive books written in languages other than Japanese. I am not certain that a comparative book exists even in Japan; it was compiled from Japanese sources but some of these were very old or quite obscure or scholarly. I can recommend it to anyone who knows anything about Japan or Japanese food and wants to make a quantum leap of knowledge and understanding

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Paperback - 232 pages 1 Ed edition (October 1996) Tuttle Publishing; ISBN: 0804820422

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Paperback - 232 pages 1 Ed edition (January 1997) Charles E Tuttle Co; ISBN: 0804820422