Did you know that there are actually more than 47 ways to say “delicious” or “tasty” in Japanese? Each prefecture in Japan has its own distinctive expression to state that something is delicious or tastes good. Since most of them are dialects I want to focus on the 12 best and most common ways to say “This is delicious” in Japanese.
Oishii (美味しい) and umai (うまい) are the two most commonly used words to say “delicious”, “tasty”, or “yummy” in Japanese. The words by themselves can also be translated as “This is delicious”. In formal situations, it is better to use the politer “Oishii desu” (美味しいです) or “Oishii desu ne” (美味しいですね).
Read on if you want to know all of the 12 ways to say that something is delicious in Japanese and learn in detail when to use each of the expressions and words. Further down below I will also cover how you can say “so delicious“, “very delicious“, and “looks delicious” in Japanese.
1. Oishii (Desu)
Oishii (美味しい) means “delicious” or “tasty” and is the most commonly used word to express that something tastes good in Japanese. However, the word is used so frequently that it actually rather means “This tastes good” than “Oh my god! This is so delicious!”.
Since in Japanese, it is common to omit parts of a sentence like for example the subject and the topic, just the word oishii (美味しい) by itself can also mean “It’s delicious“, “It’s tasty“, “This is delicious“, or “This is tasty“.
This is delicious!
Kore wa oishii.
This is delicious.
Kono suteeki wa oishii.
This steak is delicious.
In anime and daily life, you will also often hear the expressions “Oishii ne” (美味しいね) and “Oishii yo!” (美味しいよ). “Ne” (ね) and “yo” (よ) are sentence-ending particles and they add softness and/or emphasis.
It’s delicious, isn’t it? (sounds softer)
It’s so delicious! (sounds pretty stronger)
In formal situations with coworkers or your boss, it is better to use the politer version and add the word “desu” (です). Explaining the real meaning of “desu” goes beyond this blog post, so just try to keep in mind that saying “oishii desu” (美味しいです) will sound politer and more formal.
It’s delicious! (polite)
Just as with “oishii” you can also add the sentence-ending particles “ne” and “yo” after “oishii desu” to add softness and/or emphasis. In my opinion, it is okay to use “oishii desu ne” (美味しいですね) in formal situations, especially when you are a woman, but I personally wouldn’t use “oishii desu yo” (美味しいですよ).
Oishii desu ne.
It’s delicious, isn’t it? (polite and soft)
Oishii desu yo!
It’s really delicious! (polite but quite strong)
Umai (うまい, 美味い, 旨い, 甘い) is the most common casual phrase that is used to say “delicious” or “tasty” in Japanese. It is usually written in hiragana as “うまい” and I recommend you to do the same, but as you can see it can also be written in kanji as “美味い“, “旨い“, or “甘い“.
Since it is a rather casual term “umai” is more frequently used by men than women. However, especially when hanging out with close friends or family, my female friends in Japan tend to use it all the time. Once, after I started saying it, too, they actually told me “Now you sound like a real Japanese”, haha.
So, to all the female readers here: Don’t be hesitant about using “umai” (うまい) when you eat or drink something delicious with your friends! The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you should never use it in formal situations.
It’s so good!
The word can also be used to say “skilled“, “promising“, or just “good” in general. If you want to know more, here’s my post about the detailed meaning of the Japanese word “umai”. It also explains the deeper meaning behind Rengoku‘s catchphrase in the anime “Demon Slayer Mugen Train“.
Umee (うめぇ, うめー, うめえ) is an even more casual version of the Japanese word “umai” (うまい). It sounds a bit sloppy and might even be considered rude. So I only recommend you to use it among extremely close male friends.
It’s so good!
In spoken Japanese, it is actually quite common to alter the last syllables of i-adjectives and to say “ee” instead of “i”. You can also see this with the extremely useful words sugoi (凄い) and yabai (やばい), for example, which turn into “sugee” and “yabee“.
Nmai (んまい) is yet another colloquial variation of the word “umai” and is best translated as “yummy” or “yum-yum“. To tell you the truth, I have never heard anyone use this word in Japan, but according to my go-to online dictionary it can also mean “delicious” and “appetizing” (source).
Maiu (まいう) or maiuu (まいうー) is a word that you can often hear when watching Japanese TV – especially variety shows that include celebrities, comedians, and delicious food or restaurants.
It is actually the word “umai” (うまい) but said backward starting with the latter half of the word or the syllables “mai”. This is another common thing to do in Japan. The word “senpai” (先輩) meaning senior, for example, is often reversed to “paisen” (パイセン).
I have included the word because you will see and hear it a lot on TV and in ads. If you want, you can actually use “maiu” to say that the food or drinks are delicious in Japanese. However, only in casual situations with your close friends.
Bimi (美味) is a rather exquisite word that means “delicious“, “good flavor“, or “delicacy“. It usually isn’t used in conversations, but you might see it in flyers, TV commercials, and other ads in Japan.
The word is only used for the really tasty stuff. So whenever you see that something is advertised with “bimi” you can be sure that it will be an extremely delicious treat or feast.
Oichii (美味ちい, おいちー) is the cutesy version of “oishii” (美味しい) and means “delicious” or “tasty“, but also “sweet“. Young children might use this word. Sometimes (younger) women, who want to come across as cute, might use it, too. I don’t recommend using it, though.
Zeppin (絶品) is another Japanese word for “delicious” or “exquisite” that you might see when watching TV commercials or walking through the gourmet section of a department store. It actually translates as “superb piece of work“, “exquisite item“, or “unique article“.
Generally speaking, it can be used in formal and informal situations, but I have only seen it in food advertisements.
Saikou (最高) is an extremely useful word that means “the best“, “finest” or “supreme“. You will often hear Japanese people or anime characters use this phrase when they enjoy a delicious beer after a hard day of work.
The word can be used when you eat the best sushi or ramen in the world but also when you experience or do something you consider the best or most awesome. However, only use it in casual situations, please.
Biiru wa saikou!
Beer is the best!
Kono ramenya-san wa saikou!
This ramen shop is the best!
Derishasu (デリシャス) is the Japanized version of the English word “delicious“. It can be used in daily conversations, but it might cause some giggles.
11. Hoo ga Ochiru / Hoho ga Ochiru
Hoo ga ochiru (頰が落ちる) or Hoho ga ochiru (頰が落ちる) is a traditional phrase that is used to say that something is extremely tasty or delicious in Japanese. It literally translates as “My cheeks will fall off” because the food is so extremely good.
Hoo ga ochiru
Hoho ga ochiru
Instead of “hoo” or “hoho” you will also sometimes see and/or hear Hoppe ga ochiru (ほっぺが落ちる) or Hoppeta ga ochiru (ほっぺたが落ちる). The kanji for “hoo” and “hoho” (頰) can either mean “cheeks” or “jaw“, while “hoppe” and “hoppeta” just mean “cheeks“.
Hoppe ga ochiru
Hoppeta ga ochiru
12. Gochisousama (Deshita)
Gochisousama (ごちそうさま, ご馳走様) and Gochisousama deshita (ごちそうさまでした, ご馳走様でした) are two common phrases that are used to say thank you for the food in Japanese after a meal. They translate as “Thank you for the meal” or “That was a delicious meal“.
That was a delicious meal
That was a delicious meal (polite)
How to Say “Very/So Delicious” in Japanese
Now that we know all the best ways to say “delicious” in Japanese, let’s check out how you can say “very delicious“, “so delicious“, “really delicious“, and “It’s very delicious“.
For this, we have to use one of the following words that mean “very“, “really” or “so“:
- totemo (とても)
- sugoku (凄く, すごく)
- mecha (めちゃ)
1. Totemo Oishii (formal)
The most formal way to say “very delicious” or “It’s very delicious” is “Totemo oishii” (とても美味しい) or “Totemo oishii desu” (とても美味しいです). The Japanese word “totemo” (とても) can be translated as “very” or “really“.
Use this phrase whenever you are dining with a superior, your boss, or when meeting someone for the first time.
It’s very delicious.
Totemo oishii desu.
It’s very delicious. (polite)
Just in case you are curious, after the meal you can also say “Totemo oishikatta desu” (とても美味しかったです) to say that something “was very delicious“.
Totemo oishikatta desu.
It was very delicious.
2. Sugoku Oishii
Sugoku oishii (すごく美味しい) and Sugoku oishii desu (すごく美味しいです) are your best choices when you want to say “It’s really delicious!” or “So delicious!” in a slightly more casual way. The word sugoku (すごく, 凄く) can be translated as “very“, “really“, or “so” and is neither too formal nor too casual.
It’s so delicious!
Sugoku oishii desu
It’s very delicious! (polite)
3. Mecha Umai (casual)
Mecha (めちゃ) is the most casual word that translates as “so” or “extremely“. With your close friends, you can use “Mecha umai” (めちゃうまい) and in other casual situations, you can say “Mecha oishii” (めちゃ美味しい) to say that something was really good or tasty in Japanese.
It’s so good!
It’s so good! (polite)
How to Say “Looks Delicious” in Japanese
Oishisou (美味しそう) and umasou (うまそう) are generally used to say that something looks delicious in Japanese. The more formal and polite phrase is “oishisou“, while “umasou” is the more casual phrase that should only be used with your close friends. Adding “desu” (です) at the end also adds politeness.
It looks delicious
It looks delicious
It looks delicious (polite)
It looks delicious (more polite)
If you want to sound polite and soft you should also add the sentence-ending particle ne (ね). “Oishisou desu ne” (美味しそうですね) is a rather soft and feminine sounding way to say “It looks delicious“. It can also be translated as “It looks delicious, right?” or “It looks delicious, don’t you agree?“.
Oishisou desu ne
It looks delicious (polite and soft)
Umasou desu ne
It looks delicious, right? (polite and soft)