Kinako (key-nah-koh) (きなこ) - Roasted soybean powder with a flavor profile similar to peanut butter. Kinako is made by finely grinding roasted soybeans into powder. You will typically see きなこ on dango and abekawa mochi!
Ponzu (poh-n-zoo) (ポンズ) - A thin, citrus-based sauce used in Japanese cooking.
Sakusaku (sah-koo-sah-koo) (さくさく) - crunchy. Next time you eat a せんべい (senbei), think of how「さくさく」 it is!
Sansho (sahn-shō)(さんしょう) - A species of peppercorn indigenous to Japan. 80% of Japan’s Sansho production happens in Wakayama Prefecture. Sansho are the berries of the Japanese prickly ash tree. If eaten as a berry, you will notice a distinct peppery, citrus flavor that is akin to lemon, yuzu and grapefruit! Like Sichuan pepper, when you eat sansho berries, you might experience a numbing, tingling effect on the tongue.
Shisa (shee-sah) (シーサー) - A traditional guardian of Okinawa embodied as a lion-dog deity that wards off evil and brings good. Shisa not only eliminate evil spirits and monsters, they are also known as guardians to residences and shrines. Shisa come in different shapes, colors and sizes, and most homes will display two shisa for protection.
Shochu (show-chuu) (しょうちゅう) - a distilled alcohol made from rice, barley, sweet potato, buckwheat, or brown sugar. Shochu is different from sake which is fermented.