The Meaning of SunoMono, AgeMono, NiMono, and ItameMono

If you have eaten Japanese dishes several times before, you may know the Japanese foods whose names include the word, “Mono (物, or もの)”.

The Japanese word, Mono actually has a meaning of “things” or “stuff”, and in Japanese cuisine, some dish names whose suffix is Mono stand for the generic name for some category of dishes.

Typical examples of such generic names for Japanese dishes include “SunoMono (酢の物)”, “AgeMono (揚げ物)”, “NiMono (煮物)”, and “ItameMono (炒め物)”.

Then, what category of dishes does each of these Japanese terms refer to?

Sunomono (酢の物)

“Sunomono (酢の物)” is the name for vinegared dishes. Japanese vinegared dishes are often made with seafood, and typically dressed with Sanbaizu vinegar sauce.

For example, the food combo of wakame seaweed and cucumber and the combination of octopus and cucumber are commonly used in Sunomono dishes.

Other than these, “Mozukusu (もずく酢)” is a popular Sunomono widely enjoyed in Japan.

Agemono (揚げ物)

“Agemono (揚げ物)” refers to deep-fried foods. As you can see in the above photo, Tempura is the quintessential Japanese dish of this category. In addition to Tempura, Karaage, Tonkatsu, and Furai are Japanese dishes known as Agemono.

Generally, Japanese deep-fried dishes feature having a crispy coating like Tempura, and the coating is basically formed by deep-frying the batter made from wheat flour and eggs in vegetable oil.

Nimono (煮物)

“Nimono (煮物)” is the generic name for simmered foods. Generally, the Nimono dish is made by simmering ingredients in water or Dashi soup stock, and seasoned mainly with soy sauce or miso soybean paste.

Representative Japanese Nimono dishes include Oden, Niku-Jaga, and Furofuki Daikon.

Itamemono (炒め物)

“Itamemono (炒め物)” refers to stir-fried foods. The food combo of meat and vegetables is typically prepared for Itamemono dishes.

For example, “Moyashi-Itame (もやし炒め)” made with the combination of pork belly and bean sprouts and “Rebanira-Itame (レバニラ炒め)” using the food combo of pork liver and Chinese chives are popular Itamemono dishes.

Other than these, the noodle dish, Yakisoba is also categorized as an Itamemono.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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