The Difference : Sumashijiru vs Suimono Clear Soups

In the previous article, I talked about how the Japanese clear soup “Suimono (吸い物)”, or “Osuimono (お吸い物)” is different from Miso soup.

As I wrote about it in the entry, the primary difference between Miso soup and Suimono is that Miso soup is a type of “Shirumono (汁物)” that is flavored with Miso soybean paste and is eaten with rice.

On the other hand, Suimono is a type of “Sakana (肴)“, an accompaniment for Sake rice wine, and is made by basically seasoning “Dashi (出汁)” soup stock with soy sauce and salt.

Shirumono is the word for the soup dishes served with cooked rice in Japanese cuisine, and in addition to Miso soybean paste, it can also be flavored with soy sauce, salt or a mixture of these seasonings.

Hence, in Japan there also exist clear soups that are classified as Shirumono. Even among those, “Sumashijiru (すまし汁)”, also known as “Osumashi (おすまし)”, is the most common.

The Difference between Osumashi and Osuimono


Then, what is the difference between Sumashijiru, or Osumashi and Osuimono?


As I wrote above, Suimono is a Japanese clear soup typically seasoned with soy sauce and salt, but it can also be flavored with Miso soybean paste and may become browny in color.

On the other hand, Sumashijiru, or Osumashi is also a clear soup made by seasoning Dashi soup stock primarily with soy sauce and salt in the same way as Suimono.

Soup Bowl and Ingredient

Both Osuimono and Osumashi are often served in a lacquered soup bowl and can contain various ingredients from seafood and meat to vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, and eggs.

The 2 types of clear soup dishes sometimes look like the same in appearance and that is why many Japanese can’t clearly tell the difference between them.


Sumashijiru in Kaiseki Ryori

Actually, as you can guess from the above, the primary difference between Suimono and Sumashijiru comes from the classification.

Suimono is a type of Sakana and is eaten as an accompaniment for Sake rice wine, while Sumashijiru is a type of Shirumono and is served with cooked rice.

Therefore, in “Kaiseki Ryori (懐石料理, 会席料理)“, Suimono isn’t the soup for “Ichiju Sansai (一汁三菜)”, but can be the side dish called “Wanmori (椀盛り)” or “Nimonowan (煮物椀)”.

In contrast, Sumashijiru is a soup included in Ichiju Sansai and may be served with the cooked rice.

(Reference pages of this article : Wikipedia 汁物, 吸い物 )


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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