In my Japanese book it lists the following:

Hutsuu, bejitarian muke no oishii shokuji o mitsukeru no wa muzukashii desu. = It is normally hard to find good vegetarian food

Supein ryouri wa donna kanji desuka? = What is Spanish food like?

Sono tabemono wa oishikatta desu. = That food was delicious

What's the difference between shokuji, ryouri and tabemono? They all refer to food, but is there any difference between them or rules as to when to use one over the other?

2 Answers 2


食事(shokuji) means "meal" like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

料理(ryouri) means "cuisine", "foods cooked by someone". For example, 彼女の手料理を食べたい(I want to eat her home cooking).

食べもの(tabemono) means "food", "eating" like vegetable, meat, cereal and so on.


But the boundaries between the three seem sort of fluid. I was looking for examples for 好き嫌い (strong likes and dislikes), and one of the tatoeba sentences is 食事の好き嫌いはありますか。 (Tatoeba translation: Do you have strong likes and dislikes for certain food?) I would have expected りょうり or たべもの - but no.

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