How do you say “Squid” in Japanese or Chinese?

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Squid is a fascinating creature that has found its way into cuisines around the world. Whether you’re a seafood enthusiast or just curious about foreign languages, you may be wondering how to say “squid” in Japanese or Chinese. In this article, we’ll explore the linguistic nuances of naming this intriguing marine animal in these two Asian languages.

Squid in Japanese

In Japanese, the word for squid is “いか” (pronounced as “ika”). This term is relatively simple and easy to remember for English speakers. Squid holds a significant place in Japanese cuisine, with various dishes like “Ika Sashimi” (thinly sliced raw squid) and “Ika Tempura” (deep-fried squid) being popular choices among seafood lovers.

Squid in Chinese

Chinese, with its complex writing system and diverse dialects, offers several ways to say “squid” depending on the region. Here are some common terms used for squid in Chinese:

  1. 鱿鱼 (yóuyú) – Mandarin Chinese: This is the most commonly used term for squid in mainland China. The characters 鱿鱼 represent the word phonetically and visually. You may also see it written as “鱿魚” in traditional Chinese characters.
  2. 苏东坡 (sū dōng pō) – Southern Min (Hokkien) dialect: In Southern China, particularly in regions like Fujian and Taiwan, “苏东坡” is a common term for squid, pronounced as “sū dōng pō.”
  3. 鱿 (yóu) – Simplified Chinese: In some contexts, particularly in written Chinese, you may come across the simplified character “鱿” to represent squid. This simplified form is used to describe the creature in a more concise manner.

It’s essential to note that the pronunciation and characters for “squid” can vary among Chinese dialects and regions. Mandarin Chinese, being the most widely spoken dialect, employs “鱿鱼” for squid.

Cultural Significance

Both Japanese and Chinese cuisines feature squid prominently. In Japan, squid is cherished for its unique texture and flavor, making it a staple ingredient in various dishes, including sushi, sashimi, and takoyaki (octopus balls).

In Chinese cuisine, squid is often used in stir-fries, hot pots, and as a topping for noodles. It is also a popular ingredient in various regional specialties, showcasing the diversity of Chinese culinary traditions.


In conclusion, if you’re interested in exploring the culinary world or simply learning new words in different languages, knowing how to say “squid” in Japanese or Chinese can be a great starting point. In Japanese, it’s “いか” (ika), while in Mandarin Chinese, it’s “鱿鱼” (yóuyú). Keep in mind that the Chinese language has multiple dialects, so you might encounter different pronunciations in various regions. Regardless of the language you choose, squid remains a delectable and versatile ingredient in Asian cuisine, offering a wide array of culinary delights to explore.

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