Takeout, Takeaway, To Go

Most Americans would probably say “to go” or possibly “takeout”. I think most British people say “takeaway” and the Grammarist confirms. In Japanese, it’s “mochikaeri” (持ち帰り), literally, “take and go home”. But most places that offer takeout will also understand “takeout” or “to go” (and also “for here”).

I’ve lived in Japan for a long time and I’ve done some takeout for fast food and of course sushi, but I did Chinese takeout for the very first time the other day.

In the U.S., Chinese takeout often comes in paper cartons that look like this:

(from myrecipes.com)

And I wasn’t expecting the same containers (or the fortune cookies that usually come with the food):

(from mentalfloss)

but I guess I was a little surprised at the generic packaging. It was delicious, though 🙂

Shrimp fried rice and lo mein

Shrimp fried rice and lo mein


And then I saw this article called “15 Takeout Recipes You Should Know How to Make at Home” and it got me thinking about what “typical” takeout food is in different countries and cultures. This list surprised me at how much variety Bon Appetit seems to think American takeout includes. I suppose it depends on what part of the country you live in.

In Tokyo, you can get just about any kind of takeout you want, including most of the things on the Bon Appetit list. How about in your hometown or the cities you’ve visited in Japan or other countries?


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