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How to ask expiry date of food? 2018/2/19 12:23
Hi all,

How to ask the expiry date or shelf life of certain food, and whether it needs to be stored in the fridge or not? This is especially for fresh food that does not have label on the packaging.

Thank you.
by Moccy  

Re: How to ask expiry date of food? 2018/2/19 20:32
How to ask the expiry date or shelf life of certain food,

Ask what the "shoumi-kigen" is and let the person write down the date instead of orally saying it. To clarify, ask if a number is a year (toshi), month (tsuki) or day (hinichi).

and whether it needs to be stored in the fridge or not?

Ask for "hozon-houhou (the way to store)". The fridge is called "reizouko" in Japanese, but some foods are to be stored at "rei-an-jo" which is a cool place that does not have to be a fridge.

This is especially for fresh food that does not have label on the packaging.

My understanding is that regardless of the country, food is expected to be kept in the way it is sold. So if the food is frozen, you should put it in the freezer, and if it isn't even refrigerated, as with most vegetables, you can place it on a cool shelf of the "vegetable drawer" of your refrigerator.

Fresh meat and seafood is expected to be eaten in a day or two, although I often let it lay in the "chilled room" of my fridge and then move it to the freezer if I still don't have time to eat it.

Hope it helps.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: How to ask expiry date of food? 2018/2/20 15:49
Thank you Uco for the advise.

Ask what the "shoumi-kigen" is and let the person write down the date instead of orally saying it. To clarify, ask if a number is a year (toshi), month (tsuki) or day (hinichi).

To put it in a sentence, shall I say "Shoumi-kigen wa itsu desu ka?" ?

Fresh meat and seafood is expected to be eaten in a day or two, although I often let it lay in the "chilled room" of my fridge and then move it to the freezer if I still don't have time to eat it.

For familiar food or ingredients, I will usually put it in fridge or following the condition it's sold. I recalled few occasions I stumbled with these questions when thinking to get some unfamiliar stuff such as fresh seaweed from the market, preserved foods, and fresh sweets (cake and mochi). Either it's for later consumption (during the trip) or to be brought home as gift (e.g. inside cooler bag).
by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: How to ask expiry date of food? 2018/2/20 16:58
To put it in a sentence, shall I say "Shoumi-kigen wa itsu desu ka?" ?

Perfect!

fresh seaweed from the market, preserved foods, and fresh sweets (cake and mochi).

While these foods have expiration dates indicated if sold at a supermarket, small mom and pop shops may not always have them printed. They usually tell it to you as you're paying, but of course you are free to ask. I do recommend smaller stores, because they often make their own.

If you know some basic phrases already, you might want to add these kanji to your list
ܖ (shoumi-kigen): To be precise, this is a "best before" date, so technically speaking, it's still alright to eat them a few days afterwards.
① or : Refrigeration, the latter being its abbreviation
Ⓚ or : Frozen, the latter being its abbreviation

Hope it helps.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: How to ask expiry date of food? 2018/2/20 18:25
Thank you again for the informative advise, Uco!

While these foods have expiration dates indicated if sold at a supermarket, small mom and pop shops may not always have them printed. They usually tell it to you as you're paying, but of course you are free to ask. I do recommend smaller stores, because they often make their own.

Yes, it was from smaller shops which I wanted to get these stuffs from, but mostly discouraged by potential miscommunication. I know basic Japanese can be quite embarassing if I get wrong word or sentence. The top 2 search on my phone's dictionary app was "Shikkoubi" and "Shoukigen". Most shop staffs to whom I showed these words gave confused look, and I was quite scared I wrongly quoted the "expire date/death".

The fresh seaweed was from Shiogama market, if I'm not mistaken. It was packed and the price was
quite cheap (1000 yen for 3), but I was in doubt to approach and ask for the expiry date (how long can I keep it). Similarly, there were vendors at Aomori market which gave out free sample of miso salmon (the fish was lined up but not packed). It was very delicious, but I couldn't arrange a sentence to ask "How long can it last (if I want to bring it back to my country)? How to store it?"
by Moccy rate this post as useful

Re: How to ask expiry date of food? 2018/2/20 22:37
I don't think anyone would imagine "death" when seeing the words ""Shikkoubi" or "Shoukigen". "Shikkoubi" means "expiration date" of things like driver's licenses and passports. Or unless it is in kanji, some might imagine a homonymy that means "enforcement date". I've never heard of "Shoukigen". Next time, show a photo of a fridge.
by Uco rate this post as useful

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