Every time I come across a new recipe in Japanese, I find I have a bunch of new vocabulary to learn. Whether that involves a cooking technique or some utensil I’ve never heard of, it’s always a surprise.

Most recently, while cooking something new at a friend’s house, I realized I didn’t know the Japanese word for “wok.” So I just described it as チャーハンや中華料理を作る時に使う大きいフライパン (chāhan ya chūkaryōri o tsukuru toki ni tsukau ōkii furaipan, a big frying pan you use when cooking fried rice and other Chinese food).

It turns out my description was right on the money because the word for wok is actually “中華鍋” (chūka nabe), combining “中華” (chūka) from “Chinese food” and “鍋” (nabe), meaning “pot.”