A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from January 03, 2008
Japs (short for “jalapeños")

The jalapeño is an official state pepper of Texas. The abbreviated name for the jalapeño is not “jal” or “hal” (as it would be pronounced) or even “hap,” but it’s “jap” (as in “Jap” for “Japanese"). The abbreviation has existed since at least the 1980s.

Needless to say, there is much confusion between “jap” (meaning “jalapeño") and “Jap” (meaning “Japan” or “Japanese"). There is also the “Japones Chile” (or “Chile Japones"), which is not a “jalapeño” at all. This, too. is sometimes called a “jap.”


Tex-Mex Dictionary
JAPS (rhymes with CAPS)
Tex-Mex restaurant lingo for JALAPEÑOS. Order your nachos with JAPS on the side and any good waitress won’t even look up !!

Purcell Mountain Farms
Japones Chiles
The Japones Chile (Capsicum Annuum) is a small, pointed chile, 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. This chile is similar in appearance to the De Arbol. Though the walls of the Japones are thicker. Dried Japones Chiles are medium hot and good with Asian dishes. On the heat scale, this chile is 5-6.Scoville heat units 15,000 to 35,000.

Suggested Use:
Japones Chiles are medium hot and frequently found in spicier Asian and Oriental dishes. Used in Thai Basil Curry dishes and Hot Peanut Sauces. Crush a few pods and add them to your next stir fry.

Google Groups: net.cooks
Newsgroups: net.cooks
From: hp-pcd!tw
Date: Tue Apr 12 04:40:15 1983
Local: Tues, Apr 12 1983 4:40 am
Subject: Re: What are these chilies? - (nf)

As for Japanese chilis (often called jap peppers, which is easy to confuse with jalapenos if you’re not paying attention), these are a variety developed by the Japanese which are pretty similar to anchos, although usually smaller.  They’re also usually easier to get.

Google Groups: rec.food.recipes
Newsgroups: rec.food.recipes
Followup-To: poster
From: (Micaela Pantke)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 93 10:31:36 +0200
Local: Thurs, Aug 19 1993 3:31 am
Subject: COLLECTION: Diverse Sauces (long)

1 hot chili (serrano or Jap). 

Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From:
Date: 1995/07/22
Subject: Re: Jalapeno Burns

Just thought I might add my two cents. This goes mostly for men. When working with jap. or chili peppers make sure to wash your hands real well **before** going to the bathroom to urinate. As a cook for both TGI Fridays and Bennigans this was drilled into us often! Yet some people had to learn the hard way, can you say Emergancy Room!

Google Groups: rec.crafts.brewing
Newsgroups: rec.crafts.brewing
From: (Daniel Fernandez)
Date: 1995/08/14
Subject: Re: need chili beer advice

T>Hey folks--
T>This weekend I plan to make a batch of California common.  I want
T>to split the batch and use part to make a chili beer.  I plan to
T>bottle--if I can remember how--it with a jap or sorreno in each
T>bottle.  The question is:  Do most folks with experience making
T>chili beers add other chili spices to the ferment? or just the
T>heat in the bottle?  If other spices are added, any guidelines?
T>THANKS for any suggestions!  --Tad

All kinds of ways to get the hot stuff into your homebrew.  Dried chilis in secondary like dry hops, chilis in the brewpot, fresh chilis (jalapenos and/or serranos) in the bottle. 

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From: “The Urban Terrorist”
Date: 1998/05/21
Subject: The Urban Terrorist’s grade for ESSAY #1.

I used to manage a Subway when I was in high school, I always said, “Would you like some japs on your sub?” (referring to jalapenos) nobody got on my ass…

16 May 1999, Virginian-Pilot:
We started off with an order of Stuffed Japs ($4.99), whole jalapenos split and stuffed with cream cheese and pimentos. 

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Newsgroups: rec.music.phish
From: “Brian Poteat” Date: 1999/10/24
Subject: Re: Phish reference in worst place

When I waited tables we used to have to say “86 the Japs” for no jalapenos on the taco salad or whatever. I always thought jappy was a slur toward japanese. Oh well. I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t know what a racial slur is. I wanted to have a band named 86 the japs but I didn’t want to offend anybody.

Google Groups: rec.food.cooking
Newsgroups: rec.food.cooking
From: “Cuchulain Libby”
Date: 2000/03/14
Subject: Re: smoking jalepenos and poblanos

> What’s this about “japs”?  Are you referring to chiles japones?

My lazy typing = jalepenos

> Around here (Northeast TX) japones are medium hot dried red chiles
> which do not resemble jalapenos so much as cayenne or arbol.  Japones
> are considerably less ferocious than those puppies, however.

Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
Newsgroups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: “SonoranDude”
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 06:52:08 -0700
Local: Tues, Oct 19 2004 8:52 am
Subject: Re: Alternative to Pickled Jalapenos (PC explanation)

> >>Brad, they are jalapenos, not japs, and especially not japs with a
> >>capital “J.” Try calling them jalas for short. More people might get it
> >>that way and not tend to think you are against the Japanese, where the
> >>term “Japs” comes from.
> >>jim

> > Dude, get a life… I guess you weren’t in the produce biz

> All my Japanese frinds find the term offensive and I’ll bet your do to
> but are too polite to tell you.
> jim

I wish I could find an old produce order form to show you PC nit pickers that I meant no disrespect to the Japanese. I treat every person I meet with respect regardless of their heritage. Sak Tanita was one of the nicest guys in the Phoenix produce market and if he was alive today he would laugh about your over sensitivity to a hyphenated abbreviation we used to describe Jalapeno Peppers.

In the early 80s I sold produce to restaurants and hotels in the Phoenix area on hand written invoices. December of 1983 I wrote one half million dollars in sales on these 10 key calculated hand written records. Japs was the abbreviation we would use on a hand written invoice, it was never spoken aloud, and it didn’t half to be because every produce salesman, truck driver, and chef could understand exactly what was written on the invoice. For example 5x6 tom was a 5x6x2 layer tray pack tomato. Cuc was cucumber, broc was broccoli, car was carrot. Jap or Japs was a jalapeno, I
didn’t come up with the abreviation and it had been there years before I entered the business and as I suspect it is probably still in use today.

This was never meant to represent the spoken sound of Japs. I have written thousands of hand written produce orders and over time it becomes second nature so please forgive me for using this old abbreviation and move on. Yes it drives me nuts when someone will nit pic some stupid detail away from the main theme of a post.

The truth is if you haven’t tried pan frying your jalapenos than you missed a delicious firery condiment that is easy to make and people go crazy for.

Google Groups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
Newsgroups: alt.food.mexican-cooking
From: “tejas”
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2004 05:52:15 GMT
Local: Sat, Dec 18 2004 12:52 am
Subject: Re: Alternative to Pickled Japs

> > In respect of my Nipponese farming friends many of them grew these “japs”
> > for sale at market in and around the Phoenix area… I appologize for the
> > use of the capital letter, my mistake. Is it cool to call potatoes spuds?
> > Jeesh… it’s people like you that ruin it for everyone on usenet.

> My Japanese-American farming friends would have found the term very
> offensive. Just as I do. I agree with Jim’s rather polite post.

Then again, “jap chiles” or “chiles japonesas” show up in the dried chile section. They ain’t jalapenos; they are dried serranos. But Arizona ain’t Texas., either. 

American Dialect Society listserv (May 26, 2005)
At 3:49 PM -0500 5/20/05, Bill Mullins wrote:
> Jap—slur for Japanese—OED has ca. 1880

In my halcyon days of early adulthood, I was a manager of a Chi-Chis Mexican Restaurante. in the kitch’s of many a cantina the word jap is slang for jalapeno. An order, say, for a Mexican pizza would come back to the line and with it, the request to “hold the japs”. I once experienced a very uncomfortable scene in the dining room, when one of the servers had exclaimed, let’s just say NOT sotto voce, that her entire 6-top (restaurantese for a table with 6 diners) wanted lots of extra japs all around. Not 10 feet away sat an Asian couple of arguably non-Chinese persuasion, if you get my drift. The man looked me in the eye then gracefully looked away with a nod. I’m not so sure that he understood the context, as he was just doing that saving face thing. When the plates popped and I escorted them to the table, I was trying to decide how to show the couple the peppers and gracefully explain our lingo, but knew that would have been unbelievably awkward and even insulting to the pair. Thankfully, they had finished and had left before my server arrived. Whew!

Lexy Rexy
Fishers, IN

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From: “I-zheet M’drurz”
Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2005 12:10:30 +0000 (UTC)
Local: Mon, Aug 8 2005 7:10 am
Subject: (Hell’s) Kitchenspeak was Re: “HOT DAGOS”

Del Cecchi said:

> They may be called that there but it still is a slur, along with
> wop.  If you wouldn’t call Japanese Japs ...

Silly goose!  Everybody knows “Japs” are Jalapenos! (at least in the restaurant where I work.)

It’s a verbal shorthand thing, you either get the concept or you don’t…

“japs” = Jalapenos
“Fro” = French Onion Soup
“Del” - Delmonaco
“All Day” = All together. IE: what I needed 5 seconds ago plus what I just called out
“Man Down!” - Something (object or person) that shouldn’t be, is on the floor
“In the weeds” - I’m up to my ears in checks over here, please help or get the f**k off of my back.

Roadfood.com
Michael Hoffman
Posted - 11/03/2006 :
Jap burger? Is that some sort of racist description of something? 

Mike S.
Posted - 11/03/2006 :  04:24:34
No, it’s an abbreviation for jalapeno. Quit living in WW2.

Ecoustics Forum
jeff mannoia
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 11:28 pm: 
im in the restaurant business, and we refer to jalapenos as japs

Rafu Shimpo online
Horse’s Mouth
The Luncheon for the Late Kats Nakamura
By George Yoshinaga
Saturday, Oct.13, 2007
(...)
Add this to the list of those using the term “Jap.”
There’s an eatery in Irvine called “On the Border.”
One of the items on the menu is called “Firecracker Japs.”
The explanation for this use of “Jap “ is explained as it being the shortened word for “Jalapenos.”
Okay, the next time I go into a Mexican restaurant, I’ll ask the waiter if they serve “Japs,” and see if he understands that it is short for “Jalapenos.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Thursday, January 03, 2008 • Permalink