Japanese food covers a much wider spectrum than most people realize. The raw fish, called sashimi, do not dominate the menu. Japanese cuisine is characterized more by methods of cooking than by particular flavors. There are soups, steamed dishes, raw salads, dishes cooked at the table, deep-fried and quick-fried foods as well as boiled and pickled dishes. There are some complicated recipes and also artful blends of seasonings, but the Japanese generally prefer a stylized minimalist presentation.
The Japanese respect and value freshness above all, so the integrity of each ingredient is enhanced by very few strong condiments or spices, on a little soy sauce, perhaps some grated mooli (white radish) and subtle seasonings such as bonito flakes and some delicate herbs. The strongest condiment used regularly is wasabi.
In the 16th century the Portuguese introduced beef-eating to Japan and this became sukiyaki: finely sliced grilled or barbecued beef served with piquant dips. Japanese foods fried in batter are called tempura and are also of Portuguese origin. Noodles are one of the many dishes of Chinese origin, adopted by the Japanese in the 7th century.
** Asian Recipes