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Japanese food information 

Japanese food is often mentioned in connection with a healthy diet because of the large amount of fish and vegetables eaten. Even in Japanese home-style cooking, a lot of fresh, seasonal fish and vegetables are cooked and people enjoy the natural cycle of the seasons.

The most important staple food in Japan is rice, which is eaten at almost every meal. There are many different types of rice dishes, plain, boiled white rice is excellent for enhancing both main and side dishes in Japanese, Chinese or European cuisine. (Click on the links to find out more about types of rice, cooking plain rice and cooking sushi rice).

In Japanese cuisine great attention is attached to fresh ingredients, gentle methods of cooking and authentic flavours. Many Japanese foods are only cooked for a very short time or are even eaten raw. Dashi is a basic soup stock and essential for any Japanese dishes in order to provide the necessary taste and moreover enhance the flavours. (Click on the links for more about dashi).

Soy sauce and other Japanese seasonings are also used to enhance the intrinsic flavour of food the combination of sushi and soy sauce is a good example (Click on the link for more information about important Japanese seasonings).

When Japanese people are ready to eat, they say "Itadakimasu" - meaning "I am now starting to eat". "Gochiso sama" is the phrase meaning "Thank you for the feast" when the meal is over. These are typical phrases to thank the hosts for their food and also for the good harvests . You can see some typical Japanese menus here.

"Kanpai" ("cheers") is the appropriate toast when drinking sake, beer or other alcoholic beverages (Click on the link for more about Japanese sake ).