The traditional Japanese diet includes fish, rice, vegetables, soya products and seaweed. Rice is served pretty much with every meal. Fish and soybean products are the main sources of protein. Soybeans are commonly used throughout Japanese cooking, for example in soya sauce, tofu (beancurd) and miso (a soya paste used in soups).  

The best-known styles of Japanese food are sashimi, sushi, tempura and sukiyaki. Sashimi is sliced raw fish eaten with wasabi (a green, hot horseradish paste) and soya sauce. Sushi is raw fish and rice wrapped in seaweed, cut into small round pieces and dipped in soya sauce and wasabi. Tempura consists of vegetables or seafood coated in a light batter and deep-fried until crisp. Sukiyaki is tofu, beef or fish and vegetables cooked together at the table.

Other methods of cooking are also prominently used, resulting in an extensive array of dishes. On the right is a comprehensive guide to these ways of cooking and the dishes that represent Japanese cuisine...