Japanese cuisine is based on combining the staple food, which is steamed white rice, with one or several main dishes and side dishes. This may be accompanied by a clear or miso soup and tsukemono (pickles).Japanese cuisine has developed through centuries of social and economic changes. It encompasses the regional and traditional foods of Japan.
Apart from rice, staples include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food in particular Chinese food in the form of noodles in soup called ramen, fried dumplings, and gyoza plus curry and hamburgers are commonly found in Japan.
A characteristic of traditional Japanese food is the sparing use of red meat, oils and fats, and dairy products.Use of ingredients such as soy sauce, miso, and umeboshi tends to result in dishes with high salt content, though there are low-sodium versions of these available.
Traditional Japanese food is typically seasoned with a combination of dashi, soy sauce, sake and mirin, vinegar, sugar, and salt. These are typically the only seasonings used when grilling or braising an item. A modest number of herbs and spices may be used during cooking as a hint or accent, or as a means of neutralizing fishy or gamy odors present. Examples of such spices include ginger and takanotsume,red pepper.