Being an island nation surrounded by water, Japan has a wide variety of fishes, octopus, eel and shellfish that appear in most of their traditional dishes from sushi to tempura. The ingredients in most Japanese menus are fresh and simple but the preparation and presentation is fabulous. Food is carefully plated and once done, the dish becomes a work of art.
Simplicity is the key in most of the Japanese dishes. The ingredients are fresh with simple flavours and the Japanese chef does very little to the food to bring out the natural quality, flavour and colour. Most of the foods are either served raw, steamed, seared or boiled with very minimal seasoning. The rich flavour or umami in the Japanese language is enhanced through the use of few ingredients like miso, soy sauce, mushrooms, seaweeds and other simple condiments.
A wide variety of condiments is used to add contract to the food and enhance its flavour. It is common for every course to be complimented with light dipping sauces, wasabi, pickles, citrus and soy sauce. Japanese dishes contain a lot of fresh vegetables but it is not exactly vegetarian because meat is also present in some popular Japanese dishes like yakitori (grilled chicken) and gyudon (beef bowl).
Since the Japanese put so much importance on the presentation of food, you will frequently experience food served in antique ceramics and lacquer ware in different colours, shapes and patterns. Even the choice of dishware is influenced by the seasons. For example, a leafy green pattern on your dishware represents early spring. When a server in a Japanese restaurant brings you a course, ask what the dishware means and why it is was selected for the particular course. When the server pours the sake and allows it to spill on the saucer, this means your visit is well appreciated.
The best way to experience Japanese food is to visit the country that has more top rated restaurants than any other city. However, if you cannot travel to Japan, an option is best Japanese buffet in Sukhumvit with the authentic flavours and essence of a traditional Japanese private dining room.