This month we take a closer look at some of the main elements that make up Japanese cuisine, which is one of the key trending cuisines in the UK and Ireland this year.


Originating from the historic storage and preservation of fish in fermented, vinegared rice, sushi is now a mainstream cuisine. There are many versions, shapes and textures available, from maki rolls and nigiri to hand rolls and Osaka-inspired pressed sushi.


A popular dish on menus, ramen is the name of the noodle that is used in this soup dish featuring broth and various toppings. It lends itself well to fusion and creative experimentation.


With zingy citrus flavours trending, this East Asian fruit is often used instead of lemon or lime in dressings, dips, desserts or bakery items. It is most familiar in Japanese cuisine in ponzu, which is a dressing served with sushi or beef and tuna.


This stock is the foundation of Japanese cuisine and gives the important umami flavour. It generally consists of kombu seaweed and katsuobushi dried bonito flakes and is commonly used in miso soup, as a dressing or dipping sauce or in rice dishes.


The umami flavour of kombu is used to cure fish, add flavour to sauces, pickles or stews and can also be braised and served like a vegetable side dish. UK and Ireland grown varieties such as dulse or laver are also being adopted, mainly as a seasoning. Nori is most famously used in sushi but also as square sheets with ramen.