So how do you go about seasoning Japanese food? There’s a method to it.
In Japan we call the five basic ingredients “Sa Shi Su Se So”
さ(Sa): sugar (Satou)
し(Shi): salt (Shio)
す(Su): Vinegar (Su)
せ (Se): Soy sauce (Seuyu)
そ(So): Miso (Miso)
Almost every dish is flavored using some combination of these five basic tastes. No dish uses all five of them, but lots of dishes use combinations of two, three or four of them.
And the handy thing is, we always add them in that specific order:
First sugar, then salt, then vinegar, then soy sauce and finally miso. Sa, Shi, Su, Se, So.
Of course, there are plenty of other tastes we use all the time, things that make food taste Japanese: Dashi stock – which is in everything – as well as ginger, spring onions, shiso leaves, sesame oil, pepper…but, at when you get down to basics, we always start with Sa, Shi, Su, Se, So.