There are so many great things about Japanese cuisine. It's fresh tasting, it can be exceptionally delicate and there is such a wide range of dishes to enjoy including sushi, sashimi, gyoza and even katsu curries. In Australia we're lucky to have so many first-rate restaurants serving them.
But what can sometimes be overlooked is the sheer range of dipping sauces that are served with Japanese dishes, along with just what an integral part they play in the balance of flavours.
So we've taken a good look round many of Perth's best Japanese restaurants to find a selection of dishes where the sauce isn't just something on the side, but the meal would be something altogether different without it. Take a look and see what you think about our choices.
1. Prawn with Tempura Sauce - Poppo Korean and Japanese
Let's start with a classic combination where the flavours really are made for each other. In fact it would be fair to say that any tempura dish just wouldn't be the same without a classic tempura sauce to enhance it. The version served at Poppo Korean and Japanese is sweet, savoury and rich and positively enhances the flavour of the crispy tempura prawns.
2. Popcorn Karaage Chicken with Chilli Mayo - Shimizu
There's a bit of fusion action going on with this dish from one of Perth's most popular Japanese restaurants, Shimizu. Karaage is a cooking technique similar to tempura but the batter is slightly more dense as it usually uses potato starch - but popcorn is definitely not in the Japanese tradition. We're happy to report, though, that the results if this combination are delicious nuggets of deep-fried chicken served with mayo that's been given a bit of a kick thanks to the addition of chilli.
3. Tako Karaage with Wasabi Mayonnaise - Hayashi
Karaage also appears on the menu at Hayashi but this time it's tender, fresh octopus that has been battered and deep fried. To add to the flavour of the dish, it's served with wasabi mayonnaise which adds just the right amount of heat without overpowering the delicate taste of the octopus.
4. Tofu with Teriyaki Sauce - Restaurant 1903
Even its biggest fans have to admit that, on its own, tofu can be a little bland. So that's why over at Restaurant 1903 they serve it with their own special version of teriyaki sauce which really lifts the dish. Its blend of soy, rice wine vinegar, sugar, garlic and ginger really is the perfect sauce to dip the fried, yummy cubes of bean curd into.
5. Tuna Tataki with Ponzu Sauce - Aikuma Sushii
Aikuma Sushii's ponzu sauce that they serve with a variety of dishes really comes into its own when its served alongside their Tuna Tataki. It's a rich, soy-based sauce that balances its sweetness with the citrus notes of lemon. It works perfectly with the tuna that has been lightly seared on the outside and sliced very finely, sashimi style.
Go on, dive into these Japanese meals with dips. Deliveroo's waiting to bring them all to you.