You're likely already familiar with teriyaki and perhaps several other Japanese types of dishes, but there may be a few meat dishes on the menu that never heard of or understood completely. A Japanese chef explains eight traditional meat preparations so you can order confidently at your favourite Japanese restaurant next time. Photo by Tavallai.
Chef Alex Q. Becker is the executive chef of Kuro in Hollywood, Florida (and formerly chef at other famous restaurants like Nobu). With his help, Food Republic explains several basic Japanese dishes. A couple that might be new to you:
Kakuni is a braised pork dish that translates to "square simmered". While it's most commonly made with pork, it can also be done with beef. The pork is simmered in a light dashi broth and seasoned with soy and a little bit of sugar and mirin. It's got both saltiness and sweetness to it. It's more common in Japan, but you can find it here and there in the U.S.
Karaage is a cooking technique in which various foods — most often chicken — are deep-fried. "Age" is an abbreviation for "agemono," which means "fried." Chickenkaraage is marinated in soy, green onions and ginger, and then breaded. Karaage in Japan is not extremely crispy, as it's made with katakuriko (potato starch). The potato starch is a little lighter and fluffier, which lets people taste more of the marinade and protein. In the U.S., people tend to like their fried chicken with a little more texture and crunch to it, so it will commonly be prepared with cornstarch instead of potato starch.
Even if you're already familiar with these terms and the others — negamaki, teriyaki, kushiyaki/yakitori, katsu, tsukune, and yakiniku — or the menu has a brief description of the dish, the details in this guide are worth a quick look.
It might be a good time to go out for some Japanese food.
A Basic Guide to Japanese Meats [Food Republic]