Sushi Dictionary & Glossary


Wasabi_Cream_Sushi-3641Sushi is any dish made with vinegar rice, and is usually topped or filled with ingredients like raw fish, shrimp, mollusks, fish eggs or vegetables. When dining at a sushi restaurant, many Japanese terms are likely to come up. Here is a list of sushi terms and their definitions.


Pronounciation Guide

To pronounce Japanese words, put equal emphasis on every syllable. Consonants are pronounced as they are in English (g’s are hard, j’s are soft). Each vowel should be pronounced as a new syllable.

aä(as the “o” in bop)
ea(as the “ay” in way)
ie(as the “ee” in beep)
oo(as the “o” in go)
uü(as the “oo” in food)
Abura-ageFried tofu pouches used for inari sushi
AjiSpanish mackerel
AkagiRed clam
Amaebi no tamaRaw shrimp
AnagoSalt water eel
AnakiumakiA sushi roll filled with monkfish liver and vinegar rice
AraiA method of preparing sashimi where the cut flesh is washed in lukewarm water, then shocked in a bowl of ice water
Bara sushiA form of chirashi sushi where the ingredients are mixed in with the rice. Also known as gomoku sushi
BinjoFatty albacore
California rollA sushi roll filled with avacado, cucumber and crab meat, usually rolled with the rice on the outside
Caterpillar rollA sushi roll covered in avacado for the outer layer
Chirashi SushiSushi where the ingredients are loose and mixed on top of the sushi rice, served in a sushi bowl
Cone sushiThe Hawaiian version of inari sushi, but larger and sweeter than its Japanese counterpart
ChutoromakiA hosomaki roll filled with marbled raw tuna
DaikonA large Japanese radish
Dynamite RollA hosomaki sushi roll filled with raw tuna
EbiCooked shrimp
EngawaHalibut fin muscle
FutomakiA fat roll of sushi wrapped with dried seaweed on the outside, usually cut into seven or eight pieces
GariPickled ginger, often used to cleanse the palette when eating sushi
Gomoku sushiA “sushi salad” where all of the sushi ingredients are mixed in with rice and served in a bowl. Also known as Bara sushi
GunkanNigiri sushi that is wrapped in a strip of dried seaweed
HamachiJapanese amberback – a type of yellowtail
Hand rollA cone-shaped sushi roll that is always eaten with the hands. Also known as “temaki”
Hashi okiA chopstick rest
Hawaiian RollA sushi roll filled with canned tuna, pickled gourd, white fish, egg and shrimp powder
HokkigaiThe surf clam
HosomakiA thin sushi roll that usually only contains one type of filling
HandaiA giant shallow bowl where sushi rice is mixed
IkaSquid or cuttlefish
IkuraSalmon caviar
Inari SushiVinegar rice in fried tofu pouch
ItamaeA sushi chef
Kabayaki SauceA sauce, also known as eel sauce, made of soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and sometimes eel extract, served over eel
Ka-KaniHairy crab
Kampachi®Brand of Hawaiian yellow tail from the Kona Blue farms
KampyomakiA hosomaki roll filled with pickled gourd
Kanpai“Cheers” in Japanese
KappamakiA hosomaki sushi roll filled with cucumber and vinegar rice
KatsuoBonito tuna
KobashiraThe mactra clam
KohadaGizzard shad fish
KonbuAn edible Japanese kelp
Kuki wasabiFresh, chopped wasabi leaves
MaguroBlue fin tuna
MagurotemakiA temaki roll filled with blue fin tuna
Matsugawa tsukuriStyle of serving red snapper where the skin is cooked but the flesh remains raw
Maki SushiA sushi roll
MasagoCapelin caviar
MentaikoPollock caviar
MirinSweet rice wine, often used as a condiment
MirugaiLong neck white clam
Na hotateGrilled scallop
Nare SushiThe first form of sushi, usually considered the anscestor of modern-day sushi. Salted fish, sometimes stuffed with rice, that is fermented over several weeks
NattomakiA hsomaki roll filled with fermented soybeans
NegiJapanese green onion
NegitoromakiA hosomaki roll filled with green onions and tuna
NegitorotemakiA temaki roll filled with green onions and tuna
NigiriAn onlong shape of sushi rice topped with raw or cooked fish, fish roe or vegetables
NoriDried seaweed
OkeA sushi bowl, used to serve chirashi, bara or gomoku sushi
OmasakeA style of dining where the chef chooses dishes for the diner and decides in what order those dishes will be served
OmusubiA rice ball, also known as “onigiri”
OnigiriA rice ball, also known as “omusubi”
Oshi SushiA style of sushi from the city of Osaka, where the sushi is pressed into a rectangular shape. It is also called “battera” sushi or hako sushi
OshibakoA sushi press or sushi mold
OshinkoPickled roots or vegetables, especially daikon radish or cucumber
OshinkomakiA hosomaki sushi roll filled with pickled radish and vinegar rice
OtoromakiA hosomaki roll filled with fatty tuna and vinegar rice
Philadelphia RollA sushi roll filled with salmon, cream cheese and cucumbers
PonzuA citrus sauce made of konbu kelp, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, tuna flakes and Japanese citrus fruits
Rainbow rollA California Roll made with raw fish on top
SashimiRaw fish or shellfish sliced very thin
SayoriNeedle fish
SawaganiFried fresh-water crab
ShakeFresh salmon
Shime sabaCured mackerel
ShinkoA baby gizzard shad fish
ShiokaraFermented seafood
ShogaStrips of ginger pickled in a solution with perilla mint
Spider rollAn uramaki sushi roll filled with soft-shell crab
SushiyaA sushi restaurant or sushi bar
Suke maguroSeared, marinated blue fin tuna
Sukemaguro donChirashi sushi consisting of marinated red tuna on top of vinegar rice
SuzukiJapanese sea bass
TaiRed snapper
Tai kobujimeRed snapper with skin, flavored with seaweed
TamagoOmelette made of hen egg
TekkeamakiA hosomaki sushi roll filled with raw tuna and vinegar rice
TekkappamakiA sushi roll filled with tuna, cucumber and vinegar rice
TemakiA type of sushi roll where the roll is cone-shaped with the ingredients tight at the narrow end and loose at the winder end. Also known as a hand roll
Tempura rollA hosomaki sushi roll filled with tempura, usually shrimp tempura, and vinegar rice
TobikoRoe of the flying fish
TobiwoFlying fish
ToroFatty tuna
UmeJapanese plum, often called “umeboshi”
UmejisomakiA sushi roll filled with Japanese basil and plum
UmekyuA sushi roll filled with plum paste, cucumber and vinegar rice
UnagiFresh-water eel
UramakiA sushi roll where the fillings are wrapped in dried seaweed surrounded by rice on the outside
UnakyuA hosomaki sushi roll filled with fresh-water eel and rice
UniSea urchin
Vinegar riceA type of rice mixed with vinegar and used to make sushi
WalooHawaiian angelfish
WasabiA Japanese plant, which is in the same family as mustard and horseradish and has a thick green root, or the spicy condiment make of this root. Can also refer to an imitation condiment make with horseradish and green dye
Wu ikaBody of a squid
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