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Sushi Dictionary & Glossary

Sushi Dictionary & Glossary

Sushi Dictionary & Glossary

Sushi 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.



Abura-age  Fried tofu pouches used for inari sushi. 
Aji  Spanish mackerel. 
Akagai  Red clam. 
Amaebi no tama  Raw shrimp. 
Anago   Salt-water eel. 
Anakiumaki  A sushi roll filled with monkfish liver and vinegar rice.
Arai  A method of preparing sashimi where the cut flesh is washed in lukewarm water, then shocked in a bowl of ice water. 


Bara sushi A form of chirashi sushi where the ingredients are mixed in with the rice. Also known as gomoku sushi.
Binjo Fatty albacore.
Buri Yellowtail.
California roll A sushi roll filled with avocado, cucumber and crab meat, usually rolled with the rice on the outside.
Caterpillar roll

A sushi roll covered in avocado for the outer layer.

Chirashi sushi Sushi where the ingredients are loose and mixed on top of the sushi rice, served in a sushi bowl.
Cone sushi

The Hawaiian version of inari sushi, but larger and sweeter than its Japanese counterpart.

Chutoromaki  A hosomaki roll filled with marbled raw tuna.


A large Japanese radish.

Dynamite roll

A hosomaki sushi roll filled with raw tuna.


Cooked shrimp.


Halibut fin muscle.

 Futomaki  A fat roll of sushi wrapped with dried seaweed on the outside, usually cut into seven or eight pieces. 
Gari  Pickled ginger, often used to cleanse the palette when eating sushi. 
Gomoku sushi  A “sushi salad” where all of the sushi ingredients are mixed in with rice and served in a bowl. Also known as “bara sushi.” 
Gunkan  Nigiri sushi that is wrapped in a strip of dried seaweed. 
Hamachi  Japanese amberback – a type of yellowtail. 
Hand roll  A cone-shaped sushi roll that is always eaten with the hands. Also known as “temaki.” 
Hashi oki  A chopstick rest. 
Hawaiian roll  A sushi roll filled with canned tuna, pickled gourd, white fish, egg and shrimp powder. 
Hirame  Halibut. 
Hokkigai  The surf clam. 
Hosomaki  A thin sushi roll that usually only contains one type of filling. 
Hotate  Scallop. 
Handai  A giant shallow bowl where sushi rice is mixed. 
Ika   Squid or cuddlefish. 
Ikura  Salmon caviar. 
Inari sushi  Vinegar rice in a fried tofu pouch. 
Itamae  A sushi chef. 
Iwashi  Sardine. 
Kabayaki sauce  A sauce, also known as eel sauce, made of soy sauce, rice wine, sugar and sometimes eel extract, served over eel. 
Ka-Kani  Hairy crab. 
Kampachi®  Brand of Hawaiian yellowtail from the Kona Blue farms. 
Kampyomaki  A hosomaki roll filled with pickled gourd. 
Kani  Crab. 
Kanpai  “Cheers” in Japanese. 
Kappamaki  A hosomaki sushi roll filled with cucumber and vinegar rice. 
Katsuo  Bonito tuna. 
Kobashira  The mactra clam. 
Kohada  Gizzard shad fish. 
Konbu  An edible Japanese kelp. 
Kuki wasabi  Fresh, chopped wasabi leaves. 
Maguro  Blue fin tuna. 
Magurotemaki  A temaki roll filled with blue fin tuna. 
Matsugawa tsukuri  Style of serving red snapper where the skin is cooked but the flesh remains raw. 
Maki sushi  A sushi roll. 
Masago  Capelin caviar. 
Mentaiko  Pollock caviar. 
Mirin  Sweet rice wine, often used as a condiment. 
Mirugai  Long neck white clam. 
Na hotate  Grilled scallop. 
Nare sushi  The first form of sushi, usually considered the ancestor of modern-day sushi. Salted fish – sometimes stuffed with rice – that is fermented over several weeks. 
Nattomaki  A hosomaki roll filled with fermented soybeans. 
Negi  Japanese green onion. 
Negitoromaki  A hosomaki roll filled with green onions and tuna. 
Negitorotemaki  A temaki roll filled with green onions and tuna. 
Nigiri  An oblong shape of sushi rice topped with raw or cooked fish, fish roe or vegetables. 
Nori  Dried seaweed. 
Oke  A sushi bowl, used to serve chirashi, bara or gomoku sushi. 
Omakase  A style of dining where the chef chooses dishes for the diner and decides in what order those dishes will be served. 
Omusubi  A rice ball, also known as “onigiri.” 
Onigiri  A rice ball made of sushi rice that is sometimes wrapped in nori. Also known as “omusubi.” 
Oshi sushi  A 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. 
Oshibako  A sushi press or sushi mold. 
Oshinko  Pickled roots or vegetables, especially daikon radish or cucumber. 
Oshinkomaki  A hosomaki sushi roll filled with pickled radish and vinegar rice. 
Otoromaki  A hosomaki roll filled with fatty tuna and vinegar rice. 
Philadelphia roll  A sushi roll filled with salmon, cream cheese and cucumbers. 
Ponzu  A citrus sauce made of konbu kelp, rice vinegar, rice wine, sugar, tuna flakes and Japanese citrus fruits. 
Rainbow roll  A California roll with raw fish on top. 
Saba  Mackerel. 
Sashimi  Raw fish or shellfish sliced very thin. 
Sayori  Needle fish. 
Sawagani  Fried fresh-water crab. 
Shake  Fresh salmon. 
Shime saba  Cured mackerel. 
Shinko  A baby gizzard shad fish. 
Shiokara  Fermented seafood. 
Shoga  Strips of ginger pickled in a solution with perilla mint. 
Spider roll  An uramaki sushi roll filled with soft-shell crab. 
Sushiya  A sushi restaurant or sushi bar. 
Suke maguro  Seared, marinated blue fin tuna. 
Sukemaguro don  Chirashi sushi consisting of marinated red tuna on top of vinegar rice. 
Suzuki  Japanese sea bass. 
Tai  Red snapper. 
Tai kobujime  Red snapper with skin, flavored with seaweed. 
Takko  Octopus. 
Tamago  Omelette made of hen egg. 
Tekkamaki  A hosomaki sushi roll filled with raw tuna and vinegar rice. 
Tekkappamaki  A sushi roll filled with tuna, cucumber and vinegar rice. 
Temaki  A type of sushi roll where the roll is cone-shaped with the ingredients tight at the narrow end and loose at the wider end. Also known as a hand roll. 
Tempura roll  A hosomaki sushi roll filled with tempura, usually shrimp tempura, and vinegar rice. 
Tobiko  Roe of the flying fish. 
Tobiwo  Flying fish. 
Toro  Fatty tuna. 
Ume  Japanese plum, often called “umeboshi.” 
Umejisomaki  A sushi roll filled with Japanese basil and plum. 
Umekyu  A sushi roll filled with plum paste, cucumber and vinegar rice. 
Unagi  Fresh-water eel. 
Uramaki  A sushi roll where the fillings are wrapped in dried seaweed surrounded by rice on the outside. 
Unakyu  A hosomaki sushi roll filled with fresh-water eel and rice. 
Uni  Sea urchin. 
Vinegar rice  A type of rice mixed with vinegar and used to make sushi. 
Waloo  Hawaiian angelfish. 
Wasabi  A Japanese plant, which is in the same family as mustard and horseradish and has a thick green root, or the spicy condiment made of this root. Can also refer to an imitation condiment made with horseradish and green dye. 
Wu ika  Body of a squid. 
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