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Sushi platter.jpg
Sushi platter
Alternative namesすし, 寿司, 鮨
Courseappetizer, main dish
Place of origin Japan
Associated national cuisine Japanese cuisine
Serving temperaturecold
Main ingredientsvinegared rice
Ingredients generally usedseafood and vegetables
Sushi (Chinese characters).svg
"Sushi" in kanji
Japanese name
Kyūjitai 壽司
Shinjitai 寿司

Sushi(すし, 寿司, 鮨, pronounced  [sɯꜜɕi] or [sɯɕiꜜ] ) is a Japanese dish of prepared vinegared rice(鮨飯,sushi-meshi), usually with some sugar and salt, accompanying a variety of ingredients(ネタ,neta), such as seafood, vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits. Styles of sushi and its presentation vary widely, but the one key ingredient is "sushi rice", also referred to as shari(しゃり), or sumeshi(酢飯). The term sushi is no longer used in its original context; it literally means "sour-tasting".

Japanese cuisine cuisine of Japan

Japanese cuisine encompasses the regional and traditional foods of Japan, which have developed through centuries of political, economic, and social changes. The traditional cuisine of Japan is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes; there is an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Seafood is common, often grilled, but also served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried in a light batter, as tempura. Apart from rice, staples include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan also has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga.

Seafood food from the sea, e.g. fish, shrimp, crab, mussel, seaweed

Seafood is any form of sea life regarded as food by humans. Seafood prominently includes fish and shellfish. Shellfish include various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Historically, sea mammals such as whales and dolphins have been consumed as food, though that happens to a lesser extent in modern times. Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are widely eaten as seafood around the world, especially in Asia. In North America, although not generally in the United Kingdom, the term "seafood" is extended to fresh water organisms eaten by humans, so all edible aquatic life may be referred to as seafood. For the sake of completeness, this article includes all edible aquatic life.


Sushi is traditionally made with medium-grain white rice, though it can be prepared with brown rice or short-grain rice. It is very often prepared with seafood, such as squid, eel, yellowtail, salmon, tuna or imitation crab meat. Many types of sushi are vegetarian. It is often served with pickled ginger (gari), wasabi, and soy sauce. Daikon radish or pickled daikon (takuan) are popular garnishes for the dish.

White rice Milled rice that has had its husk, bran, and germ removed

White rice is milled rice that has had its husk, bran, and germ removed. This alters the flavor, texture and appearance of the rice and helps prevent spoilage and extend its storage life. After milling, the rice is polished, resulting in a seed with a bright, white, shiny appearance.

Brown rice

Brown rice is whole-grain rice with the inedible outer hull removed; white rice is the same grain with the hull, bran layer, and cereal germ removed. Red rice, gold rice, and black rice are all whole rices, but with differently pigmented outer layers.

Squid as food Squid used as food, commonly eaten in the Mediterranean, in East Asia, and elsewhere

Squid is eaten in many cuisines; in English, the culinary name calamari is often used for squid dishes. There are many ways to prepare and cook squid. Fried squid is common in the Mediterranean. In Lebanon, Syria and Armenia, it is served with tarator sauce. In New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, it is sold in fish and chip shops. In North America, fried squid is a staple in seafood restaurants. In Britain, it can be found in Mediterranean 'calamari' or Asian 'salt and pepper fried squid' forms in all kinds of establishments, often served as a bar snack, street food or starter.

Sushi is sometimes confused with sashimi , a related dish in Japanese cuisine that consists of thinly sliced raw fish, or occasionally meat, and an optional serving of rice.[ citation needed ]

<i>Sashimi</i> Japanese dish

Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy consisting of very fresh raw fish or meat sliced into thin pieces and often eaten with soy sauce.

Raw meat any type of uncooked muscle tissue of an animal used for food

Raw meat generally refers to any type of uncooked muscle tissue of an animal used for food. In the meat production industry, the term ‘meat’ refers specifically to mammalian flesh, while the words ‘poultry’ and ‘seafood’ are used to differentiate between the tissue of birds and aquatic creatures.


Sushi by Hiroshige in Edo period Hiroshige Bowl of Sushi.jpg
Sushi by Hiroshige in Edo period

Sushi originates in a Southeast Asian dish, known today as narezushi (馴れ寿司, 熟寿司 – "salted fish"), stored in fermented rice for possibly months at a time. The lacto-fermentation of the rice prevented the fish from spoiling; [1] the rice would be discarded before consumption of the fish. [2] This early type of sushi became an important source of protein for its Japanese consumers. The term sushi comes from an antiquated grammatical form no longer used in other contexts, and literally means "sour-tasting"; the overall dish has a sour and umami or savoury taste. [3] Narezushi still exists as a regional specialty, notably as funa-zushi from Shiga Prefecture. [4]

<i>Umami</i> One of the five basic tastes

Umami or savory taste is one of the five basic tastes. It has been described as savory and is characteristic of broths and cooked meats.

Shiga Prefecture Prefecture of Japan

Shiga Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan, which forms part of the Kansai region in the western part of Honshu island. It encircles Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. The capital is Ōtsu.

Osaka-style sushi, also called "Oshi-zushi" or "hako-sushi" Osaka-style sushi - RD Kitchen - Sarah Stierch.jpg
Osaka-style sushi, also called "Oshi-zushi" or "hako-sushi"

Vinegar began to be added to the preparation of narezushi in the Muromachi period (1336–1573) for the sake of enhancing both taste and preservation. In addition to increasing the sourness of the rice, the vinegar significantly increased the dish's longevity, causing the fermentation process to be shortened and eventually abandoned. The primitive sushi would be further developed in Osaka, where over several centuries it became oshi-zushi or "hako-zushi"; in this preparation, the seafood and rice were pressed into shape with wooden (typically bamboo) molds.

Muromachi period division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573

The Muromachi period is a division of Japanese history running from approximately 1336 to 1573. The period marks the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate, which was officially established in 1338 by the first Muromachi shōgun, Ashikaga Takauji, two years after the brief Kenmu Restoration (1333–36) of imperial rule was brought to a close. The period ended in 1573 when the 15th and last shogun of this line, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, was driven out of the capital in Kyoto by Oda Nobunaga.

Osaka Designated city in Kansai, Japan

Osaka is a designated city in the Kansai region of Japan. It is the capital city of Osaka Prefecture and the largest component of the Keihanshin Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Japan and among the largest in the world with over 19 million inhabitants. Osaka will host Expo 2025. The current mayor of Osaka is Ichiro Matsui.

It was not until the Edo period (1603-1868) that fresh fish was served over vinegared rice and nori. The particular style of today's nigirizushi became popular in Edo (contemporary Tokyo) in the 1820s or 1830s. One common story of nigirizushi's origins is of the chef Hanaya Yohei (1799-1858), who invented or perfected the technique in 1824 at his shop in Ryōgoku. [4] The dish was originally termed Edomae zushi as it used freshly caught fish from the Edo-mae (Edo or Tokyo Bay); the term Edomae nigirizushi is still used today as a by-word for quality sushi, regardless of its ingredients' origins. [5] [6]

Edo period period of Japanese history

The Edo period or Tokugawa period (徳川時代) is the period between 1603 and 1868 in the history of Japan, when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyō. The period was characterized by economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, a stable population, "no more wars", and popular enjoyment of arts and culture. The shogunate was officially established in Edo on March 24, 1603, by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration on May 3, 1868, after the fall of Edo.

Ryōgoku town located in Sumida-ku, Tokyo

Ryōgoku (両国) is a district in Sumida, Tokyo. It is surrounded by various districts in Sumida, Chūō, and Taitō wards: Yokoami, Midori, Chitose, Higashi Nihonbashi, and Yanagibashi.

Tokyo Bay Bay of Japan area

Tokyo Bay is a bay located in the southern Kantō region of Japan, and spans the coasts of Tokyo, Kanagawa Prefecture, and Chiba Prefecture. Tokyo Bay is connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Uraga Channel. Its old name was Edo Bay. The Tokyo Bay region is both the most populous and largest industrialized area in Japan.

The earliest written mention of sushi in English described in the Oxford English Dictionary is in an 1893 book, A Japanese Interior, where it mentions sushi as "a roll of cold rice with fish, sea-weed, or some other flavoring". [7] [8] There is an earlier mention of sushi in James Hepburn's Japanese-English dictionary from 1873, [9] and an 1879 article on Japanese cookery in the journal Notes and Queries . [10]


Sushi platter in takeway Large plate of sushis - panoramio.jpg
Sushi platter in takeway

The common ingredient in all types of sushi is vinegared sushi rice . Fillings, toppings, condiments, and preparation vary widely. [11]

Due to rendaku consonant mutation, sushi is spelled with zu instead of su when a prefix is attached, as in nigirizushi.


Chirashizushi with raw ingredients Chirashi zushi by Marshall Astor in Gardena, CA.jpg
Chirashizushi with raw ingredients

Chirashizushi (ちらし寿司, "scattered sushi", also referred to as barazushi) serves the rice in a bowl and tops it with a variety of raw fish and vegetable garnishes. It is commonly eaten because it is filling, fast and easy to make.[ citation needed ] It is eaten annually on Hinamatsuri in March.


Three pieces of inarizushi. Kantofu Inarizushi.jpg
Three pieces of inarizushi.

Inarizushi (稲荷寿司) is a pouch of fried tofu typically filled with sushi rice alone.

Tales tell that inarizushi is named after the Shinto god Inari . Foxes, messengers of Inari, are believed to have a fondness for fried tofu, and an Inari-zushi roll has pointed corners that resemble fox ears. [12]

Regional variations include pouches made of a thin omelette (帛紗寿司, fukusa-zushi, or 茶巾寿司, chakin-zushi) instead of tofu. It should not be confused with inari maki, which is a roll filled with flavored fried tofu.

Cone sushi is a variant of inarizushi originating in Hawaii that may include green beans, carrots, or gobo along with rice, wrapped in a triangular aburage piece. It is often sold in okazu-ya (Japanese delis) and as a component of bento boxes. [13] [14] [15] [16]


Futomaki Vegetarian Maki Sushi at Suzuran Japan Foods Trading.jpg
Makizushi in preparation Roll maki.jpg
Makizushi in preparation
Square-style makizushi made without nori. The bottom pieces have been seasoned with wasabi. 16 pieces of maki-zushi with wasabi on the bottom 6.jpg
Square-style makizushi made without nori. The bottom pieces have been seasoned with wasabi.

Makizushi (巻き寿司, "rolled sushi"), norimaki (海苔巻き, "Nori roll") or makimono (巻物, "variety of rolls") is a cylindrical piece, formed with the help of a bamboo mat known as a makisu (巻き簾). Makizushi is generally wrapped in nori (seaweed), but is occasionally wrapped in a thin omelette, soy paper, cucumber, or shiso (perilla) leaves. Makizushi is usually cut into six or eight pieces, which constitutes a single roll order. Below are some common types of makizushi, but many other kinds exist.

Futomaki (太巻, "thick, large or fat rolls") is a large cylindrical piece, usually with nori on the outside. [17] A typical futomaki is five to six centimetres (2 to 2 12 in) in diameter. [18] They are often made with two, three, or more fillings that are chosen for their complementary tastes and colors. During the evening of the Setsubun festival, it is traditional in the Kansai region to eat uncut futomaki in its cylindrical form, where it is called ehō-maki (恵方巻, lit. happy direction rolls). [19] By 2000 the custom had spread to all of Japan. [20] Futomaki are often vegetarian, and may utilize strips of cucumber, kampyō gourd, takenoko bamboo shoots, or lotus root. Strips of tamagoyaki omelette, tiny fish roe, chopped tuna, and oboro (food) whitefish flakes are typical non-vegetarian fillings. [17] Traditionally, the rice is lightly seasoned with salt and sesame oil/perilla oil. Popular protein ingredients are fish cakes, imitation crab meat, eggs, or seasoned beef rib-eye. Vegetables usually include cucumbers, spinach, carrot and takuan (沢庵) (pickled radish). After the makizushi has been rolled and sliced, it is typically served with takuan.

Short grain white rice is usually used, although short-grain brown rice, like olive oil on nori, is now becoming more widespread among the health-conscious. Rarely, sweet rice is mixed in makizushi rice. Nowadays, the rice in makizushi can be many kinds of black rice, boiled rice and cereals etc.Besides the common ingredients listed above, some varieties may include cheese, spicy cooked squid, yakiniku, kamaboko, lunch meat, sausage, bacon or spicy tuna. The nori may be brushed with sesame oil or sprinkled with sesame seeds. In a variation, sliced pieces of makizushi may be lightly fried with egg coating. Tamago makizushi (玉子巻き寿司) is makizushi is rolled out by a thin egg. Tempura Makizushi (天ぷら 巻き寿司) or Agezushi (揚げ寿司ロール) is a fried version of the dish.

Hosomaki (細巻, "thin rolls") is a small cylindrical piece, with nori on the outside. A typical hosomaki has a diameter of about 2.5 centimetres (1 in). [18] They generally contain only one filling, often tuna, cucumber, kanpyō, thinly sliced carrots, or, more recently, avocado. Kappamaki, (河童巻) a kind of Hosomaki filled with cucumber, is named after the Japanese legendary water imp fond of cucumbers called the kappa. Traditionally, kappamaki is consumed to clear the palate between eating raw fish and other kinds of food, so that the flavors of the fish are distinct from the tastes of other foods. Tekkamaki (鉄火巻) is a kind of hosomaki filled with raw tuna. Although it is believed that the word tekka, meaning "red hot iron", alludes to the color of the tuna flesh or salmon flesh, it actually originated as a quick snack to eat in gambling dens called tekkaba (鉄火場), much like the sandwich. [21] [22] Negitoromaki (ねぎとろ巻) is a kind of hosomaki filled with scallion (negi) and chopped tuna ( toro ). Fatty tuna is often used in this style. Tsunamayomaki (ツナマヨ巻) is a kind of hosomaki filled with canned tuna tossed with mayonnaise.

Ehomaki Futomaki zushi in 201902.jpg

Ehōmaki (恵方巻, "lucky direction roll") is a roll composed of seven ingredients considered to be lucky. Ehōmaki are often eaten on setsubun in Japan. The typical ingredients include kanpyō, egg, eel, and shiitake mushrooms. Ehōmaki often include other ingredients too. People usually eat the ehōmaki while facing the direction considered to be auspicious that year. [23]

Temaki (手巻, "hand roll") is a large cone-shaped piece of nori on the outside and the ingredients spilling out the wide end. A typical temaki is about 10 centimetres (4 in) long, and is eaten with fingers because it is too awkward to pick it up with chopsticks. For optimal taste and texture, temaki must be eaten quickly after being made because the nori cone soon absorbs moisture from the filling and loses its crispness, making it somewhat difficult to bite through. For this reason, the nori in pre-made or take-out temaki is sealed in plastic film which is removed immediately before eating. [24]

Modern Narezushi

funa-zushi (narezushi made from a crucian carp species) Funazushi.jpg
funa-zushi (narezushi made from a crucian carp species)

Narezushi (熟れ寿司, "matured sushi") is a traditional form of fermented sushi. Skinned and gutted fish are stuffed with salt, placed in a wooden barrel, doused with salt again, then weighed down with a heavy tsukemonoishi (pickling stone). As days pass, water seeps out and is removed. After six months, this sushi can be eaten, remaining edible for another six months or more. [25]

The most famous variety of narezushi are the ones offered as a specialty dish of Shiga Prefecture, [26] particularly the funa-zushi made from fish of the crucian carp genus, the authentic version of which calls for the use nigorobuna , a particular locally differentiated variety of wild goldfish endemic to Lake Biwa). [27]


Sea urchin roe "gunkanmaki" Uni gunkan-maki.jpg
Sea urchin roe "gunkanmaki"

Nigirizushi (握り寿司, "hand-pressed sushi") consists of an oblong mound of sushi rice that the chef presses between the palms of the hands to form an oval-shaped ball, and a topping (the neta) draped over the ball. It is usually served with a bit of wasabi ; neta are typically fish such as salmon, tuna or other seafood. Certain toppings are typically bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori, most commonly octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), sea eel ( anago ), squid (ika), and sweet egg (tamago). One order of a given type of fish typically results in two pieces, while a sushi set (sampler dish) may contain only one piece of each topping.[ original research? ]

Gunkanmaki ( 軍艦巻 , "warship roll") is a special type of nigirizushi: an oval, hand-formed clump of sushi rice that has a strip of nori wrapped around its perimeter to form a vessel that is filled with some soft, loose or fine-chopped ingredient that requires the confinement of nori such as roe, nattō , oysters, uni (sea urchin roe), corn with mayonnaise, scallops, and quail eggs. Gunkan-maki was invented at the Ginza Kyubey restaurant in 1941; its invention significantly expanded the repertoire of soft toppings used in sushi. [28] [29]

Temarizushi (手まり寿司, "ball sushi") is a sushi made by pressing rice and fish into a ball-shaped form by hand using a plastic wrap.


Sasazushi, a type of oshizushi Sasazushi.jpg
Sasazushi, a type of oshizushi

Oshizushi(押し寿司, "pressed sushi"), also known as hako-zushi(箱寿司, "box sushi"), is a pressed sushi from the Kansai region, a favorite and specialty of Osaka. A block-shaped piece is formed using a wooden mold, called an oshibako . The chef lines the bottom of the oshibako with the toppings, covers them with sushi rice, and then presses the lid of the mold down to create a compact, rectilinear block. The block is removed from the mold and then cut into bite-sized pieces. Particularly famous is バッテラ (battera, pressed mackerel sushi) or 鯖寿司 (saba zushi). [30] In oshizushi, all the ingredients are either cooked or cured and raw fish is never used. [31]

Western-style sushi

Norway roll (noruueJuan ki). A Norwegian businessman introduced the use of salmon as a sushi ingredient to Japan in the 1980s. Norwegia Roll Salmon Sushi.jpg
Norway roll (ノルウェー巻き). A Norwegian businessman introduced the use of salmon as a sushi ingredient to Japan in the 1980s.

The increasing popularity of sushi around the world has resulted in variations typically found in the Western world, but rarely in Japan. A notable exception to this is the use of salmon, which was introduced by a Norwegian businessman tasked with helping the Norwegian salmon industry in the 1980s. [33] [34] [32] . Such creations to suit the Western palate were initially fueled by the invention of the California roll (a norimaki with crab (later, imitation crab), cucumber, and avocado). A wide variety of popular rolls ( norimaki and uramaki ) has evolved since. Norway roll is another variant of uramakizushi filled with tamago (omelette), imitation crab and cucumber, rolled with shiso leaf and nori, topped with slices of Norwegian salmon, garnished with lemon and mayonnaise. [35]


Uramakizushi rolls Western Sushi.jpg
Uramakizushi rolls

Uramaki (裏巻, "inside-out roll") is a medium-sized cylindrical piece with two or more fillings, and was developed as a result of the creation of the California roll, as a method originally meant to hide the nori. Uramaki differs from other makimono because the rice is on the outside and the nori inside. The filling is in the center surrounded by nori, then a layer of rice, and optionally an outer coating of some other ingredients such as roe or toasted sesame seeds. It can be made with different fillings, such as tuna, crab meat, avocado, mayonnaise, cucumber or carrots.

Examples of variations include the rainbow roll (an inside-out topped with thinly sliced maguro, hamachi, ebi, sake and avocado) and the caterpillar roll (an inside-out topped with thinly sliced avocado). Also commonly found is the "rock and roll" (an inside-out roll with barbecued freshwater eel and avocado with toasted sesame seeds on the outside).

In Japan, uramaki is an uncommon type of makimono; because sushi is traditionally eaten by hand in Japan, the outer layer of rice can be quite difficult to handle with fingers. [36]

American-style makizushi

American shrimp tempura and spicy salmon rolls Shrimp tempura sushi.png
American shrimp tempura and spicy salmon rolls

Futomaki is a more popular variation of sushi within the United States, and comes in variations that take their names from their places of origin. Other rolls may include a variety of ingredients, including chopped scallops, spicy tuna, beef or chicken teriyaki roll, okra, and assorted vegetables such as cucumber and avocado, and the tempura roll, where shrimp tempura is inside the roll or the entire roll is battered and fried tempura-style. In the Southern United States, many sushi restaurants prepare rolls using crawfish. Sometimes, rolls are made with brown rice or black rice, which appear in Japanese cuisine as well.

Per Food and Drug Administration regulations, raw fish served in the United States must be frozen prior to serving in order to kill parasites. [37] Because of this and the relative difficulty of acquiring fresh seafood compared to Japan, raw seafood (e.g., sashimi) is not as prevalent a component in American-style sushi.

Since rolls are often made to-order it is not unusual for the customer to specify the exact ingredients desired (e.g. salmon roll, cucumber roll, avocado roll, tuna roll, shrimp or tuna tempura roll, etc.). Though the menu names of dishes often vary by restaurant, some examples include:

Sushi roll nameDefinition
Alaskan rolla variant of the California roll with raw salmon on the inside, or layered on the outside. [38]
Boston roll An uramaki California roll with poached shrimp instead of imitation crab. [39]
British Columbia roll contains grilled or barbecued salmon skin, cucumber, sweet sauce, sometimes with roe. Also sometimes referred to as salmon skin rolls outside of British Columbia, Canada. [40]
California roll consists of avocado, kani kama (imitation crab/crab stick) (also can contain real crab in "premium" varieties), cucumber, and tobiko, often made as uramaki (with rice on the outside, nori on the inside) [41]
Dynamite roll includes yellowtail (hamachi) or prawn tempura, and fillings such as bean sprouts, carrots, avocado, cucumber, chili, spicy mayonnaise, and roe. [42]
Hawaiian rollcontains shoyu tuna (canned), tamago, kanpyō, kamaboko, and the distinctive red and green hana ebi (shrimp powder). [43]
Mango rollincludes fillings such as avocado, crab meat, tempura shrimp, mango slices, and topped off with a creamy mango paste. [44]
Michigan rollincludes fillings such as spicy tuna, smelt roe, spicy sauce, avocado, and sushi rice. Is a variation on spicy tuna roll. [45]
New Mexico rolloriginating in New Mexico; includes New Mexico green chile (sometimes tempura fried), teriyaki sauce, and rice. [46] [47] Sometimes simply referred to as a "green chile (tempura) roll" within the state. [48] [49]
Philadelphia roll consists of raw or smoked salmon, cream cheese (the name refers to Philadelphia cream cheese), cucumber or avocado, or onion. [50]
Rainbow rollis a California roll uramaki with multiple types of fish (commonly yellowtail, tuna, salmon, snapper, white fish, eel, etc.) and avocado wrapped around it. [51]
Seattle roll consists of cucumber, avocado, cream cheese and raw or smoked salmon. [52]
Spicy tuna rollincludes raw tuna mixed with hot sauce infused mayonnaise.
Spider roll includes fried soft-shell crab and other fillings such as cucumber, avocado, daikon sprouts or lettuce, roe, and sometimes spicy mayonnaise. [53]
Sushi burrito a large, customizable roll offered in a number of "sushi burrito" restaurants in the United States. [54]


Video of making sushi without fish
Sushi chef preparing nigirizushi, Kyoto, Japan Sushichef.jpg
Sushi chef preparing nigirizushi, Kyoto, Japan

All sushi has a base of specially prepared rice, complemented with other ingredients.


Sushi-meshi鮨飯 (also known as Su-meshi酢飯, shari舎利, or gohanご飯) is a preparation of white, short-grained, Japanese rice mixed with a dressing consisting of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and occasionally kombu and sake . It has to be cooled to room temperature before being used for a filling in a sushi or else it will get too sticky while being seasoned. Traditionally, the mixing is done with a hangiri, which is a round, flat-bottom wooden tub or barrel, and a wooden paddle (shamoji).

Sushi rice is prepared with short-grain Japanese rice, which has a consistency that differs from long-grain strains such as those from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Vietnam. The essential quality is its stickiness or glutinousness, although the type of rice used for sushi is different from glutinous rice. Freshly harvested rice (shinmai) typically contains too much water, and requires extra time to drain the rice cooker after washing. In some fusion cuisine restaurants, short-grain brown rice and wild rice are also used.

There are regional variations in sushi rice and individual chefs have their individual methods. Most of the variations are in the rice vinegar dressing: the Kantō region (or East Japan) version of the dressing commonly uses more salt; in Kansai region (or West Japan), the dressing has more sugar.


Sheets of nori. Nori.jpg
Sheets of nori.

The black seaweed wrappers used in makimono are called nori (海苔). Nori is a type of algae, traditionally cultivated in the harbors of Japan. Originally, algae was scraped from dock pilings, rolled out into thin, edible sheets, and dried in the sun, in a process similar to making rice paper. Today, the commercial product is farmed, processed, toasted, packaged, and sold in sheets.

The size of a nori sheet influences the size of makimono. A full-size sheet produces futomaki, and a half produces hosomaki and temaki. To produce gunkan and some other makimono, an appropriately-sized piece of nori is cut from a whole sheet.

Nori by itself is an edible snack and is available with salt or flavored with teriyaki sauce. The flavored variety, however, tends to be of lesser quality and is not suitable for sushi.

When making fukusazushi, a paper-thin omelette may replace a sheet of nori as the wrapping. The omelette is traditionally made on a rectangular omelette pan (makiyakinabe), and used to form the pouch for the rice and fillings.


Sushi made of meats other than fish (whether raw or cooked) is a variation often seen in Japan. Wagyu sushi 01.jpg
Sushi made of meats other than fish (whether raw or cooked) is a variation often seen in Japan.
Yaki anago-ippon-nigiri (Shao kianagoYi Ben Wo ri
) - a roasted and sweet-sauced whole conger Whole-eel.jpg
Yaki anago-ippon-nigiri (焼きアナゴ一本握り) – a roasted and sweet-sauced whole conger
Ebifurai-maki (ebihuraiJuan ki
) - fried-shrimp roll Fried-shrimp.jpg
Ebifurai-maki (エビフライ巻き) – fried-shrimp roll
Date-Maki (Yi Da Juan 
) - futomaki wrapped with sweet tamagoyaki Datemaki.JPG
Date-Maki (伊達巻) futomaki wrapped with sweet tamagoyaki

For culinary, sanitary, and aesthetic reasons, the minimum quality and freshness of fish to be eaten raw must be superior to that of fish which is to be cooked. Sushi chefs are trained to recognize important attributes, including smell, color, firmness, and freedom from parasites that may go undetected in commercial inspection. Commonly used fish are tuna (maguro, shiro-maguro), Japanese amberjack, yellowtail (hamachi), snapper (kurodai), mackerel (saba), and salmon (sake). The most valued sushi ingredient is toro, the fatty cut of the fish. This comes in a variety of ōtoro (often from the bluefin species of tuna) and chūtoro , meaning "middle toro", implying that it is halfway into the fattiness between toro and the regular cut. Aburi style refers to nigiri sushi where the fish is partially grilled (topside) and partially raw. Most nigiri sushi will have completely raw neta.

Other seafoods such as squid (ika), eel ( anago and unagi ), pike conger (hamo), octopus (tako), shrimp (ebi and amaebi), clam (mirugai, aoyagi and akagai), fish roe (ikura, masago , kazunoko and tobiko), sea urchin (uni), crab (kani), and various kinds of shellfish (abalone, prawn, scallop) are the most popular seafoods in sushi. Oysters, however, are less common, as the taste is not thought to go well with the rice. Kani kama, or imitation crab stick, is commonly substituted for real crab, most notably in California rolls.

Pickled daikon radish (takuan) in shinko maki, pickled vegetables ( tsukemono ), fermented soybeans ( nattō ) in nattō maki, avocado, cucumber in kappa maki, asparagus, yam, pickled ume ( umeboshi ), gourd (kanpyō), burdock (gobo), and sweet corn (possibly mixed with mayonnaise) are also used in sushi.

Tofu and eggs (in the form of slightly sweet, layered omelette called tamagoyaki and raw quail eggs ride as a gunkan-maki topping) are common.


Sushi is commonly eaten with condiments. Sushi may be dipped in shōyu (soy sauce), and is usually flavored with wasabi, a piquant paste made from the grated stem of the Wasabia japonica plant. Japanese-style mayonnaise is a common condiment in Japan on salmon, pork and other sushi cuts.

True wasabi has anti-microbial properties and may reduce the risk of food poisoning. [55] The traditional grating tool for wasabi is a sharkskin grater or samegawa oroshi. An imitation wasabi (seiyo-wasabi), made from horseradish, mustard powder and green dye is common. It is found at lower-end kaiten-zushi restaurants, in bento box sushi and at most restaurants outside Japan. If manufactured in Japan, it may be labelled "Japanese Horseradish". [56]

Gari (sweet, pickled ginger) is eaten in between sushi courses to both cleanse the palate and aid in digestion. In Japan, green tea (ocha) is invariably served together with sushi. Better sushi restaurants often use a distinctive premium tea known as mecha . In sushi vocabulary, green tea is known as agari.

Sushi may be garnished with gobo, grated daikon, thinly sliced vegetables, carrots/radishes/cucumbers that have been shaped to look like flowers, real flowers, or seaweed salad.

When closely arranged on a tray, different pieces are often separated by green strips called baran or kiri-zasa (切り笹). These dividers prevent the flavors of neighboring pieces of sushi from mixing and help to achieve an attractive presentation. Originally, these were cut leaves from the Aspidistra elatior (葉蘭 haran) and Sasa veitchii (熊笹 kuma-zasa) plants, respectively. Using actual leaves had the added benefit of releasing antimicrobial phytoncides when cut thereby extending the limited shelf life of the sushi. [57] Sushi bento boxes are a staple of Japanese supermarkets and convenience stores. As these stores began rising in prominence in the 1960s, the labor-intensive cut leaves were increasingly replaced with green plastic in order to lower costs. This coincided with the increased prevalence of refrigeration which acted to extend the shelf life of sushi without the need for the cut leaves. Today the plastic strips are commonly used in sushi bento boxes and to a lesser degree in sushi presentations found in sushi bars and restaurants. In store-sold or to-go packages of sushi, the plastic leaf strips are often used to prevent the rolls from coming into early or unwanted contact with the ginger and wasabi included with the dish. [58]


Sushi in shops are usually sold in plastic trays. Sushi Bento in Aeon Mall BSD City Indonesia 1.jpg
Sushi in shops are usually sold in plastic trays.

The main ingredients of traditional Japanese sushi, raw fish and rice, are naturally low in fat, high in protein, carbohydrates (the rice only), vitamins, and minerals, as are gari and nori. Other vegetables wrapped within the sushi also offer various vitamins and minerals. Many of the seafood ingredients also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have a variety of health benefits. [59] The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish has certain beneficial property, especially on cardiovascular health, natural anti-inflammatory compounds, and play a role in brain function. [60]

Generally sushi is not a particularly fattening food. However, rice in sushi contains a fair amount of carbohydrates, plus the addition of other ingredients such as mayonnaise added into sushi rolls might increase the caloric content. [61] Sushi also has a relatively high sodium content, especially contributed from shoyu soy sauce seasoning. [60]

Health risks

Some of the ingredients in sushi can present health risks. Large marine apex predators such as tuna (especially bluefin) can harbor high levels of methylmercury, which can lead to mercury poisoning when consumed in large quantity [62] or when consumed by certain higher-risk groups, including women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, nursing mothers and young children. [63]

According to recent studies, there have been about 18 million infections worldwide from eating raw fish. [64] This serves as a great risk to expecting mothers due to the health risks that medical interventions or treatment measures may pose on the developing fetus. [64] Parasitic infections can have a wide range of health impacts, including bowel obstruction, anemia, liver disease, and more. [64] The impact of these illnesses alone can pose some health concerns on the expecting mother and baby, but the curative measures that may need to take place to recover, are also a concern as well. [64]

Sashimi or other types of sushi containing raw fish present a risk of infection by three main types of parasites:

For the above reasons, EU regulations forbid the use of fresh raw fish. It must be frozen at temperatures below −20 °C (−4 °F) in all parts of the product for no less than 24 hours. [68] As such, a number of fishing boats, suppliers and end users "super-freeze" fish for sushi to temperatures as low as −60 °C. [69] As well as parasite destruction, super-freezing also prevents oxidation of the blood in tuna flesh, thus preventing the discoloration that happens at temperatures above −20 °C. [70]

Some forms of sushi, notably those containing pufferfish fugu and some kinds of shellfish, can cause severe poisoning if not prepared properly. Particularly, fugu consumption can be fatal. Fugu fish has a lethal dose of tetrodotoxin in its internal organs and, by law in many countries, must be prepared by a licensed fugu chef who has passed the prefectural examination in Japan. [71] The licensing examination process consists of a written test, a fish-identification test, and a practical test that involves preparing the fugu and separating out the poisonous organs. Only about 35 percent of the applicants pass. [72]

Sustainable sushi

Sustainable sushi is sushi made from fished or farmed sources that can be maintained or whose future production does not significantly jeopardize the ecosystems from which it is acquired. Concerns over the sustainability of sushi ingredients arise from greater concerns over environmental, economic and social stability and human health.


Sushi served on a wooden platter at a sushi restaurant in Kanagawa Prefecture (Shen Nai Chuan Xian ), Japan. Sushi Kanagawa Japan (2013).JPG
Sushi served on a wooden platter at a sushi restaurant in Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県), Japan.

Traditionally, sushi is served on minimalist Japanese-style, geometric, mono- or duo-tone wood or lacquer plates, in keeping with the aesthetic qualities of this cuisine.[ citation needed ]

Many sushi restaurants offer fixed-price sets, selected by the chef from the catch of the day. These are often graded as shō-chiku-bai (松竹梅), shō/matsu (, pine), chiku/take (, bamboo) and bai/ume (, plum), with matsu the most expensive and ume the cheapest.[ citation needed ] Sushi restaurants will often have private booth dining, where guests are asked to remove their shoes, leaving them outside the room; However, most sushi bars offer diners a casual experience with an open dining room concept.

Meat sushi Meet- Sushi.jpg
Meat sushi

Sushi may be served kaiten zushi (sushi train) style. Color-coded plates of sushi are placed on a conveyor belt; as the belt passes, customers choose as they please. After finishing, the bill is tallied by counting how many plates of each color have been taken. Newer kaiten zushi restaurants use barcodes or RFID tags embedded in the dishes to manage elapsed time after the item was prepared. [73]


Some specialized or slang terms are used in the sushi culture. Most of these terms are used only in sushi bars.


Unlike sashimi, which is almost always eaten with chopsticks, nigirizushi is traditionally eaten with the fingers, even in formal settings. [76] Although it is commonly served on a small platter with a side dish for dipping, sushi can also be served in a bento , a box with small compartments that hold the various dishes of the meal.

Soy sauce is the usual condiment, and sushi is normally served with a small sauce dish, or a compartment in the bento. Traditional etiquette suggests that the sushi is turned over so that only the topping is dipped; this is because the soy sauce is for flavoring the topping, not the rice, and because the rice would absorb too much soy sauce and would fall apart. [77] If it is difficult to turn the sushi upside-down, one can baste the sushi in soy sauce using gari (sliced ginger) as a brush. Toppings that have their own sauce (such as eel) should not be eaten with soy sauce.

Traditionally, the sushi chef will add an appropriate amount of wasabi to the sushi while preparing it, and etiquette suggests eating the sushi as is, since the chef is supposed to know the proper amount of wasabi to use. However, today wasabi is more a matter of personal taste, and even restaurants in Japan may serve wasabi on the side for customers to use at their discretion, even when there is wasabi already in the dish. [78]

Preparation utensils
FukinKitchen cloth
Hangiri Rice barrel
Hocho Kitchen knives
Makisu Bamboo rolling mat
Ryoribashi or Saibashi Cooking chopsticks
Shamoji Wooden rice paddle
Makiyakinabe Rectangular omelette pan
Oshizushihako a mold used to make oshizushi

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Onigiri</i> Japanese rice ball

O-nigiri, also known as o-musubi, nigirimeshi, rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. Most Japanese convenience stores stock their onigiri with various fillings and flavors. There are even specialized shops which only sell onigiri to take out. Due to the popularity of this trend in Japan, onigiri has become a popular staple in Japanese restaurants worldwide.

Tempura Japanese dish of deep-fried fish and vegetables, introduced by Portuguese residing in Nagasaki in the 16th century; name derives from Portuguese tempero (“seasoning”) or têmpora (“Ember days”)

Tempura is a Japanese dish usually consisting of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. The dish was influenced by fritter-cooking techniques introduced by Portuguese residing in Nagasaki in the 16th century, and the name "tempura" relates to that origin.


In Japanese cooking, a makisu (巻き簾) is a mat woven from bamboo and cotton string that is used in food preparation. Makisu are most commonly used to make a kind of rolled sushi called makizushi (巻き寿司), but they are also used to shape other soft foods such as omelets, and to squeeze excess liquid out of food.

Bibimbap rice mixed with meat, namul, and condiments

Bibimbap, sometimes romanized as bi bim bap or bi bim bop, is a Korean rice dish. The term “bibim” means mixing various ingredients, while the “bap” noun refers to rice. Bibimbap is served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with namul or Gimchi(korean traditional food) and gochujang, soy sauce, or doenjang. A raw or fried egg and sliced meat are common additions. The hot dish is stirred together thoroughly just before eating.

History of sushi

The history of sushi began with paddy fields in Asia, where fish was fermented with salt and rice, after which the rice was discarded. The dish is today known as narezushi, and was introduced to Japan around the Yayoi period. In the Muromachi period, people began to eat the rice as well as the fish. During the Edo period, vinegar rather than fermented rice began to be used. In pre-modern times and modern times, it has become a form of fast food strongly associated with Japanese culture.

Hanaya Yoshi is generally credited as the inventor of today's Tokyo-style nigiri sushi at the end of Japan's Edo period.

Gỏi cuốn Vietnamese dish

Gỏi cuốn, Vietnamese spring roll or cold roll, is a Vietnamese dish traditionally consisting of pork, prawn, vegetables, bún, and other ingredients wrapped in Vietnamese bánh tráng. Like other spring roll dishes, they are believed to have an origin in China and were introduced to Vietnam by Chinese immigrants although the gỏi cuốn has been modified to suit local tastes.

California roll

A California roll or California maki is a makizushi sushi roll that is usually rolled inside-out, and containing cucumber, crab or imitation crab, and avocado. Sometimes crab salad is substituted for the crab stick, and often the outer layer of rice in an inside-out roll (uramaki) is sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, tobiko or masago.

Poke (Hawaiian dish) Hawaiian dish

Poke is diced raw fish served either as an appetizer or as a main course and is one of the main dishes of Native Hawaiian cuisine. Traditional forms are aku and heʻe (octopus). Heʻe (octopus) poke is usually called by its Japanese name Tako Poke, except in places like the island of Niʻihau where the Hawaiian language is spoken. Increasingly popular ahi poke is generally made with yellowfin tuna. Adaptations may feature raw salmon or various shellfish as a main ingredient served raw with the common poke seasonings.

Philadelphia roll

A Philadelphia roll is a makizushi type of sushi generally made with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber. It can also include other ingredients, such as other types of fish, avocado, scallions, and sesame seed.

Japanese regional cuisine

Japanese cuisine has a vast array of regional specialities known as kyōdo ryōri (郷土料理) in Japanese, many of them originating from dishes prepared using local ingredients and traditional recipes.

Découverte du Sushi is a Pan-European sushi making competition, part of the biennial Sirha 'world hospitality and food service event' trade show held in January at Eurexpo in Lyon, France.

Sushi pizza a variant of Japanese sushi served in Canada

Sushi pizza is a Canadian dish that originated from Toronto and a fusion of sushi and pizza often served in the Greater Toronto Area, invented by Kaoru Ohsada no later than May 2013, Oli teimoso, as a Nami Japanese Seafood Restaurant chef. It uses a slightly crispy yet chewy fried rice patty as the base and is topped with a layer of sliced avocado, a layer of sliced salmon, tuna or crab meat, a drizzle of blended mayonnaise and wasabi powder and is served in wedges. Nori, pickled ginger and roe are sometimes also served as toppings or sides.

<i>Shōta no Sushi</i> television series

Shōta no Sushi is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Daisuke Terasawa about a teen boy Sekiguchi Shota (関口将太) and his journey from an apprentice to become a sushi chef. It was later adapted into TV series, produced by Fuji TV. The manga series ended when Shota won the regional sushi competition in Tokyo. A sequel continued with him being the Tokyo representative in the national competition, to keep a promise for a re-match with his rival Saji Yasuto.

Spring roll type of dim sum

Spring rolls are a large variety of filled, rolled appetizers or dim sum found in East Asian, South Asian, and Southeast Asian cuisine. The name is a literal translation of the Chinese chūn juǎn. The kind of wrapper, fillings, and cooking technique used, as well as the name, vary considerably within this large area, depending on the region's culture.

Sushi machine

A sushi machine or sushi robot is a mechanical device that automatically creates various styles of sushi. Several are electrically powered. Some sushi machines produce mounds of sushi rice for creating nigiri. This style of sushi machine may use a hopper that is filled with sushi rice, from where the rice is fed into the machine and the sushi rice mounds are formed and then ejected. After the rice mounds are ejected, sashimi and other ingredients are then manually placed atop them. Some sushi machines can produce sushi rolls, whereby the machine automatically flattens rice into sheets, adds various ingredients such as sashimi, nori and vegetables, rolls them up and then slices the rolls into separate pieces. Some roll machines are adjustable to change settings for roll length and thickness. Sushi restaurants and food service operations may use sushi machines to reduce labor costs. Sushi prepared with electric sushi machines may be priced lower at retail stores and outlets compared to that prepared solely by humans. Some sushi machines are manually operated and function without the use of electricity.


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