Sushi 101
Having trouble with the menu? Ever wondered what certain Japanese words or terms mean?
This glossary will expand your knowledge of Japanese terms.


General Sushi Vocabulary
Bara sushi Sushi rice and ingredients mixed together, as a rice salad.
Chirashi sushi (Iso-don, gomoku sushi) Sushi rice bed under other ingredients.
Funamori (Gunkan maki, kakomi sushi) Nigiri sushi wrapped to hold less solid ingredients.
Futomaki Large roll.
Fukusa sushi A type of sushi which is wrapped in a crepe.
Inari sushi Aburage stuffed with sushi rice.
Make sushi Nori seaweed and a layer of rice around a core of fillings.
Norimake A roll with nori seaweed on the outside.
California roll Crab meat, smelt or flying fish roe, avocado.
Philidelphia roll Salmon, cream cheese and some sort of vegetable.
Nigiri sushi A slice of fish or other topping atop vinegared rice.
Onigiri Balls made with plain steamed rice with various stuffings.
Oshizushi Sushi rice and other ingredients pressed into a box or mold.
Sashimi Sliced or prepared raw fish.
Sushi Anything made with vinegared rice.
Tazuna sushi (Rainbow roll) A roll with diagonal strips of food across the top.
Temaki Hand rolls, usually cone-shaped.

Fish
Aji Spanish mackerel, horse mackerel.
Aji-no-tataki Fresh Spanish mackerel.
Akagai Red clam.
Tarako Cod roe.
Akami Lean tuna, cut from the back of the fish.
Ama-ebi Sweet shrimp, usually served raw.
Anago Conger eel (saltwater).
Ankimo Monkfish liver.
Aoyagi Yellow clam.
Awabi Abalone.
Ayu Sweetfish.
Baigai Small water snails.
Bonito English word, for the Japanese katsuo.
Buri Adult yellowtail.
Chikuwa Browned fish cake with a hole running through its length.
Chutoro Medium fatty tuna, from the upper belly.
Ebi Shrimp.
Engawa (1) Halibut fin muscle; (2) meat surrounding the scallop muscle.
Fugu Blowfish, toxic if improperly prepared!.
Geoduck Mirugai, in the American Pacific northwest.
Hamachi Yellowtail.
Hamachi-kama Yellowtail collars.
Hamo Pike conger.
Hatahata Sandfish.
Hirame Halibut.
Hokkigai Surf clam.
Hotatagai Scallops.
Ika Squid.
Ika-geso Squid's tentacles.
Ikura Salmon roe.
Iwana Char.
Iwashi Sardine.
Kajiki Swordfish.
Kamaboko Fish cake.
Kani Crab meat.
Kani-kamaboko Fake crab meat.
Kanimiso Green contents of a crab's head.
Kanpachi Very young yellowtail.
Karei Flounder, flatfish.
Katsuo Bonito fish.
Katsuo-boshi Dried bonito fish.
Kazunoko Herring roe.
Kimachi A small fish from the yellowtail family.
Kohada Gizzard shad.
Koi Saltwater carp.
Kurodai Snapper.
Langostino A small shellfish.
Madai Red seabream.
Maguro Tuna.
Masu Trout.
Mekajiki Blue marlin.
Mirugai Long neck clam.
Niika Cooked Monterey squid.
Nijimasu Rainbow trout.
Otoro Fattest tuna.
Saba Mackeral.
Sake Salmon.
Sanma Japanese mackeral.
Sawagani Small crabs.
Sayori (Springtime) halfbeak.
Seigo Young sea bass.
Shako Mantis shrimp.
Shira-uo Whitebait, icefish or salangid.
Shiro maguro Albacore tuna.
Shirako Sperms sacs of the cod fish.
Suzuki Striped bass, rockfish.
Tai Sea bream, porgy, snapper.
Tairagai Razor-shell clam.
Tako Octopus.
Nama-tako Fresh or raw octopus.
Tekka Tuna, especially in a roll.
Tobiko Flying fish roe.
Torigai Cockle clam.
Sazae Conch.
Toro Fatty tuna.
Negitoro Chopped and mixed negi-onion and toro.
Unagi Freshwater eel.
Unagi maki Eel roll.
Unagi no kimo Eel innards.
Una-don Grilled eel, served on rice.
Uni Sea urchin.
Kanikama Imitation crab.
Mentaiko Spicy, marinated cod roe.

Terms about Fish
Hikari-mono Fish sliced for serving with the silver fish skin left on.
Neta The fish topping in nigiri sushi.
Shiromi no sakana Sushi/sashimi fish which are relatively white in color.
Sukimi Bits of fish scraped from the bones, used in rolls.

Fruit, Vegetables & Seaweed
Bamboo shoots Bought sliced or whole.
Daikon Giant, long white radish.
Edamame Soybeans, served in the pod as an appetizer.
Fuki A fibrous vegetable often simmered in broth.
Gobo Long, slender burdock root.
Hijiki Black seaweed in tiny threads.
Kampyo Dried gourd strips.
Kappa Cucumber, when used in a roll.
Kombu Kelp, possibly dried.
Konnyaku Gelatinous, rubbery oblong cake made from snake palm.
Nasu Eggplant.
Negi A Japanese onion.
Nori Purple laver seaweed pressed into thin sheets.
Oshinko Pickled vegetables, usually cucumber.
Sumitomo A kind of cucumber salad.
Takenoko Bamboo shoots.
Takuwan Pickled daikon.
Tsukemono Pickles.
Umeboshi Small, bitter, pickled Japanese plum.
Wakame Lobe-leaf seaweed, possibly dried, in strands.

Spices & Seeds
Aji-no-moto Monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Beni shoga Red pickled ginger.
Gari Pickled ginger.
Goma Sesame seeds.
Hichimi togarashi A western dialect rendering of shichimi togarashi.
Kinome Leaves of the Japanese prickly ash.
Kuro goma Black sesame seeds.
Nanami togarashi Mixed hot spices.
Ohba Japanese beefsteak plant.
Sansho Japanese pepper.
Shichimi togarashi Mixed hot spices.
Shiro goma White sesame seeds.
Shiso Japanese mint.
Togarashi Whole dried hot red peppers.
Wasabi Green, very hot Japanese horseradish.
Renkon Lotus roots.
Sato-imo Taro root.
Shoga Ginger root.

Noodles & Grains
Gyoza Stuffed wonton, pan-fried, sautéed and/or steamed.
Harusame Thin, transparent bean gelatin noodles.
Shari A sushi bar term for sushi rice.
Shiratake Translucent rubbery noodles.
Soba Buckwheat noodles.
Soba-zushi Sushi made with soba rather than rice.
Toshi-koshi soba Japanese custom of eating soba at the end of the year.
Somen White, threadlike wheat noodles.
Sushimeshi Rice for preparing sushi.
Udon Thick, wide wheat noodles.

Mushrooms & Other Fungi
Cloud ears Alternate name for Kikurage.
Kikurage A dried fungus.
Matsutake Very rare pine mushroom.
Shiitake A type of Japanese mushroom.

Beans & Bean Products (including tofu)
Aburage Puffy, brown fried tofu.
Azuki Small red beans used to make an.
Koyadofu Freeze-dried tofu.
Miso Soy bean paste.
Momen tofu "Cottony" bean curd.
Moyashi Bean sprouts.
Natto Fermented soy bean.
Red soy bean paste Sweetened puree of cooked red beans.
Shiro miso White soy bean paste.
Sweet bean paste Red azuki beans boiled with sugar.
Tofu Soybean curd.
Yamakaki Grated mountain potato with chunks of maguro.
Yakidofu Broiled or grilled soy bean curd.

Soups
Anko-nabe Monkfish stew.
Fugu-chiri Blowfish soup.
Ishikari-nabe Salmon stew with sake.

Other Food & Preparations
Aemono Vegetables or meats mixed with a dressing or sauce.
Agemono Fried foods.
Basashi Horse sashimi.
Bulgogi A Korean marinated beef dish.
Buta Pork.
Dashi Basic fish stock.
Gohan Plain boiled rice.
Gyu Tataki Beef tataki.
Ji- Prefix: locally made or caught.
Katsu A cutlet.
Katsudon Deep-fried pork cutlet served with sauce over rice.
Kareh katsu Curry sauce poured over deep-fried pork cutlet.
Kim chee Spicy marinated cabbage.
Manju Sweet bun filled with an.
Meshimono Rice mixed with meat or vegetables.
Mitzutaki Cooked in liquid.
Mochi Sweet glutinous rice cakes.
Mochigome Mochi rice.
Mochiko Sweet glutinous rice flour.
Murasaki Sushi bar term for soy sauce.
Mushimono Steamed foods.
Nabemono One-pot meals.
Nama- Prefix: (food) raw, (beer) draught.
Nimono Simmered or boiled foods.
Pan-joo Very light Korean scallion pancake.
Ponzu Sauce made with Japanese citron.
Robata-Yaki Fresh ingrediants cooked over a wood fire.
Sakamushi Steamed over sake.
Senbei Thin, crisp rice crackers.
Shirumono Generic Japanese term for soup.
Shoyu Japanese soy sauce.
Shu-mei Stuffed wontons, served steamed or deep-fried.
Soy sauce Salty sauce made from fermented soybeans.
Spicy Mayonnaise A common condiment with some kinds of sushi rolls.
Su Rice vinegar.
Suimono Clear soup.
Sunomono Vinegared foods.
Tamago Eggs.
Tamago yaki Fried egg.
Teriyaki sauce A sweetened soy sauce.
Tare Any thick sauce, usually soy-based and slightly sweetened.
Tempura Seafood or vegetables, battered and deep-fried.
Teriyaki Broiled foods marinated in a sweet soy sauce.
Tonkatsu Pork cutlet, breaded then fried.
Tori Chicken.
Ume-shiso Plum paste and shiso leaf mixture.
Usukuchi shoyu Light Japanese soy sauce.
Yakumi One of several strongly flavored seasonings.
Yaki Grilled, toasted.
Yakimono Broiled foods.
Yakinori Toasted seaweed.
Yakitori Skewer-grilled foods.
Yosenabe A fish, seafood and vegetable soup.
Horenso No Ohitashi A spinach dish.
Kaiseki-ryori A multi-course meal of many small, simple, and typically seasonal dishes..
Cha kaiseki Small meal served with as part of a tea ceremony.
Kaiseki-bento Smaller, less expensive version of kaiseki-ryori, often eaten at lunch.
Shabu-shabu Food blanched at the table; served with sauce.
Sukiyaki Thinly sliced beef and raw vegetables cooked at the table.

Beverages
Agari Green tea.
Biiru Beer.
Doburoku Sort of a thick, soupy sake.
Nihon Shu A sake, rice wine.
Ocha Tea.
Sake Rice wine.
Shochu 25-40% spirit made from potatoes or rice.