Fried tofu pouches prepared by cooking in sweet cooking sake, shoyu,
Vegetables or meats mixed with a dressing or sauce.
Agari - A
Japanese sushi-bar term for green tea.
Fried foods -- either deep-fat fried or pan-fried.
Aji - Horse
mackerel (less fishy tasting than Spanish mackerel). Purportedly
this is not actually a mackerel, but some other kind of fish. It is
small - about 6" in length - and they fillet it and serve marinated
- Fresh Spanish mackerel.
Akami - Lean
tuna, cut from the back of the fish. See also maguro.
Aka miso -
Red soy bean paste.
Pepitona (red) clam, red in color, not always available.
Ama Ebi -
Sweet Shrimp. Sometimes served with the deep-fried shells of the
shrimp. Eat the shells like you would crayfish.
Sweetened puree of cooked red beans.
Anago - Salt
water eel, pre-cooked (boiled) and then grilled before serving, less
rich than unagi (fresh water eel).
Aoyagi - Yellow
Small red beans used to make an.
Small water snails.
Bara sushi -
Sushi Rice and ingredients mixed together, as a rice salad. Regional
Beni shoga - Red pickled ginger.
Also known as skipjack tuna. See Katsuo.
Yellowtail. Hamachi refers to the young yellowtail and Buri are the
Buri Toro -
Fatty Yellowtail. The belly strip of the yellowtail. Incredibly rich
with a nice buttery flavor.
Buta - Pork.
Browned fish cake with a hole running through its length.
Medium fatty tuna, from the upper belly. See also toro and otoro.
giant white radish, usually served grated as garnish for sashimi.
Basic soup and cooking stock made with kombu and katsuoboshi.
Donburi - A
large bowl for noodle and rice dishes.
Shrimp. Not the same as Sweet Shrimp, as Ebi is cooked, while Ami
Ebi is prepared by "curing" in a mixture of juices.
Engawa - The
muscle that controls the fin on halibut or the meat surrounding the
muscle in a scallop.
Fugu - Fugu
is puffer fish which is a delicacy, though its innards and blood
contain extremely poisonous tetrodotoxin. In Japan only licensed
fugu chefs are allowed to prepare fugu or puffer fish.
Fuki - Fuki
is a Japanese butterbur plant which contains a bitter substance
called "fukinon" (a kind of ketone compound), but upon blanching
fukinon is easily washed out from its petioles (edible parts) and is
prepared for an excellent Japanese vegetable dish.
Big, oversized rolls.
Pickled ginger (the pink or off-white stuff) that comes along with
Gobo - Long,
slender burdock root.
Plain boiled rice.
- Battleship roll. This is where the maki is rolled to form a
container for the liquid neta. Used for oysters, uni, quail eggs,
ikura, tobiko, etc...
Young Yellowtail tuna, or amberjack, worth asking for if not on
- yellowtail collars, often served broiled.
Hamo - Pike
Dried bonito fish, shaved or flaked.
Thin, transparent bean gelatin noodles.
Mackerel (domestic fish from United States waters). Tends to be less
fishy that Saba.
Black seaweed in tiny threads.
Fluke or Halibut. See engawa
- A comprehensive term for all the shiny fish.
Himo - The
fringe around the inside of the ark shell.
General Japanese term for knives.
Hokki - Surf
Clam. Sort of a thorn-shaped piece, with red coloring on one side.
Ika - Squid.
The body is eaten raw and the tentacles are usually served toasted
on a bed of rice.
salmon roe. (FYI, Ikura means ‘How much?’ in Japanese)
Inada - Very
- Aburage stuffed with sushi rice.
Itamae - The
sushi (or other Japanese) chef.
large scallops, actually giant clam adductor muscle, though often
scallops are served, much like cooked scallops but more tender and
sweeter. Kobashiri are small scallops and like kaibashira may or may
not come from scallops or other bivalves.
Dried gourd. Unprepared is a light tan color. Prepared it’s a
translucent brown. It comes in long strips, shaped like fettuccine.
Imitation crab meat. Generally used in California rolls and other
maki, it's not the same thing as "soft shell crab."
Kani - Crab
meat. The real stuff. Always served cooked, much better if cooked
fresh but usually cooked and then frozen.
Bonito, also knows as skipjack tuna. It is usually found in sushi
bars on the West Coast because it lives in the Pacific Ocean, and
doesn't freeze very well. [Note: You can get it in Denver, Colorado
herring roe, usually served marinated in sake, broth, and soy sauce,
sometimes served raw, kazunoko konbu.
Japanese shad (or young punctatus, it's Latin species name).
Kuro goma -
Black sesame seeds.
Tuna. Not Toro. Toro is the tuna belly (i.e. the fatty part) and
maguro is the leaner flesh from the "sides" of the fish.
capelin roe, very similar to tobiko but slightly more orange in
color, not as common as tobiko in North America (though often caught
here). Capelin, shishamo, is also served grilled (after being
lightly salted) whole with the roe in it as an appetizer.
The rice and seaweed rolls with fish and/or vegetables. Most maki
places the nori on the outside, but some, like the California and
rainbow rolls, place the rice on the outside.
Sweet rice wine for cooking.
geoduck or horseneck clam, slightly crunchy and sweet.
Miso - Soy
Fermented soy beans. (Not just for breakfast anymore) Very strong
smell and taste, also slimy. Most people don't like it. Order it
once, if for no other reason that to see the confused look of the
Negi – Green
Neta - The
piece of fish that is placed on top of the sushi rice for nigiri.
- The little fingers of rice topped with wasabi and a filet of raw
or cooked fish or shellfish. Generally the most common form of sushi
you will see.
Sheets of dried seaweed used in maki.
The wet towel one cleans one's hands with before the meal.
Ocha - Tea.
Wooden box with top.
Sushi made from rice pressed in a box or mold.
Sauce made with Japanese citron.
Roe - Fish
eggs. Generally, flying fish, smelt, and salmon roe are available in
all sushi restaurants. "Roe" is a generic name. The roes are:
Saba - mackerel, almost always served after being lightly salted
and marinated for a few days, so really cooked. Raw mackerel is
sometimes served but it must be extremely fresh as it goes off
Sake - Rice
wine. Served both hot and cold depending on the quality. Some people
love it, some people hate it.
Salmon. Pronounced differently.
Raw fish fillets.
Shiokara - A
dish made of the pickled and salted internal organs of various
aquatic creatures. It comes in many form such as 'Ika no Shiokara'
(squid shiokara), shrimp, or fish.
- Albacore tuna, white tuna, doesn't handle as well and can change
color (though doesn't change taste or quality) so not as common as
other tunas. It will probably not be on the menu, ask for.
Translucent rubbery noodles.
Shiro goma -
White sesame seeds.
Shiro miso -
White soy bean paste.
Shiso - The
leaf of the Perilla plant. Used frequently with in makizushi and
Shiitake - A
type of Japanese mushroom.
Japanese soy sauce.
White, threadlike wheat noodles.
Spam - yes
SPAM, a sushi you can get in Hawaii (maybe Japan too), an acquired
Su - Rice
Sudare - Mat
made of bamboo strips to create make-zushi.
Sushi - The
sweetened, pickled rice. The fish is sashimi. Wrap the two together
in portions and it is also sushi, and the name still refers to the
rice, not the fish. Sushi is indeed the term for the special rice
but it is modified, in Japanese, to zushi when coupled with
modifiers that describe the different styles of this most popular
Stripped bass (of one species or another, often quite different).
Tai - red
snapper (substitutes, though good), real, Japanese, Tai is also
- egg omelet, sweet and, hopefully light, a good test of a new sushi
restaurant, if it’s overcooked and chewy, go somewhere else. In
Japan it is the trademark of each chef. Often potential customers in
Japan will ask for a taste of the Tamago in order to judge the
- Hand rolled cones of sushi rice, fish and vegetables wrapped in
seaweed. Very similar to maki.
Seafood or vegetables dipped in batter and deep fried.
flying-fish roe, red and crunchy, often served as part of maki-zushi
but also as nigiri-zushi commonly with quail egg yolk (uzura no
tamago) on top uncooked.
Japanese cockle, black and white shell fish, better fresh but
usually frozen (and chewier as a result).
Toro - Fatty
Tuna. There are several different types of tuna you can order in a
sushi restaurant. It comes in many different grades, O-Toro
considered the finest.
Unagi - Eel
(Freshwater) - grilled, and brushed with a teriyaki-like sauce,
richer than salt water eel.
Uni - Sea
Urchin, Lobsters eat sea urchin as a mainstay of their diet.
- Light Japanese soy sauce.
Dried lobe-leaf seaweed in long, dark green strands.
Japanese 'Horseradish.' This is the small lump of green stuff that
looks sort of like clay. Best done in extremely small doses. The
actual rhizome is not related to American Horseradish except by
name, but unfortunately, the 'wasabi' most often served (the
clay-like mound) is not real wasabi, but powdered and reconstituted
American Horseradish with food coloring. Real wasabi is difficult to
find in most restaurants, but is sometimes available upon request
(and worth it, even with a surcharge, in my opinion). It is quite
different in appearance (slightly more vegetal in color and
obviously a ground up lump of rhizome, not powder) as well as taste.
Real wasabi has a hotness that does not linger, and compliments and
enhances the flavor of sushi rather well.