The World-Wide Sushi Restaurant Reference
Glossary of sushi-related terms

This page contains a list of some sushi-related words and phrases which you might find on this site or in a sushi bar. This page lists short definitions; in many cases the links under each term lead to further information.

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 in 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.

Okonomi-zushi. Home-style nigiri sushi.

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.


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.

Odori-ebi. ``Dancing shrimp,'' ama ebi served living.

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.

Botan-ebi. ???.

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.

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.

Kazunoko. Herring roe.

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.

Buri-daikon. ???.

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.

Ramen. Thin noodles, often used in fast-prepare packets.

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.

Wood ears. Alternate name for kikurage.

Beans & bean products (including tofu)

Aburage. Puffy, brown fried tofu.

Aka miso. Red soy bean paste.

An. Sweetened puree of cooked red beans.

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.

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 and such things

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.

Spicy Mayonnaise. A common condiment with some kinds of sushi rolls.

Sakamushi. Steamed over sake.

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-joon. Very light Korean scallion pancake.

Ponzu. Sauce made with Japanese citron.

Robata-Yaki. Fresh ingrediants cooked over a wood fire.

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.

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.

Tataki. Finely chopped.

Tataki. Grilled on the surface, then chopped.

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.


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.

Other cooking related items

Donburi. Large bowl for noodle and rice dishes.

Geta. Wooden block used at a sushi bar as a plate.

Hashi. Chopsticks.

Hocho. General term for knives.

Makisu. Mat made of bamboo strips for making roll sushi.

Mirin. Sweet rice wine for cooking.

Ohitsu. A special bowl to keep rice warm.

Oshibori. Moistened heated towel.

Oshiwaku. Wooden box with top.

Shamoji. Flat rice-serving spoon.

Sudare. Floor- or window-sized bamboo mat.

Suribachi. A bowl with corrugations on the inside, used as a mortar.

Surikogi. A wooden pestle shaped like a big cucumber.

Tatami. A rush mat used as a floor covering.

Useful phrases

Domo. Thank you.

Domo arigato. Thank you very much.

Dozo. Please.

Gaijin. Outsiders, foreigners.

Gochiso-sama [deshita]. Traditional phrase closing a meal.

Hai. Yes.

Itadakimasu. Traditional phrase opening a meal.

Itamae. The sushi (or other Japanese) chef.

Konichiwa. A greeting, roughly `how are you'.

Omakase. Chef's choice.

Okonomi. The practice of ordering sushi a few pieces at a time.

Sabinuki. `No wasabi, please.'.

Words whose definitions we don't know

Disclaimer. Make sure you have read the full disclaimer located in the overview to this restaurant guide. Basically: I cannot vouch for the accuracy of any information on this page; remember that the comments are no more than the opinions of strangers; before you venture out to explore the places listed here, it would be a good idea to make sure they are still open, and to verify their exact locations.

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