Glossary

This page contains a list of some sushi-related words and phrases which you might find on this site or in a sushi bar.

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.

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.
  • 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.
  • Agemono. Fried foods.
  • Basashi. Horse sashimi.
  • Bulgogi. A Korean marinated beef dish.
  • Buta. Pork.
  • Cha kaiseki. Small meal served with as part of a tea ceremony.
  • Dashi. Basic fish stock.
  • Gohan. Plain boiled rice.
  • Gyu Tataki. Beef tataki.
  • Horenso No Ohitashi. A spinach dish.
  • Ji-. Prefix: locally made or caught.
  • Kaiseki-bento. Smaller, less expensive version of kaiseki-ryori, often eaten at lunch.
  • Kaiseki-ryori. A multi-course meal of many small, simple, and typically seasonal dishes..
  • Kareh katsu. Curry sauce poured over deep-fried pork cutlet.
  • Katsu. A cutlet.
  • Katsudon. Deep-fried pork cutlet served with sauce over rice.
  • Kim chee. Korean 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.
  • Sakamushi. Steamed over sake.
  • Senbei. Thin, crisp rice crackers.
  • Shabu-shabu. Food blanched at the table; served with sauce.
  • 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.
  • Sukiyaki. Thinly sliced beef and raw vegetables cooked at the table.
  • Sunomono. Vinegared foods.
  • Tamago yaki. Fried egg.
  • Tamago. Eggs.
  • 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 sauce. A sweetened soy sauce.
  • 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.
  • Yaki. Grilled, toasted.
  • Yakimono. Broiled foods.
  • Yakinori. Toasted seaweed.
  • Yakitori. Skewer-grilled foods.
  • Yakumi. One of several strongly flavored seasonings.
  • Yosenabe. A fish, seafood and vegetable soup.

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.

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.’.

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