Types of Sushi: Glossary of Sushi Terms

How to Read a Sushi Menu

Sushi GlossaryThere's no food more beloved by seafood lovers than sushi. The Japanese treat is low-fat, filling, and adorably bite-size. But unless you were raised with chopsticks in one hand and a bento box in the other, the world of rice rolls can be a bit trying to navigate.

If you aren't fluent in sushi-speak, there's no need to worry. We've compiled a go-to glossary that'll help you keep everything straight. In Japan, many traditional sushi bars don't even have menus, but here are some terms you might come across when dining at one in the States.

  • Nigiri: Hand-squeezed rectangles of fish-topped sushi rice (rice that's been seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt). These can be eaten with your fingers.
  • Temaki: Cones of nori (dried seaweed) filled with sushi rice, as well as fish and/or vegetables. Similar to maki, these are also known as hand rolls.
  • Inari: Pouches of seasoned fried tofu that are stuffed with sushi rice.
  • Maki or makimono: Sushi rice and seaweed rolls filled with fish or vegetables. There are varying types of maki.

To learn more about the different types of maki, read more.

  • Futomaki: Thick, large, oversize rice and seaweed rolls, up to an inch and a half in diameter, filled with fish or vegetables.
  • Hosomaki: Thinner, smaller, cylindrical rolls (up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter) consisting of a seaweed exterior and usually filled with rice and one ingredient, such as a fish or vegetable.
  • Uramaki: Rolls that have been created "inside-out" with rice on the exterior, and nori on the interior. Uramaki are typically sized in between futomaki and hosomaki, filled with two or more ingredients, and coated in sesame seeds or small fish roe.

Got more sushi vocabulary to add? Share it in the comments below. When ordering sushi, what do you find challenging?

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