Japanese Glossary

This is a glossary of common Japanese words used in reference to the sushi world.

A note on Japanese pronunciation: When sushi is used in a compound word, the pronunciation changes to zushi.

abura-age (あぶらあげ) – sweet, simmered tofu packets used for inarizushi.

amaebi (あまえび) – sweet shrimp, usually raw

anago (あなご) – conger eel

bento (べんと) – Japanese style lunch box or compartment style meal

chirashi (ちらし) – scattered sushi; assorted fresh fish and other ingredients over rice

daikon (だいこん) – large Japanese radish, often served with sashimi

dashi (だし) – Japanese style stock made from konbu and bonito flakes

ebi (えび) – shrimp

fugu (ふぐ) – puffer fish

futomaki (ふとまき) – “thick roll” style makizushi

gari (がり) – pickled ginger

gobo (ごぼ) – burdock root

gohan (ごはん)- cooked white rice, eaten with almost every meal in Japan

gunkanmaki (ぐんかんまき) – battleship maki, style of sushi made to serve loose ingredients like fish roe

hamachi (はまち) – yellowtail amberjack

hangiri (はんぎり) – wooden tub made for mixing sushi rice

hashi (はし) – chopsticks

hokigai (ほきがい) – surf clam

hosomaki (ほそまき) – “thin roll” style makizushi

hotategai (ほたてがい) – scallop

ika (いか) – squid

ikura (いくら) – salmon roe

inarizushi (いなりずし) – sweet abura-age tofu stuffed with sushi rice

ise ebi (いせえび) – lobster

itamae (いたまえ) – sushi chef

kabayaki (かばやき) – thick, sweetened soy sauce, also known as eel sauce or unagi sauce

kampyo (かんぴょう) – simmered gourd stem

kanikama (かにかま) – stick of imitation crab meat made from surimi fish protein

kani (かに)- crab

katsuobushi (かつおぶし) – bonito fish flakes, used for stocks and garnish

kazarimaki (かざりまき) – complex decorative style makizushi

konbu (こんぶ) – type of kelp used for stocks

maguro (まぐろ) – tuna

makisu (まきす) – bamboo rolling mat

makizushi (まきずし) – rolled sushi

mamenori (まめのり) – soy wrappers

masago (まさご) – smelt roe

mirin (みりん) – cooking sake

mirugai (みるがい) – large geoduck clam, pronounced goo-ee-duck

miso (みそ)- soy bean paste used for soups or seasoning

momijioroshi (もみじえろし) – Japanese hot pepper paste used to make spicy mayonnaise

natto (なっと) – fermented soy beans, rarely eaten outside Japan

nigirizushi (にぎりずし) – hand-formed sushi

nijimasu (にじます) – rainbow trout (not native to Japan)

nori (のり) – prepared sheets of seaweed for makizushi

omakase (えまかせ) – chef’s choice

onigiri (えにぎり) – rice ball sometimes with filling

oshinko (えしんこ) – type of Japanese pickle, usually daikon

saba (さば) – salt-cured mackerel

sake (さけ) – fermented rice liquor, also: salmon

sashimi (さしみ) – slices of raw fish

shari (しゃり) – sushi vinegar

shiso (しそ) -edible perilla mint leaf

shoyu (しょゆ) – soy sauce

sushi (すし) – sweet, sticky rice presented in a variety of ways with different types of ingredients, often seafood

sushimeshi (すしめし) – sushi rice

tai (たい) – red snapper

tako (たこ) – octopus

tamago (たまご) – egg; japanese rolled omelette known as dashi maki tamago is often just referred to as tamago

tamari (たまり) – dark soy sauce

temakizushi (てまきずし) – hand-rolled makizushi

teriyaki (てりやき) – sauce made from shoyu and mirin, also method of grilling with this sauce

tataki (たたき) – seared tuna

tobiko (とびこ) – flying fish roe

ume (うめ) – plum, often seen as a paste or pickled

uni (うに) – sea urchin

unagi (うなぎ) – freshwater eel

uramaki (うらまき) – inside-out roll

wakame (わかめ) – marinated seaweed, often eaten as a salad

wasabi (わさび) – Japanese horseradish

Didn’t find a word you were looking for? Feel free to ask, and I’ll certainly add it to the list if it is relevant.

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