Know your bonito from your unagi: Sushi and sashimi explained


Know your bonito from your unagi: Sushi and sashimi explained

You're comfortably perched at the sushi counter, staring curiously at the rotating mini plates, and wondering which one best suits your tastebuds. Sound familiar? It's not uncommon to feel this way at all.

To alleviate decision fatigue, here's a quick guide to the most popular types of sushi / sashimi dishes and shortcuts to common ingredients. How many are you familiar with?

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How well do you know your rolls?

Not all sushi rolls are made the same way. There are a variety of popular types of sushi, and decoding them will elevate your sushi status from everyday dabbler to expert aficionado.

The most common type of sushi - maki is sushi rice and filling rolled in seaweed. They are sometimes sliced and drizzled with sauce and toppings.

A variation of maki, here the rice is on the outside of the roll and the seaweed wraps around the filling inside. The outer surface of rice is also often dusted with sesame seeds, seaweed flakes or roe.

Temaki or hand roll
Temaki are great for lunch or as on-the-go snacks. Here the sushi rice and filling are hand-wrapped in seaweed in a large cone shape.

The fish sits on top of a bed of sushi rice. Usually there is no seaweed, just seafood (cooked or raw). This is a great choice for seafood enthusiasts who want to relish in focused fish flavours.

Another one for hard-core seafood lovers, sashimi is raw fish or shellfish sans rice.

More Japanese food terminology!

California roll: A makizushi sushi roll with crab meat, avocado, cucumber and toasted sesame seeds.

__Aburi __: Fish that is grilled ever so slightly using a blowtorch. This gives the fish a smoky flavour. A great choice for anyone with an aversion to the raw sushi varieties.

__Ebi __: Prawn.

__Unagi __: Eel.

__Kanikama __: Crab sticks.

__Nori __: Dried seaweed.

__Roe __: Fish eggs.

Wasabi: A spicy accompaniment for your sushi and sashimi, traditionally made from wasabi root. However, most modern varieties are produced from horseradish due to the scarcity of the wasabi plant.

Gari: Young pickled ginger.

Yuzu: A fragrant citrus fruit very popular in Japan, often used in drinks and desserts.

Tempura: Deep fried vegetables or seafood.

Karage: Meat (usually chicken) coated in potato starch or flour and fried.

Hoki salad: Creamy seafood salad.

__Bonito __: A dark fish similar to tuna. It is often fermented and dried to make Katsuobushi or dried bonito flakes that are used as a topping.

Image source: @sushihub

Got a sushi craving?

Book a table or grab some on-the-go from some of our favourite Japanese restaurants at Westfield Manukau

St Pierres Sushi