Different types of sushi

More than maki

You probably already know nigiri sushi and makizushi (often just called "maki"). Some will have already tried futomaki and temakizushi too, which are variations of sushi prepared with nori seaweed. But in Japan, there's a multitude of other sushi types: fermented, pressed, served on plates or in bowls. Here's a guide to some lesser-known types of sushi!

Wrapped sushi

Those who have visited Nara before will surely have noticed the kakinoha-zushi, an extremely popular local sushi recipe. Pressed sushi is prepared with sliced mackerel, and wrapped in a persimmon leaf. It's a popular omiyage (souvenir gift) amongst the Japanese.

The city of Niigata (Chubu) also has its version of wrapped sushi, sasa-zushi (also known as masu-zushi). Vinegared rice is accompanied by plants or river fish, and the sushi is wrapped in "sasa" bamboo leaves, hence its name.

Mehari-zushi is a kind of sushi wrapped in mustard greens. This type of sushi is very popular for long trips, and is also slightly fermented.

Finally, inari-zushi, named after the fox god Inari, is a sushi wrapped in aburaage (fried and slightly sweet sheets of tofu). It does not contain fish. Inari-zushi derives its name from the belief that this Shinto god particularly enjoys tofu.

Inari sushi is sushi contained in a sheet of tofu.

ishikawa ken

Sushi wrapped in nori

This is the most popular type of sushi in the West. Japanese restaurants around the world have made their success and it has almost become useless to present them.

The small roll of rice garnished with vegetables and/or raw fish is called maki-zushi. It's bigger and more filled version is called futomaki. Then there's temaki sushi, in the shape of a cone.

Another type of sushi where nori is essential is the gunkan-maki. You might not recognise the name, but it is often made outside Japan, most commonly using salmon eggs on rice, wrapped around the side with seaweed.

"Fermented" sushi

It's thought that the "original" sushi was a fermented sushi called nare-zushi. This is a dish where rice is used to preserve fish. Back then, the Japanese removed the rice that surrounded the fish and only ate the fish, but some think it's the ancestor of the sushi we know today! This method of preparation has all but disappeared.

Gunkan-maki with uni (sea urchin) at Kyubey, Tokyo

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