The following is compiled from a web page run by Randy Johnson, with his implicit permission for summarizing by me unto www.everything.com. Randy is a Seattle area Sushi enthusiast, and quite knowledgeable to boot. Also be sure to look for my write up on decorum, tradition, and maximizing enjoyment in: At the Sushi Bar
! Coming soon to a node near you!
· # = foods for those who don't eat raw fish
· ! = regular sushi that comes wrapped in nori seaweed
· * = not normally found in U.S. restaurants
· @ = occasionally found in the U.S.
Sushi a la carte:
English Japanese Description
--------- ---------- --------------------
WHITE FISH: (shiromi)
Halibut hiRAme All white, tasty, small East Coast
halibut. A specialty in Japan, almost
translucent when fresh.
@Flounder kaREi Sometimes raw; also deep-fried in Japan.
Sometimes called 'halibut', its cousin.
Sea Bass suZUki Translucent, tender, some red bits.
Snapper tai "Tai" also means Sea Bream, snapper's
cousin, and more common in Japan.
@ Striped shima aji Red stripes in white flesh
@ Swordfish maka-jiki Occasionally found raw for sushi. Makajiki
can also refer to blue marlin.
*Blowfish fugu The 'deadly' one. Illegal in U.S. Only the
liver is poison; flesh is safe if the fish
was cleaned properly. Since only specially
licensed chefs can cut fugu, it's not found
in sushi bars. Famous for translucent,
* Shark SAme Almost never eaten raw or in sushi bars
Mackerel SAba Fishy and oily, but good. The Big mackerel;
usually has been slightly marinated.
Horse Aji Red flesh, comes with ginger-paste and
Mackerel onion. Very often translated as 'Spanish
Horse Aji no One small fish chopped up raw with ginger
Mackerel tataki garnish. In Japan, it's served on its
@ Spanish saWAra Off-white, looks like a white fish, but
Mackerel rich and oily like mackerel. Nice.
Yellowtail haMAchi Silvery to light brown or pink, by season
and diet. Often pinkish-brown in US,
silvery in Japan. In fact, at least three
other names are used for yellowtail in
Japan, depending on its maturity: buri,
kanpachi, and inada.
@ Sardine iWAshi Not often served in the US. Fishy and firm.
" " koHAda Kohada is a larger sardine, more common
* Trout masu Usually only at specialty restaurants near
trout fishing grounds in Japan.
"niji-masu" is rainbow trout.
* Catfish NAmazu Usually only in specialty restaurants
Tuna MAguro Red blue-fin tuna meat, usually deep red.
Tuna flank CHU toro In between maguro and toro in color and
@ Tuna belly TOro Very oily, light pink. Pricy! and rare in
US where chu-toro is often served as "toro"
Ahi tuna Ahi Lighter pink, occasionally served as "maguro"
but not as tasty.
Fish steak Sai-kyo- A fish steak, seared outside, raw inside.
in sauce yaki Usually done with a white fish, but...
Ahi steak Maguro sai- Seared tuna steak in a miso paste marinade.
in miso -kyo yaki SaikyoYAki.
Tuna in taro yamaKAke Raw maguro in a bowl of "toROro" (grated
mountain potato - like poi!) with wasabi,
quail egg, seaweed. Stir it up.
@ Tuna in miso nyuta Raw maguro in a bowl with wakame seaweed,
topped with sweetish miso paste (etc.)
@ Albacore Binnaga or Light pink delicate flesh; often slightly
tuna Bin-cho seared on the outside. Yum! In the US,
also called shiro-maguro, "white tuna".
bincho maguro is sometimes considered
slightly different from binnaga but
they are both albacore.
# Salmon SHAke Often smoked, like lox. (Really called
or sake 'sake' but the Tokyo-dialect "shake"
distinguishes it from the drink)
Raw Salmon nama shake Raw, fatty salmon. The best is in the
NorthWest (often from Alaska). Rarely eaten
raw in Japan because they don't have salt-
water salmon, except in Hokkaido
* Sturgeon cho-same Never eaten raw. (means 'butterfly-shark')
Bonito KAtsuo As sushi, topped with ginger-paste and
Bonito KAtsuo Aged thick slices of dark young bonito with
sashimi no taTAki a ginger and green onion garnish.
Bonito flakes KAtsuo- Dried, shaved bonito; looks like wood
BUshi shavings; garnishes some dishes
* Whale KUjira Red and rich, like beef. Illegal in U.S.
* Horse meat BAsashi Raw horse, as sashimi, dark red, aged
Ba is horse, -sashi, sashimi
SHRIMP and MOLLUSKS
# Shrimp Ebi Whitish pink. Slightly steamed. Can get
tough when it's been around awhile.
Sweet Shrimp ama ebi Raw shrimp; translucent and succulent when
fresh; brownish tinge when frozen. Don't
eat the tails, but the deep-fried heads
come along as a side dish.
#! Shrimp in iSObe-Age Shrimp wrapped in seaweed, deep fried.
seaweed Several to the order. Also called
@ Mantis shrimp SHA-ko Grayish, flat, small and crunchy; look like
primordial crustaceans. Sometimes translated
as squilla. Shako is common in Japan,
rare in the US.
* Giant Prawn kuRUma-ebi Huge, salt-broiled with head and tail.
Octopus TAko Lightly marinated tentacle. Fresh is chewy,
old is tough
Octopus in TAko-SU Sliced octopus in marinade with cucumber;
vinegar "tako salad"
Baby octopus ii-dako Whole, boiled and marinated in a sweet
brown sauce; cute little rascals.
Squid Ika The freshest is "fuzzy" on the tongue and
(cuttlefish) more translucent. The shinier, the older
and tougher; often garnished with nori or
Raw squid Ika saSHImi Just the raw sliced squid on a plate, with
garnish of shiso and shredded daikon
" Ika no "A thousand slices", same as above, but
senGIri always very thin-sliced.
Squid "noodles" Ika SOmen Raw thin-sliced squid in a bowl with quail
egg, wasabi, seaweed. (Somen is a kind of
Squid with Ika nat-to Ika somen with fermented soybeans (natto)
stinky beans added -- can also be a hand-roll.
Squid with Ika MENtai Raw squid and spicy red "mentaiko" roe
@ Fermented Ika no Pink, pungent, fermented, god-awful salty
squid shioKAra 'goop'. Good nibbles with sake, but not for
the faint of heart. (This is really a
Scallop HOtategai Rarely called "kai-BAshira". Hotate means
(kaiBAshira) 'sail-unfurled'; slightly nutty flavor.
Better places have fresh, whole scallops;
others only serve hotate as...
! Spicy Scallop Scallops chopped up in a white sauce (or
mix mayonnaise), often with hot chile. Can be
! Sea Urchin Uni Actually their gonads. Very fresh, creamy,
and 'sweet' from the Northwest US! The best
has a mild 'nutty' or custardy flavor; older
is darker and yukky.
Red-tipped HOkigai kai or -gai means shellfish
Goeduck MIrugai Also called Giant Clam. Not bad; a bit
* Red clam Akagai Rarely get 'em here; orange throughout.
Dark cockle TOrigai Dark blue on the tip.
@ Conch HOragai White, firm, usually mild flavor. Caribbean
Oyster KAki Not always available or the best. As
always, the smaller the tastier. As sushi
or on the half-shell.
* Clam hamaGUri Rarely served raw or in sushi bars
# Crab KAni Fresh snow crab as sushi, if you can find
it. Fake 'krab' is often used in rolls. Ask
if they have real crab.
# Softshell crab --- Whole New England softshell crab, deep-
fried with a dipping sauce. In season.
@ River Crabs sawaGAni Tiny little crabs, deep-fried to a beautiful
glaze, then eaten whole! Lovely.
@ Abalone aWAbi Crunchy but quite tasty. Becoming very
scarce and expensive.
@ Jellyfish kuRAge Marinated, crunchy, bland flavor
Sea Snail saZAe Steamed in the shell (yuk), sliced and
marinated (yum), or boiled in sauce (ok)
! Flying-fish TObiko Tiny bright orange eggs, loose and crunchy;
eggs wrapped in nori.. The flying fish is
tobi-uo. (Tobu is 'to fly'.)
! " with tobiTAma One quail egg on top. Tama = "ball" (quail
quail egg is "uzura")
! Smelt eggs maSAgo Tiny eggs, paler orange than tobiko and
sweeter; a garnish on many other dishes and
rolls, but masago can be ordered alone, an
alternative to tobiko.
! Salmon eggs Ikura Pea-sized, red-orange; not always very
@ Herring roe kazuNOko Yellow roe chunks, a winter specialty.
@ Herring roe kazuNOko Another specialty: kombu kelp strips
on kelp KOMbu caked with herring roe bits. Usually sushi.
Also called komochi kombu.
@ Cod roe TArako Yellowish white, in chunks.
! Spicy roe menTAIko Red paste of tiny roe with chile
*! Milt shirako Soft white fish milt (sperm).
# Freshwater eel uNAgi Broiled and topped with thick brown sauce
# Sea eel aNAgo Lighter colored and more delicate flavor
(conger) than unagi, served the same way.
#@ Eel on rice UNa-ju Broiled eel in thick dark sauce, topping a
or ANa-ju rectangular lacquered box of rice; a lunch
or dinner menu item.
Sushi roll maki-sushi A roll of rice surrounded by seaweed and
(generic) filled with various foods. Sliced into
five or six sections. (Also makiZUshi)
Tuna roll tekka maki Maguro in a roll; the name means "iron
roll". Adding mountain potato makes it
a yama-kake roll.
Cucumber roll kappa-maki Kappa is a mythical gnome who loves
Pickled radish shinko maki Bright yellow crispy pickled daikon. Takuan
or TakuAN is the name of an early priest who invented
Pickle roll tsukeMOno Various pickled vegetables.
Vegetable roll yaSAI maki Carrots, cucumber, mountain potato, burdock
Combination roll FUto-maki The only traditional Japanese fancy roll.
Omelet, sweet pink shrimp powder, vegeta-
bles, mushroom, etc.
Hand roll, te-maki A one-person cone of seaweed and rice,
(generic) rolled by hand ('te'). You can ask for
many rolls as "temaki"
Tuna and onion Negi-TOro Toro (or maguro) with green onion (negi)
Tuna and mountain Yama-kake Uses ungrated mountain potato with tuna,
potato (taro) maki nori, and green onion.
Yellowtail and Hama-NEgi Hamachi with green onion (negi)
# Eel and cucumber Ana-KYU Anago-Kyuri - Una-kyu uses unagi instead.
# Salmon skin roll sake hada Broiled skin, w/chunks of salmon too,
'Stinky bean' Nat-to maki Fermented soy beans. Smelly, stringy. I
roll like mine with sticky mountain potato.
Spicy rolls Western concoctions of chopped tuna,
scallop, or hamachi with a spicy sauce
(often mayonnaise-based), masago,
green onion and such.
Every US sushi bar invents new ones; I won't try to keep up.
# California roll Avocado, krab, cream cheese(!), etc
Geisha roll California roll with raw maguro and
hamachi (sometimes other fish) outside
# Oregon roll Smoked salmon, vegetables, etc.
# Ebi Tempura roll Tempura shrimp in a roll
Sushi tempura A sushi roll (often California), deep
Inside-out roll Any roll with flying fish eggs all over
Softshell Crab Spider Roll Deep fried softshell crab in a roll.
Tiger Eye A broiled squid body stuffed with salmon,
avocado, and various goodies. The slices
look like huge colorful eyes.
@ Broiled smelt shi-SHA-mo Several whole, 4-inch fish, full of roe.
Adventurous! These ShiSHAmo smelt are
@ Pacific Saury san-MA Sanma is a long narrow fish, salt-broiled
and served whole, usually with grated
daikon oroshi; rich flavor; some
Yellowtail cheeks HaMAchi Yellowtail stew, plenty of meat, with
no HO boiled vegetables.
* Fried flounder kaREi no Deep-fried till you can eat the bones!
Omelet (chicken taMAgo Sushi with a big slice of special omelet.
egg) Often too sweet, but the best are not.
@ 'Hodgepodge' o-DEN Hot stew with unrecognizable stuff -
konnyaku (arum root paste), lotus root,
burdock root, various kinds of fish-cake,
kelp, boiled eggs and cabbage; or some
sub-set. Oden is a drinking house snack.
VEGETABLES (etc) a la carte:
Carrot and kimPIra The two vegetables marinated, slightly
burdock root pickled, as a side-dish; usually a little
Japanese radish daikon Large long white 'Japanese' radish, often
shredded, or grated (oROshi) as a garnish
Pickles tsukeMOno The general term for any thing pickled
Pickled daikon shinko, Yellow, crunchy, served with almost any
TakuAN rice dish.
Broiled eggplant NAsu yaki With curly dried bonito flakes on top.
Pickled eggplant nasu no Purple and crunchy
Perilla leaf SHIso (or Mint's cousin, garnishes other dishes.
happa) Sometimes called 'beefsteak plant'. Try a
shiso and shinko roll; cheap, light, tasty.
Spinach hoREN-so Horenso is often pickled as a side dish
@ Fresh soy beans eda-MAme Boiled green soybeans served cold in the
pod. EdaMAme is a salty summer beer
snack. Pull the beans out of the pod with
your teeth (leave the pods).
@ Tofu, cold hiya-YAko "hi'YAko"; onion and ginger on top.
* Tofu in hot yu-DOfu YuDOfu is a Kyoto specialty.
@ Mountain san-sai Various mountain ferns and sprouts, often
vegetables marinated or pickled, sometimes with a
miso paste or bonito flakes.
@ Ferns warabi, Several kinds of edible fern sprouts
@ Wild mountain fuki Butterburr or coltsfoot sprouts, once
sprouts used in herbal medicines. Marinated.
Wild mushrooms masutake A specialty mountain mushroom, collected
in early fall in Japan and the Northwest.
@ Burdock root gobo Marinated and sliced; 'between a carrot
and a potato'
Daikon sprouts kaiWAre Tender little leaves used as a garnish.
@ Arum root paste konnyaku Very strange gray cake of pasted arum
root (or konjak); sometimes called snake
root (not exactly the same).
Pumpkin or squash kabocha Steamed, in sauce
@ Gourd shavings kampyo Dried gourd shavings, usually marinated.
Yam or sweet Imo Often baked as yaki imo; Japanese
potato street food.
Potato JAga-imo Usually boiled; niku-jaga is a
bowl of beef and potato stew.
Mountain potato yama-Imo The sticky, crunchy white taro root (used
in Hawaii to make poi). When grated into
an equally sticky paste, yamaImo
is called toROro.
Plum and mountain yama-Imo The sticky taro root, sliced, and topped
potato ume with a sweet-sour paste of pickled plum.
As a side-dish or a nice hand-roll.
@ Lotus root renkon Crunchy, with holes; steamed or
marinated. (Lotus is hasu.)
@ Bamboo shoots take-NO-ko TakeNOko is fresh only in a short season.
Salad saRAda Green salad is also called "nama yasai"