Sushi Glossary


Maki rolls have nori seaweed on the outside and rice and the filling on the inside. These rolls come in 3 different size:

shutterstock_105219950 Hosomaki

Smallest maki roll, these bite size pieces are usually the smallest piece of sushi in a pack


Medium maki roll, these are the same size as California Rolls and are popularly filled with a protein plus a vegetable


These are the largest, thickest rolls that are often seen as whole ‘hand rolls’ rather than being cut.



A block of vinegared sushi rice with a topping such as prawn, fish, or vegetable. These are the iconic pieces that make sushi instantly recognisable.


shutterstock_153917555California Roll

A California roll is an ‘inside out’ version of a maki roll, with rice on the outside and nori seaweed on the inside. It is traditionally made up of avocado, cucumber and surimi with sesame seeds coating the outside rice. These types of  rolls have taken on the name California Rolls although they may have different fillings to the traditional roll invented in USA.

shutterstock_40644208 (2)Gunkan

This is named after the Japanese for warship or battleship. It is a nigiri sized block of vinegared rice, wrapped in a securing strip such as nori seaweed or cucumber. A topping is then put on top of the rice and the strip holds the topping in place. This is a very artistic and creative way of presenting sushi and is often decorated with flowers and vegetables.


The direct translation for tamago in english is egg, but in sushi termonology tamago refers to a sweet egg omelette which is often used on nigiri blocks.


This is the black wrapping outside maki rolls and gunkans. It is an edible seaweed that is dried and is often seasoned.


In Japanese, ebi directly translates to shrimp. In sushi terminology, an ebi or a king prawn is used to top a nigiri block of rice – it is one of the most iconic and recognisable sushi pieces.


Gari is the Japanese name for the sweet pickled ginger that is served as an accompaniment to sushi . It is often used to cleanse the palate between sushi pieces.


Similar to horseradish, wasabi is a strong and spicy tasting plant which is used in Japanese cooking. In sushi, wasabi is usually made into a paste and eaten with fish to aid digestion