Sushi Types: Test Your Japanese Food Knowledge

Sushi Types

Sushi is one of the popular Japanese delicacies that has swept across the world. A 2017 study showed that there are around 4000 sushi restaurants across the US. Although they look simplistic and small, do you know that skilled sushi chefs need to take up to 10 years to master a perfect nigiri sushi?

Surprising, right? 

You need a whole encyclopedia to know about the story of Japanese food. For now, we introduce four widely recognized sushi types so you can test yourself whether you know much about your favorite sushi.

4 Common Types of Sushi


Nigiri Sush

Sushi with rice at the bottom and fish on top are known as Nigiri sushi. Nigiri means ‘two fingers’, representing how sushi masters shape the sushi rice with only two fingers. 

Gunkan is a warship-shaped Nigiri sushi variation with a layer of seaweed wrapped around the body. Most Gunkan toppings are ingredients that need external support, like fish roes and corn. 

In rotation sushi bars, you will find a machine molding the rice into oval form. It is a faster process to make more sushi for the conveyor belt. On the other hand, trained sushi chefs will mold the rice by hand in high-end sushi bars in Japan.


Makizushi is a cylinder-shaped sushi roll with a layer of seaweed on the outside. You will find two types of makizushi on the menu. Futomaki, or fat roll, is the thicker variant. It has a combination of three to five ingredients within a roll. Hosomaki, or thin roll, comprises one strip of ingredient and some complementary sesame seeds in a roll. 

If you find those makizushi with the rice on the outer layer, those are known as Uramaki. This rebel roll keeps the seaweed and ingredients within the rice, and is garnished with fish roe or sesame seeds. 

The typical makizushi is created in one long tube roll before being divided into several bite-sized sushi pieces. You can find six servings of makizushi on a plate. 

Fun fact: The popular California roll is a creation from a sushi chef from Los Angeles.



Inarizushi is a type of sushi which has rice packed within an aburaage (deep-fried tofu) pouch. Other names for inarizushi are kitsune (fox) sushi and konkon sushi.

The origin of the inarizushi comes from Inari Okami, the Japanese god of prosperity and agriculture, and has many fox envoys. These foxes’ favorite food is the aburaage, so the Japanese left this ingredient as an offering to Inari Okami for a full harvest. Afterwards, people added rice into the aburaage and Inarizushi is named after the god of fertility.


A hand roll sushi with the rice and other ingredients wrapped within a cone-shaped seaweed. Temaki, or tekkamaki, is very easy to make and prepare, therefore you rarely see them in any sushi restaurants in Japan. 

One of the origin stories of temaki is from the tekkaba gambling dens. As gamblers are too devoted to their game, they would ask for this type of sushi which prevents their hand from getting sticky. 

It is impossible to enjoy temaki with a pair of chopsticks, so you have to eat the hand roll with your hands.

How to Enjoy Sushi?

Here comes the art of how you actually have your sushi eaten. 

Most people in sushi restaurants use a pair of chopsticks to enjoy sushi. The chopstick method is for people who do not wish to get their hands sticky. In fact, your clean hands are enough, 

The ideal way of eating sushi is to put the entire food into your mouth without wasting any ingredients. It is a form of respect for the sushi chef for their hard work. 

You can gently dip your sushi into soy sauce before delivering it to your mouth. For anyone who wants a stronger taste, try to add a dot of wasabi on top of your sushi. This spicy green horseradish can trigger your neurotic reaction just by the smell.

Now you are one step ahead to become a sushi connoisseur. You can visit Japan to taste other types of sushi that are rare in the United States. 
Don’t know what to eat for dinner? Check LokaEats for restaurant menus and recommendations.



Related Posts