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Types Of Sushi: The Full Guide

Types Of Sushi

Table of Contents

In the United States, sushi has grown incredibly popular. Once reserved for specialty Japanese sushi restaurants, you can now find sushi in many American grocery stores. More commonly available sushi is usually a particular style – but there are many different types of sushi that you can enjoy.The core component of sushi is not fish or seafood, but the sticky, seasoned rice that accompanies it. The rice can be rolled into a style that many Americans are familiar with (maki), served with thinly sliced fish on top (nigiri), or even served in a bowl before being topped with various fillings (chirashi). No matter what type of sushi you prefer, the key is to ensure that your restaurant sources high-quality fish and other ingredients.

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What Is Sushi?

Sushi is a Japanese dish that consists of rice and typically some type of fish or seafood. This fish or seafood is often raw but may be cooked.While most people associate sushi with raw fish, rice is the most important ingredient of sushi. The dish always consists of short-grain Japanese rice typically referred to as sushi rice, this rice is a Japonica variety (more specifically, the Koshihikari cultivar).

Japonica is a medium-grained rice that tends to have a more rounded shape. It has a much higher starch content than most other types of rice, with high levels of amylopectin. This starch makes sushi rice much stickier than other varieties, which makes it ideal for molding it into sushi and picking it up to eat with chopsticks.

Sushi rice is always prepared with a specific type of vinegar, known as sushi vinegar. It is made of rice vinegar, salt, and sugar. In fact, the term “sushi” actually refers to the sour flavor of the rice prepared with vinegar.

A Guide to Different Types of Sushi

Many Americans are familiar with a few basic types of sushi, such as spicy tuna rolls or the decidedly non-traditional California roll that can be found in many grocery stores. However, there is a whole world of sushi out there – often prepared by expert chefs who spent years learning how to make the perfect rice and slice the perfect piece of fish. Below, we have prepared a guide to the various types of sushi that you might see on a menu.

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi (which may be referred to as nigirizushi) is a simple type of sushi that consists of a small mound of sushi rice topped with raw or cooked seafood. It is incredibly common in Japan, where nigiri sushi is seen as a way to showcase the perfect flavors and textures of well-prepared sushi rice and fish.Common types of nigiri include unagi nigiri (grilled freshwater eel), maguro nigiri (raw tuna), ebi nigiri (cooked shrimp that has been butterflied), tamago nigiri (omelet), sake nigiri (raw salmon) and hotate nigiri (raw fresh scallop). The fish or seafood will typically be thinly sliced and then placed delicately on top of the sushi rice.

Maki Sushi

Maki Sushi 

Maki sushi (or makizushi) is the type of sushi that many Americans are familiar with: a sushi roll. Indeed, the word maki means “to roll” in Japanese. It consists of a sheet of seaweed, known as nori, that is topped with sushi rice and filling before being rolled into thin tubes and sliced. These slices then show off the roll: nori on the outside, followed by rice and various fillings.Maki sushi could contain almost any ingredient – including the more unique combinations that some sushi restaurants in the U.S. create. There are four main types of maki sushi: (1) hosomaki is any small maki sushi with just one filling; (2) kappa maki is made with a cucumber filling; (3) tekka maki has a raw tuna filling; and (4) futomaki is a “fat roll” that has several fillings.

Uramaki Sushi

Uramaki Sushi

Uramaki sushi (also referred to as uramakizushi) is a California creation. It is an “inside out” sushi roll, with the sushi rice on the outside and the seaweed sheet (nori) and filling on the inside. This sushi is often more appealing to Americans who may be turned off by having the nori on the outside of the roll.Uramaki is very popular in the United States, while traditional maki sushi reigns supreme in Japan. Typically, the sushi is sprinkled with black sesame seeds that cling to the sushi rice. Common types of uramaki sushi include California roll (with crab, avocado, and cucumber), rainbow roll (like a California roll, with slices of colorful fish like tuna and salmon on top), dragon roll (filled with cucumber, grilled eel, and shrimp tempura, then topped with sliced avocado), and spicy tuna roll (filled with raw tuna, sriracha, and sesame oil, and topped with spicy mayonnaise).

Temaki Sushi

Temaki Sushi

Temaki sushi (or temakizushi) is a type of rolled sushi – with a twist. Rather than being rolled into a tight bundle, this sushi consists of a sheet of nori that has been rolled into a cone shape. It is then filled with sushi rice, fish, and various other fillings. Temaki sushi doesn’t have the same precision as maki sushi, but it has the same incredible flavors. It comes in many of the same varieties as maki sushi.Similarly, some restaurants serve a type of temaki sushi that is referred to as a sushi burrito (or sushirrito). Like temaki sushi, it is made with a sheet of nori and traditional fillings. However, instead of the fillings sitting in a cone-like shape, they are wrapped up like a burrito, with the nori acting like a tortilla. This is definitely not a traditional style of sushi!

Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi sushi (also referred to as chirashizushi) is a type of deconstructed sushi. In fact, its name means “scattered” in Japanese. Rather than roll up rice and fillings inside of nori, the toppings are placed on top of sushi rice in a bowl. Importantly, the toppings aren’t actually scattered, but artfully placed for a beautiful presentation.There are a few variations of chirashi sushi. Tokyo style (edomae chirashi) contains a raw seafood topping, such as salmon, squid, scallops, or tuna). Osaka style (gomoku chirashi) is made with cooked ingredients and decorative toppings such as fish roe and lotus root.



Sashimi isn’t actually a type of sushi because it doesn’t include rice. However, it is often listed alongside sushi on many restaurant menus in America, so it is important to understand what it is. Generally, sashimi consists of meat or seafood that is sliced thinly and typically served raw.Sashimi can also be cooked, such as unagi (grilled eel). Because the goal of sashimi is to highlight the quality of the fish, there are rarely other accompaniments. This also means that it is important that the restaurant purchases its seafood from trusted suppliers.

Different types of sashimi may include ahi (raw tuna), hamachi (raw yellowtail fish), uni (raw sea urchin), sake (raw salmon), tako (raw or poached octopus), unagi (cooked freshwater eel), and ebi (cooked shrimp). Whether cooked or raw, the dish is often served on a bed of sliced daikon radish with dipping sauces like soy sauce or ponzu on the side. 

Want to Serve Your Sushi To Go? Budget Branders Can Help.

Sushi isn’t just a hot new trend – its popularity shows no signs of waning. If your restaurant or food truck serves any type of sushi to go, then you will need disposable products. Using custom-branded products is an easy way to ensure that you get the most bang for your advertising bucks.Based in Michigan, Budget Branders works with independently owned and operated food service businesses across the United States. We offer the highest quality disposable products, such as custom plastic cups, custom ice cream bowls, custom coffee cups, custom coffee sleeves, custom plastic stadium cups, custom ripple cups, custom soup bowls, and custom sandwich bags. Each of our products is fairly priced and sold in smaller quantities to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses. 

If you’re considering using branded disposable products in your restaurant, we are happy to help. To learn more or to request a quote, contact us today by pressing the live chat button, or sending us a message online.

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