Sushi Definitions For Foreigners

Definitions:

Neta –> The commonly used term for sushi toppings, such as seafood ingredients. The salmon that sits on top of your nigiri? Yep, that’s neta! 

Shari –> Sushi rice is called “shari”. It’s commonly flavored with vinegar, sugar, and salt. Shari plays a very crucial role in the flavors of sushi and shouldn’t be overlooked!

Murasaki –> Murasaki” is the Japanese word for the color purple, but in the sushi world, it’s the term used for soy sauce. It’s said that during the Edo period (1603-1868), soy sauce was referred to as murasaki because of its purple color. It was also believed that, as soy sauce was regarded as a luxury ingredient in olden days, it was dubbed “murasaki” due to the view of purple as a symbol of wealth in Japan.

Sabi, Namida –> Other ways to say wasabi. “Namida” means “tears”, and it was named this because it can cause one’s eyes to start watering after eating a bit too much of it at one time or getting a huge whiff of its sharp, distinct smell.

Nigiri –> is what most people think of when it comes to sushi – sushi rice seasoned with sugar, vinegar, and salt, then topped with items like seafood or egg. 

Gunkan –> is a type of sushi in which a strip of seaweed is wrapped around the rice to form a “boat” shape then topped with a neta. The name “gunkan” (or “battleship”) comes from its boat-like appearance.

Zuke –> “Zuke” is derived from the words “tsukemono” (Japanese pickles) or “shoyuzuke” (soy sauce marinade), a preparation method that was born in olden times with the aim of preserving food for long periods of time.

Gyoku –> Gyoku is another way to read the first character of the kanji characters for tamago (egg). Sushi topped with tamagoyaki (Japanese egg omelet) is one of the standard choices for sushi. It’s even said that you can determine the skills of a sushi restaurant’s chefs by the quality of their tamagoyaki.

Gari –> If you ever go to a sushi restaurant, you’ll almost certainly see these thin slices of pickled ginger, which are called “gari”. They have a slight sweetness with a little kick of spice, which has the effect of washing away any residual flavors from fatty fish so that you can taste your next bite of sushi with a clean slate.

Omakase –> You’ve probably experienced difficulties deciding what to order at a sushi restaurant. With the omakase, you’ll not only be rid of the burden of poring over the menu, but you’ll also be served all the sushi chef’s top neta recommendations! The sushi is served one at a time to ensure they are enjoyed at their peak state of deliciousness, and it often features seasonal ingredients and seafood stocked fresh daily.

Agari –> The hot green tea served at sushi restaurants at the end of the meal. The word “agari” includes the meaning of “the last item”. The type of tea served differs by sushi restaurant, but Japanese green tea and bancha (coarse green tea) are the most common. You’ll feel nice and relaxed after wrapping up your delicious meal of sushi with a cup of hot green tea.

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