Cucumber Maki Sushi
For some people, heaven is a Kobe steak; for others, it’s exquisite sushi like this tuna tataki (the equivalent of tartare) with ikura (salmon roe), wasabi-flavored tobiko (capelin roe) and nori flakes (seaweed). Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.





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July 2007
Last Updated January 2017

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

Types Of Sushi With Pictures

Page 5: Kappa Maki, Maki Sushi & Other Terms With K, L & M


We love to peruse the different types of sushi with pictures. If you enjoy this Sushi Glossary, we have a food glossary for almost every category of food. Check out the Seafood Glossary, too.

Click on a letter to go to the appropriate glossary section.

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Kabayaki tare, or eel sauce, is a thick, savory sauce brushed onto eel sushi. It is made of soy sauce, syrup, eel extract and mirin (some products include sugar, but this is not a traditional Japanese ingredient). It is often heated prior to serving. Kabayaki tare also can be served with other sushi and non-sushi foods.

Eye of scallop, the valve muscle.


In this creative nigiri sushi, eel, shrimp and avocado are wrapped in seaweed and drizzled with eel sauce. Photo courtesy

Daikon radish sprouts. They can be made into a vegetarian roll.

Eye of scallop, the valve muscle.




Oysters With Sea Urchin

It doesn’t get better than oysters topped with uni, sea urchin. Photo courtesy Sushi Seki.

A conveyor-belt sushi restaurant. Plates of food are placed on a conveyor belt which travels around a long, oval-shaped sushi bar. Newer-style kaiten restaurants (such as New York’s Sakae Sushi) have booth-style seating, so that groups can dine and converse facing each other; the conveyor belt is a long, narrow track with booths on either side (think of a model train track making a long loop with just a few inches between the tracks). Consumers help themselves to whatever looks appealing; or can order from the sushi chef (in the booth system, there are waiters and tableside computer-ordering as well). Plates are color-coded by price, and include not just sushi but salads, soup, udon (noodles) and other hot dishes.

Kaiten Sushi

Plates of food circulate around on a conveyor belt at a Sakae Sushi restaurant.

Styles of nigiri that use the seaweed as a wrap to hold less solid ingredients. Examples include gunkan maki, the “battleship roll” shape that is used to hold semi-liquid ingredients like quail egg, and funamori or “boat wrap” (the terms are virtually identical).


Fish cake, made from pounded whitefish mixed with cornstarch, formed into a oval sausage shape, seasoned and cooked.


Seaweed wrap (gunkan maki) around seaweed salad. Photo courtesy Beyond Sushi.

A popular vegetarian sushi, long, dried gourd strips the width of fettuccine, marinated in a sweet sauce. Also an ingredient in futomaki. Before the gourd is prepared, it is a light tan color; after marinating, it becomes a translucent brown.

Unlike California Roll, Spider Roll and other American inventions which have a set definition, Kamikazi Roll is made from whatever ingredients the restaurant chooses to use. At Amber in New York City, it is crunchy spicy tuna with seaweed. served inside out. At Godzilla Sushi in San Francisco, it is made with yellow tail. At Escar-Go-Go in Montreal, it

Kampyo is a dried gourd in a sweet sauce. Photo courtesy

ss tuna, crab stick, tempura, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayonnaise. And so on.

Authentic crab meat, always served cooked (though often cooked and then frozen—ask the sushi chef). If you can get real, fresh crab, it is worth the price.

Real king crab. Photo courtesy Phillips Seafood.

Imitation crabmeat, also called sea leg. It is usually made from pollack or other inexpensive whitefish (hake, tilapia) that has been ground, combined into a paste with starch, egg white, salt, vegetable oil, sugar and seasonings, and formed, artificially colored and flavored to resemble a more expensive seafood—lobster, shrimp, crab, etc. This type of imitation seafood is known categorically as surimi. Kanikama is primarily used in California rolls, although it also can be served in a salad. Imitation crab does not taste like the real thing—it is just an approximation, as a veggie burger approximates a beef burger.


Kampyo is a dried gourd in a sweet sauce. Photo courtesy

Very young yellowtail. Read our review of Kona Kampachi.


Cucumber roll. The word for cucumber is kyuri; Kappa is a water goblin in Japanese mythology who was very fond of cucumbers, which he stole from the fields near his riverbank home. He is always pictured with a saucer on his head that looks like a cucumber slice. According to myth, the saucer must always be kept full of water or Kappa loses his goblin powers.


  Kappa Maki - Sushi
Photo of kappa maki, at left, by Quayside | IST.

Flounder or flatfish.

Bonito, a type of tuna related to the skipjack. Bonito is the English word, katsuo the Japanese word. See bonito.

Bonito flakes, a seasoning made of dried bonito.

Herring roe. Although sometimes served raw (kazunoko konbu), it is usually served marinated in broth, saké and shoyu for added flavor.


Bonito flakes. Photo courtesy

Gold eye sea bream, more rare than regular sea bream, tai.

Bay scallops.

Gizzard shad, known for its shimmering silver skin. See a photo.

Saltwater carp.

Bay scallops are served as sashimi in a cucumber cup or scallop shell, or in a gunkan-maki. Photo courtesy I Love Blue Sea.

One of the key ingredients in Japanese cuisine (it is one of three ingredients needed to make dashi, the basic Japanese soup stock), it is also eaten fresh as sashimi. (Photo at right.) Kombu mainly is cultivated in the cold current, and grows from 7 to 20 meters in two years. Most kombu is harvested in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan. There are numerous varieties. Kombu (kelp) and wakame (seaweed) are similar in how they look, but they are quite different. Wakame grows in warm current,s Kombu naturally contains glutamic acid (a component of MSG), which is used to make food more tasty. First year and second year kombu are quite different in their thickness and nutritive value, and this reflects directly in the price; the difference is obvious when you make the dashi-soup with it.

Kombu is kelp. Photo courtesy

Kombu will drop off the stalk after its first year, and a new and superior second year kombu grows on the stump. The most superior kombu is more than 5 times the cost of the cheapest variety.




Black sesame seeds.


Live shrimp sushi or sashimi are a delicacy in Japan. The shrimp are swallowed alive, the shrimp taken from an aquarium, peeled and immediately handed to the customer in sushi or sashimi for for consumption. The shrimp do squirm as they are chewed (or swallowed, by the more squeamish tourists), which is part of the excitement. See also ikizukuri. In Thailand, live shrimp are eaten in a dish called “dancing shrimp.”



Red snapper nigiri sushi. Photo courtesy

See saba.

Sea bream, a white fish which has red stripes in the translucent, white flesh and is often mistaken by newbies for fluke, which has random splotches of red (but not stripes) in translucent, white flesh.

Red, beefy maguro, along with ahi the leading varieties of sushi tuna, is America’s most popular raw fish. Regular maguro is the leaner part of the tuna, from the sides and back of the fish (toro, the belly, is the fatty “delicacy” portion). With thick, firm flesh, it is one of the most flavorful of raw fish. Different species of maguro run at different times of the year: blue fin tuna (hon-maguro) from September to March, big eye tuna (mebachi maguro) after April. The albacore tuna (shiro-maguro or white tuna) is not considered as choice as these two, or the ahi tuna or yellowfin tuna. Lean tuna cut from the back of the fish is called akami. Spicy tuna rolls are an Americanization.


Maguro, the “sirloin” or tuna. Photo courtesy

Maki is the Japanese word for “roll,” or rolled sushi. While nigiri-sushi is a relatively recent development, maki sushi originated with Buddhist monks in the 13th century. Maki sushi wraps a sheet of toasted seaweed (nori) and a layer of rice around a different fish, vegetable or other fillings (sometimes, cucumber, egg crêpe or tofu is used as the wrapper). Su-maki is a regular roll, futo-maki is a large roll and te-maki is a hand roll. While some maki have special names, you can order anything in a roll by naming it and adding the word maki (saba-maki, uni-maki, hamachi-maki, etc.) and your wishes will be understood.

The bamboo mat used to roll sushi.


Cucumber Maki Sushi

Maki with a cucumber wrap instead of seaweed. Photo, at right, by Vasko Miokovic | IST.

Smelt or capelin roe. Capelin roe is similar to tobiko but slightly more orange in color.

Trout. Rainbow trout is nijimasu.

Young tuna.

Spicy, marinated cod roe.

Sweet rice wine. Mirin is used for cooking, and a small amount is added to sushi rice along, with the vinegar.



Masago sashimi, on a shiso leaf. Photo courtesy Catalina Offshore Products.

A giant, long-necked clam or horseneck clam, also known as geoduck. It is slightly crunchy and sweet, and is harvested in the Pacific northwest. The neck meat has a deliciously mild flavor with the crisp, crunchy texture of cucumber. The body meat is tender and has a balanced shellfish flavor. Geoduck can be served as sushi, sashimi or ceviche; the body can also be sautéed or steamed. One whole, cleaned geoduck averages 1.5 to 2 pounds.

Live mirugai, or geoduck is available in season from

Often offered as a precursor to a sushi or sashimi meal. A traditional Japanese soup consisting of dashi (stock made from kelp and katsuo-bushi) mixed with miso (soybean) paste. Other ingredients are added depending on regional and seasonal recipes; the soup is often served in the U.S. with bits of green onion and cubes of tofu or strips of aburage.

Miso soup. Photo courtesy Wikimedia.

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