Sushi & Sashimi: The Basics 3: Ingredients

Botan ebi/Botan Shrimp and its eggs at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City

I already have wrtitten a lot in bits and pieces on Sushi and Sashimi, including in my other blog, Shizuoka Sushi, but I felt it was time to post an article that could be used as general reference by my blogging friends.
The Basic 1: Definitions
The Basics 2: Questions & Answers

One encounters the general misconception that sushi ingredients include only fish and pre-determined seafood as neta/topping.
Fortunately, sushi offers a greater variety to please everyone, even vegetarians and vegans!

The following description is not exhaustive as possibilities are almost limitless according to avaibility, country and geography, but I hope it will help gastronomes and good food lovers to gain access to a larger scope on which they can expand at will!

Katsuo/Bonito sashimi at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City


The Japanese traditionally differentiate fish into the following kinds:

a) White-flesh fish:
Hirame/Sole, Makogarei or Ishigarei/Turbot or Halibut or Flounder, Sayori/Japanese Half Beak, Shirogisu/Sillago, Suzuki/Seabass, Kawahagi/Leatherback, Tobiuo/Flying fish, Yagara/Trumpet Fish, Houbo/Bluefin Robin, Funa/Crucian Carp, Koi/Carp, Tara-Madara/Cod
Seabreams: Tai, Madai, Ishidai, Amadai, Hanadai

b) Red-fleshed fish:
Maguro/Tuna = Kuro Maguro or Hon Maguro/Bluefin Tuna, Mebachi/Big-eyed Tuna, Kihada/Yellowfin Tuna, Minmamimaguro/Southern Seas Tuna, Binnaga/Albacore Tuna, Mekajiki/Big-eye Marlin.
Buri/Yellowtail,Kampachi/Amberjack, Katsuo/Bonito, Sanma/mackerel Pike, sawara/Spanish Mackerel, Iwashi/Sardine, Shimaaji/Stripe Horsemackerel, Tobiuo/Flying fish

c) Other fish: Unagi/eel, Anago/Conger eel, Noresore/Conger Eel Whitebait, Shirasu/Sardine whitebait, Nishin/Herring, Sake-Shake/Salmon, Benimasu/Salmon Trout

d) Fish related ingredients: Ankimo/Monkfish/Frogfish liver, Ikura/salmon Roe, Kazu no Ko/herring Roe, Tobikko/Flying Fish Roe, Uroko/Scales (deep-fried)

Shako/Mantis Shrimp


There are many indeed, and many found only around Japan:
Shiro Ebi,White Shrimp, Botan Ebi/Large Prawn, Shako/Squilla,Amaebi/Alaskan Pink Shrimp/Pink Shrimp、Kuruma Ebi/Japanese Imperial Prawn、Ise Ebi/Japanese Spiny Lobster, Sakuraebi/Cherry shrimp, Budoebi/”Grape shrimp”
Snow Crab/Zuwagani, Red King Crab/Tarabagani, Japanese Spider Crab/Takaashigani, Japanese Mitten Crab/Mokuzugani

Crustacean-related ingredients:
Ebiko: egss from mainly of Amaebi and Botan Ebi. The only blue-colour sea ingredient in sushi?
Kani Sarada: Crab salad



Shellfish are very popular raw, cooked, grilled, marinated or salted:
Abalone/Awabi, Scallops/Hotategai, Oysters/Kaki, Surf Clam/Torigai, Gaper/Mirugai, Turbo Shells/Sazae, Clam/Hamaguri, Pen Shell/Tairagi, Round Clam-Hen Clam/Bakagai, Scallops/Hotate

Ika Geso/ Squid legs


The Japanese are very fond of squids and octopus, be they raw, boiled, pickled or ciiked/grilled:
Aori Ika/Bigfin Reef Squid, Surume Ika/Japanese Common Squid-Pacific Flying Squid, Hotaru Ika/Firefly Squid-Sparkling Enope Squid, Common calamari/Yari Ika, Kensaki Ika
Madako/True Octopus, Mizudako/Shiodako/Oodako, Iidako/Komochhidako, Ishidako, Chihirodako

Hoya/Common Sea Squirt


These include some creatures relatively unknown outside Japan!
-Sea slug/beche de mer/Sea cusumber or namako in Japanese, as well as its insides/innards called konowata in Japanese
-Common Sea Squirt: Hoya/mahoya in Japanese
-Sea Urchi/Uni

Sakura/Horsemeat as served in Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City


Meat goes very well as sushi, completely raw, slightly grilled or completely cooked!
Basashi:Uma no Niku/Sakura: Horsemeat
Shika no Niku: Venison, deer meat
Gyuniku/Gyusashi: Beef
Kujira: Whalemeat

Tamagoyaki served at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City


Chicken eggs are used for tamagoyaki,japab\nese omelette wihich is cut in various shapes according to volume and trend.
Uzura Tamago/Quail eggs are often used additionally

Vegan Sushi at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City


Now, here is a really “open section”!
I might say it’s all up to you and your priorities.
I will just cite the most popular varieties encountered in Japan:
Kanpyo/gourd shavings first dried then marinated in rice vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.
Gobo/Burdock Root, Kooyaku/Devil’s Tongue tuber, Shiitake, Kyuuri/Cucumber, Mitsuba/Trefoil, Negi/Leek, Daikon, Radish, Shiso/Perilla, Natto, Tomato, Satsumaimo/Sweet potato, Kaiware daikon/Daikon shoots, Takenoko/Bamboo shoots, Myoga Ginger, Shooga/Ginger, Wasabi (chooped roots), Okra, Pimento, Nasu/Aubergine-Eg plant, Yamaimo/Glutinous Yam

To these you have to add the “sea vegetables”:
Konbu/Kaiso/Nori= Seaweed
Umibudo/Sea Grapes
Yuba/Tofu sheets


Fruit sushi has recently become popular abroad but has not caught yet in Japan!”
Foie gras (extravagant), tempura and tonkatsu may also be served as sushi!

Next article will be about Sushi Presentations!

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Elinluv Tidbit Corner

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


8 thoughts on “Sushi & Sashimi: The Basics 3: Ingredients”

  1. Apart from being very impressed with your phyletic, taxonomic knowledge, I am also very grateful for your clear, educational summary of sushi types.
    Would there be a place for jellyfish somewhere?


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