Did you know that there are different types of sushi? Here are some of the variations of sushi in detail. Seeing their different sides could make you fall in love with sushi all over again.
This is the most popular kind of sushi. It has seafood on top of vinegar rice usually with wasabi paste. A slice of seasonal seafood is commonly used as sushi-tane (a main ingredient on top of rice, also called tane or neta). Nigirizushi was invented in the Bunsei period of the Edo era (1818 to 1830). Originally, its size was two to four times larger, and it was enjoyed as a snack instead of a meal. The ingredients for sushi in this period were pickled in vinegar and processed for preservation. With the invention of the ice-maker, ingredients became safe to use raw, and evolved into the style of nigirizushi known today.
Gunkanmaki has sushi-tane on top of vinegared rice wrapped in seaweed. By wrapping seaweed around the rice, a bowl-like space is created to hold ingredients that otherwise fall apart easily, like salmon roe, sea urchin, and flying fish roe. It is said that gunkanmaki was established in 1941 by Kyube, a sushi restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. In recent times we have begun to see some conveyor belt sushi restaurants pop up that offer rare sushi-tane like meatloaf.
Makizushi (Futomaki, Chumaki, Hosomaki)
Makizushi was first created between 1750 and 1776, in the mid-Edo era, and was popularized by around 1783. It is a rolled sushi made by spreading rice on seaweed, laying ingredients on top, and rolling with a tool called makisu. Types of makizushi are classified differently depending on their thicknesses: futomaki is the biggest, chumaki is medium sized, and hosomaki is the smallest. There are more ingredients contained in the thicker varieties of makizushi. Kazari makizushi is a type of rolled sushi with an illustration on the surface, made by carefully layering the ingredients. The California roll, which was established on the American west coast is also a type of makizushi, and is well-known for having been re-imported to Japan.
Rolled sushi made without makisu is called temakizushi (hand-rolled sushi), and is popular as home-made sushi. If you have prepared the seaweed, various sushi-tane, and vinegared rice, the rest is easy. Simply spread the rice on the seaweed, choose your favorite sushi-tane, and roll it up to enjoy.
Inarizushi was established around the end of the Edo era (1603 - 1868). It is also called oinarisan. This sushi has vinegar rice (sometimes also with carrots and shiitake mushroom) stuffed inside pouch-shaped deep fried tofu that has been broiled in a sweet or spicy-sweet mixture of soy sauce and sugar.
This is a type of sushi made by pressing vinegar rice and sushi-tane into a box. Famous oshizushi include saba no bo-zushi (pressed sushi shaped like a mackerel rod) of Kyoto, and masu-zushi (trout sushi) of Toyama. After being shaped in a box, oshizushi is cut into a few pieces. Oshizushi is more easily preserved, so it is suitable as a take-out meal. Vinegar was first produced in the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573 - 1603) and it is said that oshizushi was established in a similar period.
Kakinohazushi was first founded in the Edo era (1603 to 1868). This is a bite-size pressed sushi wrapped in a persimmon leaf with mackerel and salmon sushi-tane similar to oshizushi. The persimmon leaf has an antiseptic effect, thus improving the preservative quality. The leaf should be removed before eating.
Chirashizushi was first established circa 1664. Its name comes from the Japanese word ‘chirasu’, which means ‘to sprinkle’, as this sushi has scattered sushi-tane on vinegared rice. There are various types of chirashizushi like nama-chirashi, which has large pieces of seafood arranged nicely, bara-chirashi, which has small cut pieces of sushi-tane scattered on vinegared rice, and gomoku-chirashi, which has vinegared rice mixed with ingredients and egg omelet cut into strings.
Narezushi (Funazushi, Heshiko, Kaburazushi)
Narezushi is a fish fermented in salt and rice. As this is a lactic acid fermentation, it creates a sour taste. Narezushi is the original form of sushi, and it was established in the mid-Heian era (794 to 1185). Today it is served as local cuisine which uses seafood like trout, gibel, and abalone. As vinegar became more accessible in the Edo era, narezushi became less popular as fermentation was no longer required.
As you can see, there are many types of sushi in Japan. Please try each type and explore for yourself when you have the chance.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.