Vocab and Jargon

Among Sushi Glossary (sushi terms, sushi vocabulary, sushi jargon), there is a word called “Fucho” which is unfamiliar even to Japanese. It would be cool if you knew, but it wouldn’t be embarrassing even if you didn’t. However, these terms are used between pros. It seems senseless if customers use them and sushi chefs might find it off-putting. In order to avoid this type of situation, We have make a collection of terms, their meanings, and origins.

 

Aburi(炙り)

To bring out the deliciousness by searing the skin and melting the fat. Used on a type of fish with fat between its skin and meat.

 

Agari(アガリ)

A Japanese sushibar term for green tea. A term for green tea at a Japanese sushi bar, which helps freshen the mouth by washing away any fatty taste.

 

Akazu(赤酢)

Red vinegar made from sake lees, characterized by a strong flavor, slight sweetness and its reddish color.

 

Akami(赤身)

Lean tuna, cut from the back of the fish. See also Maguro.

 

Aniki(兄貴)

Things that are older. Food ingredients that need to be used earlier. The opposite of this word is “Otouto”.

 

Astaxanthin(アスタキサンチン)

A red-colored component found in organisms such as salmon, shrimp, and crab. It has been drawing an attention for having an excellent anti oxidative effect and oxidation prevention.

 

Bachimono(バチもの)

Wasabi (Japanese horseradish) other than the ones from Izu Amagi, which is called “Honbamono“.

 

Battera(バッテラ)

Kansai’s famous mackerel oshi-zushi (pressed sushi). 

 

Donshari(ドンシャリ)

Regular rice that is not vinegared.

 

Dress(ドレス)

Fish, whose head and internal organs have been removed.

 

Edomae(江戸前)

Edomae means sushi using fish from the sea that lies before the Edo town. Although the fishes caught only in Tokyo Bay are not enough to feed numerous sushi lovers. The excellent work of Edomae sushi chef in which the ingredients are vinegared or seasoned with soy sauce after salted, a common method for longer preservation.

 

Furijio(振り塩)

To sprinkle salt lightly all over an ingredient. Causing an effect of making it salted, extracting moisture, and tightening its texture.

 

Garage(ガレージ)

It means Squilla. The Japanese word for Squilla is “shako,” which is a homonym for the Japanese word for “Garage”, giving birth to this slang term.

 

Gari(ガリ)

A sushi-bar term for pickled ginger. Pickled ginger that helps cleanse the palate after eating fatty sushi like Ohtoro.

 

Geso(ゲソ)

Squid legs.

 

Geta(ゲタ)

Wooden sushi plate

 

Gezakana(下魚)

Relatively low-cost sushi ingredients, such as gizzard shad and horse mackerel. Bluefin tuna used to be also called gezakana in the Edo period, for losing its freshness easily.

 

Gunkanmaki(軍艦巻き)

Sushi made by wrapping dried seaweed around vinegared rice, topped with salmon roe and sea urchin which is easy to crumble on top.

 

Gyoku(ギョク)

Egg omelet

 

Haneru(はねる)

To throw away a part of something or the whole thing that cannot be used for ingredients.

 

Haran(葉蘭):Baran(馬蘭)

Plant leaves used as dividers and decorations when sushi is served. Mostly bamboo leaves in the Kanto region.

 

Hashiri(走り)

Referring to when fish have just started to come on the market and they are highly sought after even though they are still not mature in flavor.

 

Hikarimono(光り物 )

Fish sliced for serving with the silver fish skin left on. Typical of Iwashi, Aji, Sayori, Sanma, Kohada

 

Himo(ヒモ)

Mantle of shell

 

Ikejime(活け締め)

A process of cutting the medulla oblongata off of live fish, removing the nerves and draining the blood.

 

Inrouzume(印籠詰め)

A small boiled squid stuffed with sushi rice, Kanpyou, chopped Shiitake mushrooms, Oboro, and etc.

 

Irizake(煎り酒)

A traditional Japanese seasoning made by boiling down Japanese sake with pickled plums etc.

 

Jigamigata(地紙型)

A shape that curves down on each side, like the edges of the paper of a folding fan. This is the ideal shape of nigiri-zushi when viewed from the side.

 

Jukusei(熟成)

Maturing. By preserving fish in refrigerator with adequate water content and temperature, the umami taste will be condensed. The maturing period is usually a couple of days, sometimes it lasts for weeks.

 

Kan(貫)

A unit for counting sushi

 

Katamiduke(片身付け)

Using one side of a fish’s body to make sushi.

 

Kataomoi(片想い)

One-sided love:Abalone, for having a shell on only one side of its body.

 

Kazari boucho(飾り包丁)

Small cuts onto the ingredients in order to make it look beautiful.

 

Kazu no Fucho(数の符丁)

When amateur sushi customers hear the practice of, “Kazu no Fucho,” when paying the bill, they get uneasy. Perhaps you’ve been in this situation. It’s not used very often today, but let’s break it down for reference. 1 is “pin,” 2 is “nonoji,” (or “ryan”), 3 is “geta,” 4 is “dari,” 5 is “menoji,” etc.

 

Kakushi boucho(隠し包丁)

Make slits onto the firm ingredients in order to make it easier to bite.

 

Kappa(かっぱ)

It means Cucumber. There are a few theories as to where the name for the Kappa roll came about. Some say it’s because the legendary “Kappa” creature’s favorite food is cucumber while other’s say it’s because the appearance of the sushi resembles the head of the Kappa. 

 

Kiritsuke(切りつけ)

To cut fish for sushi topping shapes after slicing into three fillets and taking off skin, bones and such.

 

Kizu(木津)Dried gourd shavings.

 

Kobujime(昆布締め)

The fish ingredients marinated between sheets of kelp and then let sit overnight in the refrigerator.

 

Konawasabi(粉わさび)

Powdered horseradish (a.k.a. wasabi daikon), which is reasonable but has a weak flavor.

 

Kusa(クサ):Nori(のり)

Purple layer seaweed pressed into thin sheets. It is essential for sushi roll and Gunkanmaki. High-quality one is flavorful, shiny, and has a smooth texture.

 

Makiosame(巻きおさめ)

To eat norimaki at the end of a course of nigiri sushi. This action indicates that “this sushi is going to be the last one to eat.”

 

Makisu(巻きす)

This is the tool used to wrap nori rolls. It’s also called “sudare.” 

 

Maruzuke(丸づけ)

Making sushi with one whole fish.

 

Meji(メジ)

Young bluefin tuna (Maguro) which weighs about 10 to 20kg.

 

Mugiwaradai(麦わら鯛)

Red seabream (Tai) caught during the time of the barley harvest (early summer) is skinny after laying eggs and doesn’t taste good.

 

Murasaki(ムラサキ)

Sushi bar term for soy sauce.

 

Nakaochi(中落ち)

The middle bone part when fish is cut into three fillets. Or the meat attached to this part. Used especially for tuna, becoming ingredients for tekkamaki, negi toro and etc.

 

Namida (ナミダ):Sabi(サビ)

Wasabi has a pungent taste which removes fishy smell from the ingredient, thus the fish becomes tastier many times as much.

 

Namida maki(ナミダ巻き)

Vinegared rice and thin strips of Wasabi rolled in seaweed

 

Nagori(名残り)

Fish have already passed their peak condition, which the Japanese start to miss in the late season

 

Neta (ネタ):Tane(タネ):Sushidane(寿司ダネ)

Sushi bar term for the fish topping in nigiri sushi. These days the general population also uses this term, but “Tane” is a code word coming from switching the syllables of “Neta” which is the Japanese word for sushi topping. In the past the terms “Tane” and “Sushi-dane” were used. 

 

Nigemono(逃げ物)

Low-cost sushi ingredients.

 

Nikiri (煮きり):NikiriShouyu(煮きり醤油)

Nikiri is a short form of nikiri shouyu in which an alcohol-evaporated Mirin, Sake, Soy sauce and Dashi broth are added together.

 

Nimono(煮物)

Simmered or boiled foods

 

Oaiso(オアイソ)

To get a check and make a payment by customers at a sushi restaurant and elsewhere. This stems from modesty on the part of the restaurant and is an abbreviated form of, “We are sorry to trouble you by being so inhospitable as to mention payment after you went out of your way to come here.” If the customer says it, it means, “I want to get out of this inhospitable restaurant as soon as possible so get me the bill now,” so you need to be careful.

 

Obitsuke(帯び付け):Noriobi(海苔帯)

To bind toppings to sushi rice, such as white fish and egg, with seaweed like a belt (obi) for a kimono.

 

Oboro(おぼろ)

Usually, salt, sugar and Mirin are added to mashed shrimp meat, and then roasted in a pan until they are smaller flakes.

 

Odori(オドリ)

Serving sushi made with live seafood such as prawns.

 

Okimari(お決まり)

The price and menu content are easily understood when ordering “Okimari”. The rank of “Tokujou”, “Jou”, “Nami” are often used. Order additional sushi as you like for a more fulfilling experience.

 

Okonomi(お好み)

A way customers choose and order sushi they want to eat. If you clearly know what you like and want to enjoy eating at your own pace, ordering “Okonomi” your choice of sushi, would be best.

 

Omakase(おまかせ)

Leaving the topping selection to the sushi chef and eating what they recommend.

 

Owan(お椀)

This is a general term for miso soup or a clear soup called “suimono.”

 

Otachi(お立ち)

To have a seat at the counter and eat by ordering okonomi.

 

Otemoto(お手元)

Chopsticks

 

Oteshou(お小皿)

A small dish for soy sauce

 

Otouto(弟)

Food ingredients that are used later.

 

Sagaya(さがや)

Oboro

 

Sakari(さかり)

Sakari season is before the fish spawn and they feed actively, acquiring a high fat content

 

Sakuradai(桜鯛)

While cherry blossoms are in bloom, Red seabream (Tai) comes into season and increases its deliciousness.

 

Sakudori(サク取り)

To fillet fish and cut into blocks (saku) in each part. (Toro, red flesh and etc. in tuna, for instance.)

 

Shari(シャリ):Sumeshi(酢飯)

Cooked rice mixed with sweet sushi-vinegar in which sugar and salt are added. In sushi term it is called “Shari”.

 

Shirozu(白酢):Komezu(米酢)

White vinegar made from rice, characterized by smooth and refreshing sour taste.

 

Sotoko(外子)

Eggs of shrimps and crabs, folded and protected in their parents’ legs after being laid.

 

Shigoto(仕事)

Refer to carrying out an extra preparatory step for edomaezushi toppings, such as brushing with Nitsume, or steeping fish in vinegar.

 

Sukeroku(助六)

A set of inari-zushi and maki-zushi.

 

Tachi(立ち)

Long ago the sushi chefs sat down to make sushi in both indoor and outdoor shops. Before long, the outdoor food stand form was brought indoors and it was after that when sushi started to be made standing up and that work was called, “Tachi” or standing work. Then, the customers seated at the counter in front of the sushi chef started to be called, “Tachi.”

 

Tatejio(立て塩)

Salt water which is around 3 percent salt about the same as seawater, usually used for preparing thin body fish and seafood before cooking. Soak fish in tate jio and make it salted evenly because sprinkling salt can make it too salty for thin body fish by furi jio.

 

Teppoumaki(鉄砲巻き)

This is the word for Kanpyo-maki. It looks like a gun, which is called “Teppo” in Japanese. Also, when you eat it, it’s like getting shot with a bullet of spicy wasabi, which is another reason for the name.

 

Tezu(手酢)

Vinegar that is put on fingertips of sushi chefs when they make sushi, to prevent sushi rice from sticking to their fingers.

 

Tsume(ツメ):Nitsume(煮ツメ):

Short form of Nitsume. Soy sauce, Mirin and sake are added to the soup in which Anago eel was boiled, and then boiled down until it gets thick sweet.

 

Tukeba(つけ場)

Sushi isn’t “made,” it’s marinated or “tsukeru.” There was a lot of work that involved marinating in soy sauce and vinegar, so the kitchen was called the “tsukeba,” which means the marinating spot.

 

Tukedai(つけ台)

This is the board that sushi is placed on at the counter. These days the sushi is generally served on a plate or Haran and there are very few restaurants that place sushi directly on the Tukedai.

 

Tuma(ツマ)

Daikon radish which is thinly peeled and shredded.

 

Uramaki(裏巻き)

A rolling technic of putting sushi rice on the outside, and seaweed on the inside.

 

Uchiko(内子)

Eggs inside of shells before being laid, such as shrimps and crabs.

 

Yakishimo(焼霜)

A cooking method of grilling fish fillet with a little bit of skin left, over high heat for a short time and cooling it down. Its purpose is transferring the roasted skin fat into the meat. Used mainly for fish with thick and hard skin, like Mackerel (Saba) and Chicken grunt (Isaki).

 

Yama(ヤマ)

Bamboo leaves used for a decoration. Called yama (mountain) because they are gathered only on mountains.

 

Yuburi(湯振り)

A process to cook just on the surface such as meat and fish,which is dipped in boiling water and shaken quickly.

 

Zuke(ヅケ)

Seasoning method of fish such as Maguro tuna in dashi joyu, which was developed in the late Edo period in order to preserve fish longer.

 

Summary

So what did you think? Knowing these terms may help you enjoy your meal at a sushi restaurant even more and if you can catch what they’re saying, then you might feel more sophisticated. But now that you know the code, make sure you don’t accidentally say things like, “Agari kudasai,” or “Murasaki kudasai,” or “Oaiso kudasai.”