Sushi & Sashimi: The Basics 4/1: Sushi Presentations

Sushi Millefeuille at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City

Sushi does come ito many guises and shapes (and colours).
Too many people think it is only all nigiri and rolls.
Any chef worthy of his/her name will prove you otherwise!

Alright, then. What do they have to offer?

Magurozuke/Marinated tuna (Akami/lean part) Nigiri at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City


Nigiri/握り literally means “grip/grasp/press” in Japanese.
The shari/シャリ is made by scooping the right amount of sushi rice in one hand (usually the left hand9 and making a “ball” of it. Actually it is more oblong than round. Size varies with the chef and restaurant, but an experienced chef is capable to reproducing such a ball to the same exact amount of grains. They say it takes seven years to become a master at making shari!
The next step, but not always, is to smear a little wasabi on top of the rice ball and then top it with an ingredient of your choice. Finally the chef will press it around the top of the shari before depositing it on a plate (or on a bamboo leaf) or on small wooden plate in front of the customer.
In some cases the wasabi will be placed in the from of a small ball on top of the neta/ネタ (topping) as on anago/アナゴ (conger eel).
All kinds of neta/toppings can wrapped around the top. (See The Basics 3: Ingredients).

Sakura Nigiri/Horsemeat Nigiri at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City

More ingredients will be added as seasoning on top of the topping such as grated ginger and chopped leeks (see above),


pickled Japanese plum/umeboshi/梅干 as above (on op of boiled mitsuba/trefoil at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City)


grated lime zest as above (on top of pickled/marinated daikon at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City),


grated daikon and chili pepper as above (on top of aburi sanma/lightly grilled mackerel pike)


or tare/sauce as above(on top of anago/アナゴ)


A strip of dried seaweed/nori/海苔 can be used to secure the neta as with tamagoyaki/卵焼き above.


The same strip of nori can circled around a really round shari as above (thinly cut ika/烏賊/squid arranged into a tsuru/鶴/crane shape)

Boiled trefoil/Mitsuba and fresh cucmber/Kyuuri Gunkan at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City


When a wider strip of nori is wrapped around a shari to prevent the topping to fall over, it is called a gunkan/軍艦/mothership.

Umibudo/Sea Grapes Gunkan

It is also useful to emphasize the neta as above,


or it can be designed as purposefully overflowing as above (ikura/salmon roe gunkan)!


What about this tiny St-Valentine Gunkan?

For more gunkan fun go HERE!


Chirashizushi served in Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City


Chirashizusi/散らし寿司 means “decoration Sushi”.
It is very popular in homes where large quantities can prepared for the family and still designed as to please the eye.

Millefeuille sushi served in Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City

Millefeuille is anaother typ of chirashizushi! Very easy to make and so impressive! (use a baking circle!)

Home Party Te-Mari Zushi


Te-Mari Zushi/手まり寿司/Small ball-shaped sushi are very popular in Kyoto and at homes in many Japanese homes, especially on Girls’ day (March 3rd). Great for parties and easy to make!



Inari Zusi/稲荷寿司/Fried tofu pouches filled sushi rice and other ingredients are basically home-type and bento-type sushi.
Very popular with vegans and vegetarians as they can control the contents. Very healthy!

Next Article will be on Sushi Roll Presentation!

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Why may Shizuoka people be justified in assuming they eat some of the best in Japan?

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