Sushi is one of my all-time favorite foods and when I backpacked through Osaka, Kobe, Nara, and Tokyo I truly indulged in this Japanese specialty everyday. The bite-sized delights are an art form, and you can find the freshest and highest quality of fish at Tsukiji Market, the largest seafood market in central Tokyo.

Japanese chefs are trained to slice and roll the delicate raw fish in a variety of ways for an exquisite display and remarkable dining experience. For anyone who is a little intimidated to make sushi and/or order it, don’t worry you’re not alone.

Here are a few terms/links next time you’re stuck skimming over the sushi menu:

Maki rolls are probably the most favored in sushi restaurants. An assortment of vegetables, raw fish or tofu along with rice is held together by various seaweed pieces, nori. Hosomaki are thin sushi rolls and futomaki are thick sushi rolls. The California roll, crunchy shrimp, and spicy tuna are my chosen maki staples. I’ve decided to get a bamboo-rolling mat and attempt making hand-rolled sushi rolls at home. It should be a debacle, but I’m up for a challenge.


Nigiri sushi is thinly sliced raw fish layered on top of a small, oval-shaped clump of sushi rice. For this type of sushi the highest quality of fresh fish is a necessity. I enjoy octopus, salmon, or tuna nigiri dipped in soy sauce and seasoned with a touch of wasabi. Yum!

Sashimi is very simple and elegant single slices of raw fish. Yellowtail and tuna are quite common, and they have a soft fish taste.

What are some of your favorite sushi selections or tips on preparing sushi?