Sushi can be found in endless varieties in restaurants and shops in Japan and throughout the world – it is an incredibly diverse and adaptable cuisine.
The most common type of sushi to be found today, and generally the most expensive, is nigirizushi. This is sushi where a topping, generally raw or cooked fish or shellfish, is placed on a finger of vinegared sushi rice smeared with wasabi paste.
Another popular variety, this term refers to rolled sushi, where a filling of fish or vegetables is enclosed by vinegared sushi rice, and wrapped in toasted nori seaweed. Main varieties include the thin hosomaki, the thicker futomaki, and the California roll, where the nori is on the inside, and rice on the outside.
This term translates directly as ‘battleship roll’, and refers to sushi where a finger of vinegared sushi rice is surrounded by a strip of nori, so that toppings, generally fish roe, can be placed on top without falling off. The end result is said to resemble a battleship.
This is ‘hand-rolled’ sushi, and is a popular choice for dinner parties, as guests can make their own. A small amount of vinegared sushi rice is spread on a square of nori, fillings placed on top, and the whole thing rolled into a cone shape.
Literally meaning ‘scattered sushi’, this differs from the other main kinds of sushi in that it is served in a bowl, with the vinegared sushi rice being topped with an assortment of toppings, most typically raw fish.
Vinegared sushi rice is served in a pocket of abura-age, or sweetened, deep-fried tofu. Inari is the fox god of the Japanese indigenous Shinto religion, and because foxes are traditionally believed to like abura-age, he lends his name to this sushi.