Passion for Asia, Gastronomy

Sushi 101: the different types of sushi

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What’s a nigiri-sushi ? Sashimi, have you ever heard of that ? It’s not always easy to tell the difference…we know.

But don’t panic ! MITO to the rescue !

To help you see more clearly, here’s our Sushi 101 guide to all the different types of sushi.

What are the primary types of sushi ?


Maki’s are – like their name in Japanese indicates – ‘sushi rolls’. They are built with a roll of toasted seaweed and vinegar infused Calrose sushi rice . You will also find different types of vegetables and other ingredients like fresh cheese, fish and even eggs.

The ingredients in a maki aren’t set in stone and many different variations exist. With fish or without, with white cheese or without, with avocados or without…everything is possible. In this way, it’s very easy to find vegetarian or fish options.


In Japanese, ‘futomaki’ signifies ‘large maki’. This is exactly what a futomaki is, a large maki.

Futomakis are maki-sushi’s with a diameter of 5 to 6 centimeters. They are toasted seaweed sheets rolled with different ingredients on the inside. Generally, we find – other than the rice and vinegar – cucumbers, sweet red peppers, carrots, avocado, fresh fish and sometimes cooked eggs.

Different types of futomaki’s exist. As you might know, an extremely popular type of futomaki is the ‘California roll’ that contains cucumber, crab, avocado as well as the usual toasted seaweed and rice, all sprinkled with sesame seeds. MITO is proud to offer you a revisited version of this classic with a touch of masago and egg omelette.


Hosomaki’s are like the little brother of maki-sushi.

With a less wide diameter (around 2-3 centimeters), they are the smallest of the maki-sushi. That is why their name, to the contrary of futomaki, means ‘thin roll’.

These sushi’s are generally made with 2 ingredients: one type of vegetable or a single type of protein all tucked in a roll of delicious vinegar infused rice.

Cooking tip: Hosomaki-sushi’s are reputed to being the simplest of the sushi to prepare. Therefore, they are the best starting point to perfect your maki rolling technique.


Nigiris are amongst the most well-known sushi. They are balls of vinegar infused rice ‘shari’ on which we place a type of protein (most commonly fish).

More recently in the history of sushi, around the 19th century, nigiris became a daily staple dish in Japan (for more ‘ancient’ types of sushi, we would have to go all the way back to 5th century BC).


Regularly confused with nigiris, sashimis are in fact thinly sliced raw fish (often tuna) but without the base of rice. Savor them as is or with a delicious sushi sauce , spicy mayo or MITO’s own kami sauce.

And there you have it ! You now know everything (or almost everything) about the different types of sushi.

Now you don’t have to have a fright when your Itamae (chef) at your MITO counter asks you what type of sushi you want to savor. All this will also help you impress your friends when the question comes up: So, what exactly is a nigiri-sushi ?

You can answer that question and become the star of the night !

Published on

9 March 2022
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