Types of sushi

There are four styles of sushi that are commonly seen in the United States: maki, nigiri, sashimi and chirashi.

A sushi roll.


Maki-style sushi is the "roll" type of sushi. The sushi ingredients are rolled in rice, seaweed or a vegetable and then cut up into bite-size pieces. Often more meat, vegetables or masago are placed on the top of the roll, then sauce is drizzled over the top. Many sushi restaurants make specialized rolls with their chefs' creations. The creative possibilities are endless.


The word nigiri literally means grasped or squeezed--the rice is molded into a shape and then fish is placed on top, often held together with seaweed. This makes it easy to pick up and eat with your hands, which is why it is sometimes called "hand sushi." Nigiri-style became popular in the early 19th century in Japan, when street vendors were a big part of the food industry.

A bowl of different styles of sushi.


Sashimi consists of slices of sushi-grade fish and regular steamed, boiled or sushi rice on the side. The most common types of fish served in sashimi-style sushi in the United States are salmon and tuna.


Chirashi is sort of like sashimi-style sushi: it is slices of sushi-grade fish over a bowl of vinagared sushi rice, as opposed to having plain rice on the side.