Makizushi: 30 Days of Japanese Food

Everything you need to know about makizushi: the history, ingredients and varieties of the Japanese dish.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Day 24: Makizushi

As discussed a week or so ago, not all sushi is made the same. I’ve already written about ‘nigiri zushi, which is when you have a small block of rice and something (often raw fish) put on top.

Today it’s time to look at ‘Makizushi’.

In the Western world, this is often referred to as ‘sushi rolls’ but the Japanese style is much more traditional than you might be used to in Australia or the US.

Makizushi is made with a small flexible bamboo mat. A sheet of dried seaweed called ‘nori’ is put onto the mat and then the rice is laid over the top.

The rice itself is a special vinegared variety made just for sushi which sticks together more than other types. The other ingredients are then put in a line in the middle of the rice and the whole thing is tightly rolled together, using the mat for support.

makizushi, japanese food, japanese dishes, types of sushi, seaweed nori and rice

There’s a big variety in the ingredients than can be used in Makizushi and the art of a sushi chef is to combine the right flavours.

Salmon, tuna and avocado are some of the most popular foods that are used, along with crab sticks, teriyaki chicken, tofu, cucumber and pickles. But the options are really quite limitless.

Unlike the westernised versions, it’s never served as a whole roll in Japan. It’s always cut into six or eight pieces so that it’s easy to eat with chopsticks and you don’t have to use your hands. Often it’s dipped in soy sauce and there is a small side of pickled ginger to accompany it.

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Makizushi is a popular lunch and is also often served as a side dish with noodles or other set menu meals. This plate of makizushi I had was part of a lunch deal with a bowl of noodles which cost 700 yen (US$7.05) in total.

You can also buy makizushi in most convenience stores for about 300 yen (US$3.05). Although this is the most likely Japanese food you’ve had in your home country, it’s still worth trying while you’re in Japan.

5 thoughts on “Makizushi: 30 Days of Japanese Food”

    • Already left, sadly. I was there for a month and loved every minute of it. The problem is you could stay for years and still be seeing new things so I knew I needed to just make a break and get out of there… and hopefully return again soon.


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