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Sushi Freak: How Many Pieces of Sushi are in a Roll?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023


delicious sushi platters

Sushi is a popular Japanese dish that has gained immense popularity worldwide. From its humble beginnings in ancient Japan to its modern fusion forms, sushi has come a long way. This article explores the history of sushi, its various types, taste profiles, and FAQs for sushi beginners.


A Brief History of Sushi

The earliest form of sushi originated in Southeast Asia as a way of preserving fish in fermented rice. This type of sushi was known as narezushi, where fish was wrapped in soured rice for months until it got fully fermented. The rice served as a preservative by lactic acid fermentation.


Narezushi then spread to Japan around the Yayoi period (300 BC - 300 AD). At that time, sushi became a staple snack food sold by street vendors. In the Muromachi period (1336 - 1573 AD), people started consuming fish and rice together, leading to namanare or namanari sushi.

history of sushi

It was only in the Edo period (1603-1868) that sushi evolved into forms closer to what we eat today. Vinegar rice was invented, allowing the fermentation process to be skipped. This led to faster sushi preparation. Raw fish toppings also became more popular.


The most significant innovations happened in the 19th century, giving us modern sushi. The seaweed wrapper (nori) and wooden molds used to shape sushi rice were introduced. Sushi chefs also started aging fish to bring out more umami flavors. This marked the beginning of edo-mae sushi.


In the 1970s, sushi underwent another transformation as fusion sushi with new ingredients like avocado became popular in the US. Sushi had truly gone global!


Common Types of Sushi

There are many varieties of sushi to explore for sushi beginners. Here are some of the most popular types:

  • Nigiri - Oblong mounds of vinegared rice with sliced raw fish or seafood on top. Common nigiri variations include tuna, salmon, shrimp, squid, etc.

  • Maki - Sushi rice and fillings rolled inside a nori seaweed sheet. Variants are hosomaki (thin rolls) and futomaki (thick rolls with more fillings).

  • Temaki - Conical hand rolls made by wrapping sushi rice and fillings in a nori sheet. Easy to eat!

  • Chirashi - Sushi rice served in a bowl and topped with assorted raw fish slices and vegetables.

  • Gunkan - 'Battleship' sushi with a mound of rice wrapped in nori with loose toppings like fish roe.

  • Oshi - Osaka-style pressed sushi. Multi-layered sushi rice and fish pressed in a box and cut into squares.

How to Eat Sushi

Eating sushi can be intimidating for beginners, but with a few basic tips, you can enjoy this delicious dish like a pro. Here are some tips for eating sushi:

  • Use chopsticks or your hands to pick up the sushi.

  • Dip the sushi into soy sauce, but be careful not to use too much.

  • Add a small amount of wasabi to the soy sauce, or place a small amount on top of the sushi.

  • Eat the sushi in one bite, if possible.

  • Eat pickled ginger between different types of sushi to cleanse your palate.

Sushi Ettiquette

Sushi etiquette is an important part of Japanese culture. Here are some basic rules to follow when eating sushi:

  • Do not mix wasabi into the soy sauce.

  • Do not rub chopsticks together, as this is considered rude.

  • Do not pass food from chopstick to chopstick.

  • Do not leave chopsticks sticking out of the rice.

  • Do not use your hands to catch falling food.

What Does Sushi Taste Like?

The taste of sushi rice forms the foundation. It has a mildly sweet and tangy flavor from the rice vinegar dressing. Sushi rice by itself can be quite bland.


The fish or seafood toppings contribute to the umami savory tastes. Raw fish has a soft, tender texture and delicate flavor. Seasonings like wasabi and soy sauce are often used to enhance the tastes.

woman eating sushi

Here are some of the common sushi fillings and their flavor profiles:

  • Tuna (maguro) - Rich, meaty flavor with a soft and buttery texture. Often topped with scallions.

  • Salmon (sake) - Smooth, fatty with an umami, buttery taste.

  • Yellowtail (hamachi) - Silky texture, mild flavor with umami notes.

  • Squid (ika) - Chewy with a mild sweetness and umami.

  • Shrimp (ebi) - Plump and sweet with a springy crunch. Often cooked.

  • Octopus (tako) - Chewy, dense texture with mild sweetness.

  • Eel (unagi) - Savory, smokey flavor with a rich umami taste. Usually grilled.

  • Flying fish roe (tobiko) - Popping texture with an earthy, salty taste.

The nori wrapper lends its own taste - an umami, ocean-like flavor. Condiments like wasabi (hot and pungent) and soy sauce also impact the overall flavor profile.


How Many Pieces Are in a Sushi Roll?

Sushi rolls can contain varying number of pieces depending on the size and ingredients:

  • Hosomaki - Skinny rolls with 1-2 fillings. Usually 6-8 pieces per roll.

  • Futomaki - Thicker rolls with more ingredients. 10-12 pieces per roll typically.

  • Temaki - Hand rolls with a single large cone-shaped piece.

  • Uramaki - Inside-out rolls with more intricate components. 8-10 pieces normally.

Popular Sushi Rolls for Beginners

sushi

If you are a beginner at sushi-making, it's best to start with simple sushi rolls that are not too overwhelming. Here are some popular sushi rolls for beginners:

  • California Roll: This is a type of maki roll that consists of imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber.

  • Philadelphia Roll: This is a type of maki roll that consists of salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber.

  • Spicy Tuna Roll: This is a type of maki roll that consists of tuna and spicy mayo.

  • Shrimp Tempura Roll: This is a type of maki roll that consists of shrimp tempura, avocado, and cucumber.

Some Popular Sushi Restaurants in Los Angeles

Some Popular Takeaway Sushi Restaurants in Los Angeles

The Art of Sushi by Chef Maezaki in Los Angeles, CA

When it comes to mastering the techniques of sushi, Chef Maezaki stands out for his passion and skills. Chef Maezaki was born and raised among the bustling streets of Tokyo, giving him a deep understanding of authentic Japanese cuisine.


After moving to the US in 2006, Chef Maezaki further honed his expertise in traditional and contemporary sushi arts. His sushi reflects both traditional essences and modern twists for the diverse Californian culture.

Chef Maezaki sources only the freshest seafood and focuses on bringing out natural flavors in his sushi. Whether you are looking for classic edo-mae sushi or innovative fusion rolls, Chef Maezaki delivers an outstanding sushi experience.

Visit chefmaezaki.com to explore Chef Maezaki's offerings and contact for your next sushi occasion in Los Angeles, CA.

This master chef will make your sushi experience truly special and tasty!


Check us out at: chefmaezaki.com

Or contact us for more information: 213-666-2097 info@chefmaezaki.com





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