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Apr 25, 2008 10:55 AM

What's in sushi maki in Japan?

I fee like I have no idea what real sushi maki are, apart from probably some good futomaki I've had once - but doesn't that mean "big roll" anyway, so it could vary? I'm ignorant about this and am curious what people in Japan put in their maki. I've heard dragon rolls, cream cheese, mayo, are an American invention.

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  1. i don't have the answer but it wouldn't surprise's the same as americanized chinese food i'm sure.i found it interesting that many sushi places there use color coded plates on a buffet to determine the end of the meal,the plates are totalled up.

    1. Typical maki-zushi in a sushi shop in Tokyo would be the following (and this is what they are called):

      kappa-maki- sliced cucumber
      tekka-maki- diced akami (red bits of tuna)
      negi-toro-maki- minced fatty tuna mixed with Japanese long onion
      natto-maki- natto (fermented soy beans)
      kanpyo-maki- kind of vegetable
      ume shiso-maki- minced Japanese plum and shiso leaf
      shinko-maki- Japanese pickles
      tuna/crab mayo maki- tuna/crab salad (recently popular)

      Futo-maki (thick roll) will usually contain many of these items, as well as rolled egg omelet. Futo-maki are often given as gifts by guests to Japanese homes or for holidays. Home chefs or department store counters may have broader ingredient lists then above. For example, anago (sea eel) isn't uncommon these days. And I have seen some avocado-American style items around town. But for the most part, this list is pretty finite.

      Generally speaking, maki-zushi is meant as inexpensive stomach stuffers at the end of a sushi meal and to provide aesthetic appeal to platters. More than ten years ago, I read an in-flight article on the wave of American style sushi that was supposedly sweeping Japan. This just isn't the case. It's not to say that Japanese wouldn't be interested in salmon/avacado/yellowtail/jalepeno/mayonaise/cream cheese/kitchen sink wrapped in rice and sesame seeds. But it would probably be a stretch for them to call it "sushi".