Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sushi Lingo!

10 days ago we were invited to a sushi party by our good friends, the Shoujis. Not only did they prepare an incredible spread, they also gave us a valuable lesson on sushi lingo.

In Singapore, sushi is just sushi. But in Japan, there are special terms for everything you find in a sushi bar. For example, vinegared rice is not just ご飯 (gohan), but シャリ (shari). Tea is not お茶 (ocha) but アガリ (agari). Seaweed is not 海苔 (nori) but クサ (kusa. literally means "grass").

Below is a list of the other sushi terms:
cucumber: カッパ (kabba)
pickled ginger: ガり (gari)
wasabi: ナミダ (namida. literally means "tears" because wasabi makes you cry)
soysauce/shoyu: ムラサキ (murasaki. literally: "purple")
ingredients on sushi rice - usually the fish etc: ネタ (neta. originated from たね, which means "seeds"

Pix from the Sushi Party you'll never get in Singapore

We were simply wowed by the quantity and variety of sushi prepared. To fill our bloated stomachs further, the Shoujis also prepared a giant fish stew, chawanmushi, sashimi and kasutera cake! The best thing was, everything was homemade!

Especially unforgettable was the homemade umeshu (plum liquor), which we joked as "Shouya" (pun on Choya) -- something we'll never get in Singapore. ;)