The A to Z of Sushi, Sashimi & Japanese Bento

Avocado was only first used in sushi by a Japanese chef in Canada, to replace raw toro (fatty tuna) for a similar ‘melty’ taste in the 70s. Subsequently, many visitors came from Los Angeles to patronage and hence the name California roll was coined and it became popularized globally.

It is a mat woven from bamboo, that is used to roll and form the sushi by wrapping the rice with seaweed.

Literally it means “scattered Sushi”. Usually served in a bowl with assorted fish, chopped eggs and fish roes over rice.

Daikon is a large, long white radish, usually served shredded as garnish and eaten with sashimi.

Ebi means Shrimp in Japanese. Ebi sushi is one of the popular Nigiri worldwide.

Futomaki is a large and thicker version of makizushi that contains various ingredients, such as cucumber, omelette, and pickled daikon radish. As it usually turns out to be a colourful roll, it is often made for festivity events and holidays.

Eat ginger is used to cleanse the palette, so one consumes between pieces of sushi, in order to appreciate the taste of the next sushi.

Hashi means chopsticks in Japanese. Chopsticks are utensils used to pick the sushi, dip it into soy sauce and consume it. For honorific, Japanese refer them as o-hashi.

I is for Itamae- san, the All Important Sushi Chef 板前 –
Literally translated, Itamae means “in front of the Chopping board”. He has an important role in the creation of your sushi or Japanese meals.

Jubako is tiered lacquered boxes, which are mostly used to serve Osechi Ryori (お節料理)- the traditional Japanese New Year delicacies. They are often stacked before and after eating.

An essential component to sushi is the rice blended well with vinegar. It is more commonly referred to as o-kome.

Live shrimp sushi or sashimi are a delicacy in Japan. These shrimp are taken from an aquarium, peeled and immediately dunked into sake, then dipped into a special sauce for consumption.

It is a usually a platter where there is a combination of assortment of sushi, sashimi or tempura.

It is the Japanese word for Seaweed and it is used to wrap and hold the vinegar rice, fishes and other fillings.

O-cha mean Japanese tea in general. Cha means tea, but “O” is a prefix of respect and hence the term “O-cha”. They are often taken together with sushi and Japanese meal to complement

A roll which is created in America. Made of cream cheese (hence the “Philadelphia” brand reference) and raw or smoked salmon.

Raw quail egg which are put on top of gunkanmaki sushi. They are used on top of roe and sea urchin sushi as well as other soft or slippery toppings, so that these quail eggs give a firm grip to hold the sushi and prevent the diner to consume, without making a mess.

Fish eggs or roes are usually generously spread over sushi and Chirashi.
It adds some saltiness and crunchy texture to the food and is favoured by many. Japanese use many types of roes in their cuisine, ranging from ikura (from Salmon), tobiko (from flying fish), masago (from Capelin) and ebiko (from prawn) just to name a few.

Shoyu is the soy sauce that you dip your sushi into, to add saltiness or flavor to it

“Te” stands for hand while “Maki” simply means “Rolls” (rice rolled by bamboo sheets). It is rolled into a cone shape for easy holding.

Uni means sea urchin in Japanese. It has a soft, creamy texture and has a briny sea taste which some describe like foie gras of the sea. It is often one of the most expensive sushi as it is not easy to raise or harvest. Plus, if not consume as fresh as possible, the quality plunges drastically.

The rice in sushi is always seasoned with Vinegar and some salt and sugar. Traditionally, vinegar was first added to the rice to preserve the rice and preventing the food from harmful bacteria such as Bacillus Cereus that can cause food positioning.

It is Japanese Horse Radish, the green paste often placed beside sashimi or sushi. Wasabi is eaten with the sashimi or sushi as its primary function is to kill the bacteria in these raw fishes.

Yanagi Bocho is a type of fish knife with long slender blade, typically used for cutting and slicing sashimi and sushi

Yuba is tofu skin or bean curd skin, which is a thin pale yellowish film derived from boiling soybeans. They are gathered to wrap around the rice to create Yuba Sushi and have a chewier texture.

Zairyo in Japanese means materials or ingredients. What kind of zairyo or ingredient to make a sushi…

The A-Z of Sushi, Sashimi and Bento

Read more

Hearty Autumn Appetite Infographic

As the weather slowly turn cold and we ease into the dreamy autumn season, let’s look at some of the delicious food that the Japanese love to savor during this cool season.

Here are some hot favorite which we serve in our restaurant, which you might want to try with your loved ones:

1) Sanma Shioyaki

Sanma fishes or mackerel migrate from north to south seasonally to lay eggs and has 20% more fat in autumn, compared to about 10% during summer. These fishes are rich in omega 3, DHA and EPA, so they are good food source for the development of brains.

This whole fish is typically served grilled with salt in Japanese restaurants, till its skin turned crispy. You can squirt some citrusy lemon on it, dip it into soy sauce and eat it with the daikon radishes usually served on the side. Goes well with rice and miso soup. Tasty meal!

2) Alaska Snow Crab Nabe

Fancy some warm, hearty and savory soup to beat the cold?
Then you should try one of our most popular soup, the Alaska Snow Crab Nabe. It is boiled slowly with vegetables, tofu and golden mushrooms.

To get this dish worth S$32.00 free, all you need to do is simply present the print out voucher (you can print from this link ) when you order 2 lunch ala-carte buffets at our restaurant.

There are also seafood soup served as steamboat or in a teacup for variety.

However, if you prefer soup which is non- seafood, we also have other soup which you can consider like the Pearl Mushroom Soup with Miso or Pork belly Miso Soup.

3) Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is one of Japanese’s most sought after comfort food when the season turns cold. It is simmered in a hot iron pot filled with thinly sliced beef, mixed with nutritious tofu, leafy vegetables, eggs and chewy mushrooms.

The delicious, hot soup is often shared and is a welcoming sight in any social gathering, warming the stomach of the diners.

4) Pumpkin Egg Custard (under Appetizer)

Pumpkin is harvested during late summer and early autumn time. So, after harvesting, people worldwide make wonderful recipes using this amazingly tasty gourd.

In Shin Minori, we recommend you to try our smooth, rich and yummy pumpkin steam egg or chawamushi. It also contain ginko nuts and fish cake. Pure delight!

Other pumpkin dish we have is our simmered pumpkin with special sweet sauce, also another flavorful, soft and subtly sweet dish to relish.

5) Niku Jaga

Enjoy the aromatic stewed pork belly simmered slowly with potatoes and carrots in soy sauce broth. It is the perfect dish for any cold evening to enjoy with a bowl of rice.

So tantalizing, it is easy to fall in love with. Niku Jaga is often referred to by the Japanese as a dish that reminds them of their mother’s home cooked food or in Japanese, “ofukuro no aji “, meaning the taste or flavour of a mother.

6) Sake

Sake, which is Japanese fermented rice wine, is an integral part that completes the Japanese cuisine. It is often used in their traditional rituals and important celebratory occasions such as wedding. Sake is brewed in winter, pasteurized and age in the spring and summer season, so autumn is the prime time to drink it and enjoy with loved ones.

How about warm cups of sake for toasting with families and friends? Sake is not only a good source of drink as the temperature turn cold, to warm our bodies, but also for cultivating closer bonding.

May these autumn food (and drink) bring warmth to your stomach and joy to your hearts!

Read more

Different Types of Sushi Rolls. Japanese Food Infographic

Different Types of Sushi Rolls寿司

Do you know that in Sushi itself, there are so many variations?
How many types do you know?

Narezushi馴れ寿司 –

The origins of sushi is found in “Narezushi”. It began as a form of preserved fish from China between the 5th and the 3rd centuries BC and was introduced to Japan in Edo Period (1603-1868).
They were eaten during festivals and was an integral part of the celebration. Narezushi was made of fish and rice, mixed with salt, rice vinegar and sake and left to ferment. The rice was used solely for the fermentation process and discarded later.

This sour- tasting sushi took months to ferment and make. Shops sold this packed in boxes and that was the birth of sushi.

Towards the end of the Edo Period, a young man, Yohei Hanaya, created his first kind of “Nigiri” (hand- squeezed) sushi. He sold them by carrying a box on his back. Around 1828, Yohei started selling them at sushi stand. People got to know about this new type of bite- size sushi, which is like an early form of fast food conveniently eaten. His popularity rose resulting in prosperity in his business and the widespread of sushi.

Nigirizushi 握り寿司 –

For this type of sushi, you will find seafood like fish, octopus or shrimp on top of the sushi rice. It was invented about 190 years ago as bite sized finger food. It is the most popular kind of sushi in Japan.

Gunkanmaki 軍艦巻 –
Gunkanmaki is a type of nigirizushi with a strip of seaweed wrapped around the sushi rice to form like a warship (hence the name). The toppings can be filled with various kinds of seafood or even roes or corn etc.

Breaking it down, “maki” simply means meaning “roll”. So, Makizushi means “rolled sushi”. Generally, it is wrapped in seaweed, but occasionally it can be found wrapped in cucumber, a thin omelette or perilla leaves.

Inarizushi稲荷寿司 –
Inari is a pouch made of sweet deep- fried tofu skin, filled with sushi rice, shredded omelette, carrots and sesame seeds etc. If you like something sweet or fried tofu, you will like this tasty sushi in a tofu bag.

Futomaki 太巻 –
Futo literally translated means, thick or fat. It is usually a large cylindrical piece with nori wrapped around it. They are often made with two or more fillings and form a mixture of interesting colours, using cucumber, omelette, tiny fish roes, chopped tuna etc.

Hosomaki 細巻 –
Hoso is “thin” in Japanese, hence it is a small cylindrical piece, with seaweed on the outside. A typical hosomaki generally contain only one filling, like cucumber, pickled radish or tuna. It is small and easy to eat. As there is a very small amount of filling for each roll, the price is very reasonable at restaurants.

Temaki 手巻 –
“Te” stands for “hand” and it is shaped in a cone, wrapped by nori or seaweed for easy holding and eating using our hands. Temaki must be consumed quickly after being made as the nori cone loses its crispness, after absorbing moisture from the fillings, making it difficult to bite through. For this reason, the nori for take-out temaki is often sealed in plastic film, which is to be removed before eating.

Read more

1) Nori or Seaweed that are used to wrap the vinegar seasoned rice were considered as luxury food till a British Botanist, named Kathleen Drew Baker, discovered their reproductive process or cycle. It is now harvested and mass produced.

2) Traditionally, Apprentice Chef have to work for more than 10 years before they are allowed to handle any sashimi or meat. During the apprentice years, they are assigned manual task of washing rice and serve tables. Today, the increasing demand for these skilled chef or food artist has resulted in many starting work just after two years of training.

3) Originally, the sushi rice was never consumed. Rice was inserted into the belly of the fishes to ferment it and hence creating a unique sour taste. This method was said to originate from China and introduced into Japan during the Edo period. After a few months, when the fermentation process was completed, the rice would be discarded and only the fish would be eaten.

4) Traditionally, women were not allowed to be sushi chefs because women were believed to have comparatively higher body temperature, especially during menstruation. This means that their warm hands pose a higher chance to spoil the food or chilled fish.

5) Sushi is commonly referred to as aphrodisiac because of the common sushi fishes used- salmon and mackerel, which are high in omega 3s. Omega 3s are fatty acids that are known to help in the production of sex- hormones. Additionally, tuna is also a source of selenium, which helps to increase a male’s sperm count.

6) Do you know that there is a sequence to relish and enjoy the taste of sushi? To enjoy the full flavor of sushi, start with the white fish first, silver next, then red fishes, next onto heavier taste such as fish roes and then lastly fatty fishes.

7) You may be wondering why is there always some green plastic grass in your take- out sushi box. What you did not know is that historically, the chefs used to use real grass to let the sushi stay fresher longer. Now, these plastic grass also serves a divider, to separate the various sushi or ginger and wasabi from bleeding onto the sushi.

8) The ever popular California sushi, was invented for the western market to suit their taste buds around the 70s. Then, they were not open to eating raw food, so the Japanese chef, Toyo, who migrated to Canada, created its ingredients using avocado, crabstick, cucumber and fishes roes with mayonnaise. Then, he even put the seaweed inside out (and not wrapped around the rice), as not to put them off, as they were not familiar with the taste and were often put off by the colour.

Sushi has evolve a long way to become what it is today- popular and embraced by a lot of people and foodies worldwide, who love the taste and visual sight of it.

Hope you find these 8 facts about sushi interesting!

8 facts about sushi infographic, Shin Minori Blog Info Graphic

Read more

Thankfully, our menu has English words which help our diners to order effortlessly. However, if you are getting confused with English words on most Japanese menu without clear explanation of what the dish entails, fret not! Here, we help to decode some of the Japanese dishes for you. Let’s come and learn together, so we are all more equipped to know what to order the next round, in Japan, even without the help of some English words.


唐揚げ or 空揚げ or から揚げ

The food ending with Age is deep fried. Tori Karaage refers to chicken being deep fried. Or a Shake- Kawa- Age simply means that it is deep fried salmon skin.



The word “Chirashi” means “Scattered” in Japanese. Often, we see Chirashi- Zushi in Japanese menu. It is a bowl with “Scattered Sushi” or pieces of raw fishes and roes beautifully displayed on top of the vinegar rice.


Don is derived from the word “Donburi”, which means Rice- bowl. So, any dish ending with Don, means you will have rice that comes along with it.

An example would be Katsu Don, Steam Rice Topped with Pork Cutlet. It is very with popular with Japanese men.



When you see this word, it means assortment or combination in a platter. So, the portion is usually bigger.

Like our ever popular Sashimi Moriwase or Tempura Moriwase, bigger group of diners often like to order these dishes to share and eat together.



Mushi is steamed. In our restaurant, we offer Chawa-mushi. Chawa means cup in Japanese and hence, Chawa- mushi, is often eggs, steamed in a cup. It is generally loved by many, even children.

Dobinmushi, another in our menu, means Clear Seafood Soup in Tea Pot.


鍋物, なべ物

Nabe literally translated is "cooking pot". When you see this, it refers to Japanese hot pot dishes like our local steamboat.

We serve Kaisen Kami Nabe, which is Seafood Japanese Paper Steamboat. It is especially good for cool weather or for ladies who prefer more soupy food.


汁, しる

Shiru is Soup in Japanese. Japanese love miso bean paste in their soup with tofu and seaweed. We would recommend our Asari Miso Shiru, which is Bean Paste Soup with Clams.



“Te” means Hand in Japanese. “Maki” stands for Roll. So, together, it simply, it means a Hand-Roll. The finished product is often coned shape with meat and vegetables wrapped in seaweed.

One of our popular temaki: California Temaki Crab Meat Stick, Avocado and Cucumber



Tepan sounds like our Chinese character- “鉄板” which means hot plate. We serve Ebi Mayo Teppan- Prawns with Special Mayonaise Sauce. They are a favorite choice for seafood BBQ lovers.



Dishes with words ending with “yaki’ usually denote that that they are pan-fried or grilled. A number of Japanese dishes end with words like Yaki, such as Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き), yaki- niku and Yaki- soba. So, Yaki- niku is fried meat and yaki- soba is fried noodle.

In Shin Minori, we serve “Shishamo Yaki”. It is a dish of Grilled Pregnant Capelin. It is tasty and filled with Calcium, which is good for your bones and teeth.

Hope the above helps you to learn some Japanese and some of their cooking techniques. So, when you next step into our any Japanese dining places, you are more confident to order and know what kind of food will turn up on your dining tables.

Share This Infographic On Your Site

Read more

Japan loves their alcohol as much as the next country. But, they don’t forget their manners even when drinking. They follow a tradition that’s passed down from one generation to another.

Bringing a nostalgic feeling every time you taste the unforgettable smooth texture of sake in your mouth.

So, either you’re in Japan or dining in a Japanese restaurant, there are a few things that you should know to keep your experience fun yet authentic.


This is the number one thing that you should always remember. Instead, wait for someone to fill your cup for you. In return, you pour some alcohol for them too. But, wait, don’t start drinking just yet. Make sure that you and your company have “Kampai” already before chugging it down.


During a party, be sure that you’re on the lookout for your fellow drinkers. If their cup is empty, make sure that you fill it up for them.


When someone gestures to fill your glass, drink the leftover alcohol before holding it over to the person. Follow this up by reciprocating the action, fill their cup as well.

If you’re not a heavy drinker just fill-up your cup and not drink it. This way you can avoid getting drunk that night.

It is customary for the younger ones to be tasked of the pouring and ordering job. Guests are exempted with this tradition.

These traditions may seem to be too restrained. But, they are not. Try them. You’ll realize that it is a fun way to bond with your co-workers and friends. It allows you to be more intimate with them.

Japanese Dining Etiquette When Drinking Info Graphic, Shin Minori Blog Info Graphic

Read more

Many have compared sushi to eating a sandwich because of its convenient and bite-size qualities. But, it packs quite a punch despite its size. You can taste different flavors and texture in one bite, from tangy to creamy.

Just because it’s in bite-size, you go and eat it with much gusto without rules. You don’t mix wasabi with soy sauce. That’s a huge blunder that many are guilty of doing.

There are a few things that you should remember when taking a bite of this tasty food.

1. Clean hands. A wet towel will be provided for you. Use it to clean your fingers, keeping you safe from any disease-causing germs.

2. No chopsticks. Use your hands and make sure it’s clean. This way you can preserve the chef’s well-made form of a sushi. Only use your chopsticks when getting ginger and sashimi.

3. Chopstick holder. Make sure that the chopsticks are on the holder. People may think that you’re finished if you place them on top of your bowl.

4. Fish-down. Dip your fish into the soy sauce. Remember, the rice is not supposed to mix with the soy sauce.

5. Face-down. When you eat the sushi, make sure that the fish is on a face down position for you to taste its richness and freshness.

6. Chopsticks. Use them to add wasabi to your fish. Remember, add it on your fish and never mix it with wasabi.

7. One bite. Eat the sushi in one go. It is considered to be rude towards the chef, who worked hard to make it if you eat in half.

After the meal, buy and share a sake with the chef in appreciation of his work. This is better and more accepted than just tipping him.

These things are not set to restrain you of your enjoyable meal. Instead, embrace the fine art and etiquette of eating sushi as they are there for a reason to better taste the exquisite food and for hygiene reasons.

Read more