Chopsticks just slow me down!!
Whenever I am up for sushi, exactly this is what I end up saying to myself.
But there’s always room for more sushi in my stomach!
Yes! We Japanese are obsessed with sushi just like this and never get tired of trying the variety of sushi when we get the chance.
You must know, Japan is the origin of sushi and is unquestionably credited for introducing the delicacy to the rest of the world.
But do you know that the making of sushi is like a craft that requires only close watching and learning?
And your sushi will appear more crafty, alluring & delightful if you embellish it with the perfect toppings.
Many of my foreign sushi-lover friends often ask a common question; how to make sushis more appealing with toppings.
If you are also eager to know about it, this article is going to help you with assorted types of popular sushi toppings ideas, categorized into raw flesh, seafood, vegetarian, and so on.
So, let’s explore the most used toppings & make your sushi tickle you from inside!
15 Most Popular Sushi Toppings That You Should Never Miss Trying At Least Once
As a sushi lover, you certainly can experiment with several items that may be used to make delectable sushi roll toppings.
Here I’ve compiled a list of our top recommendations for some of the best options accessible.
The Widespread Fish & Meat-Based Sushi Topping Ideas
First, I will start with the raw fish & meat-based toppings, which are leading the sushi world & famous globally.
1. Tobiko (Fish Roe)
You’ve probably noticed some bright colored tiny pearl balls on top of Japanese sashimi or sushi rolls while strolling around a supermarket or any sushi restaurant.
But, have you ever got wondered what was that?
Well, that’s actually a widely used sushi topping made from flying fish roe ( Tobiko in Japanese).
Tobiko is usually served as a topping over clump sushi rice tied together by seaweed and garnished with cucumber.
A gent smoky or salty taste with a bit of sweetness and a crunchy texture makes the topping irresistible!
Moreover, tobiko is an excellent source of protein, minerals & omega 3 fatty acids which are fundamentally good for health.
You might be glad to know that it is thoroughly pasteurized before serving raw, making it absolutely safe to eat.
But there’s something I want to warn you about.
And that is, never overeat this.
Tobiko has high cholesterol content, so eating without moderation may raise your cholesterol level.
But this will surely not lessen your hype for this fantastic sushi covering!
Let’s know about another exciting fish roe sushi topping!
2. Ikura (Salmon Roe)
One late autumn, one of my foreign friends came to visit Japan & I took him for a sushi treat.
After telling him, salmon roe (Ikura in Japanese) sushi is one of the most popular dishes, I ordered two.
But my friend got a bit weird hearing about its popularity.
He thought it was an overly expensive and rare food.
But in Japan, it’s widespread to garnish sushi rolls, which are affordable & easily accessible in just about every supermarket and convenience store.
So, I cleared his misconception & we both got ready with our chopsticks.
Salmon eggs are commonly garnished on seaweed-rolled rice to give the sushi plate a more appealing sight and provide more tastes to satiate the customer’s desire.
After stuffing it into our mouths, we both got a flavor explosion in our tastebud & ended up ordering more.
I think you already got the answer to why Ikura is considered a popular sushi topping.
Go on a sushi date with your partner & say, “You are the salmon to my sticky rice.”
It will definitely melt your loved one’s heart, just like the salmon topped sushi is melted in your mouth.
Yes, the charisma of salmon is not over yet.
We’ve known the salmon egg as a topping, but the salmon flesh is no less than that.
A sushi plate is incomplete without the piece covered with orange flesh with white stripes.
But let me mention one thing!
Salmon is not a traditional Japanese topping, but it’s popularly eaten as a sushi topping worldwide, including in Japan.
From beginners to chain sushi maniacs, everyone prefers the salmon topping due to its medium softness & mildness in flavor.
Also, you are getting this type of sushi topping at a low cost.
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Usually, it is served on steaky rice seasoned with soya sauce & wasabi, entirely making a perfect harmony of savor.
Are you concerned about eating raw salmon?
I know it’s a matter to be.
Now I will tell you about the safety check of raw salmon.
The sushi makers ensure appropriate farming of the salmon & they never use previously frozen fish.
So you can fearlessly swallow it because it’s hard to mess up sushi when topping it with salmon!
4. Maguro (Tuna)
Now I will talk about another popular-most sushi topping among Japanese & foreign people & that is tuna ( maguro in Japanese).
When I first learned about it, I wondered why people ran over this & ready to pay any amount.
But when I tried bluefin tuna (the most delicious tuna available in the world) topped sushi, I got my answer!
The piece gave me such a melt-in-your-mouth type feel & I was lost in the aroma.
The top-notch sushi restaurants go to great extents to purchase and serve the freshest tuna possible.
So, when your plate of happiness is on your table, you will only explore the art in every bite & won’t care about the price.
But that doesn’t mean you will need to break your bank to have them.
There are various types of tuna topping that you can enjoy at a reasonable price, like yellowfin tuna and canned tuna.
Commonly, they are served raw or pickled in soy sauce over steaky rice.
The raw tuna is entirely safe to eat & offers an intense zest.
But you need to know about the variation in the thickness of the flesh before ordering maguro garnished sushi, as you will have to mention your preference.
The toppings are classified into three portions: akami (lean tuna), chutoro (medium fatty tuna), and otoro (fatty tuna).
Though akami is my favorite, you can simply try & compare them one by one.
5. Katsuo (Bonito)
Now it’s time to say Kudos to an old friend!
No wonder I am talking about Bonito ( Katsuo in Japanese), as it is one of the ancient sushi toppings used in Japan since the Edo period.
The red-purple-colored, smoky-smelled & meaty-textured fish has earned its popularity in Japan and among foreigners because of its high-quality & balanced protein and iron content.
If you love the lean flavor, bonito will be your favorite sushi top in spring.
But bonito topped sushi will satisfy your fat obsession if you try this in winter, as the flavor turns richer and fattier in that particular season.
As far as oil control is concerned, you can use ginger and negi (Japanese long green onion) as a condiment.
6. Ebi (Shrimp)
Have you ever tried sushi that is shrimp-ly gorgeous?
Yes, I am this kind of obsessed with shrimp-on-top sushi.
It’s not just me; the whole Japanese population admires shrimp ( ebi in Japanese) covered sushi because of its scrumptious look that comes in different forms.
Such as “Ama-ebi,” which is delicious and little, “Kuruma-ebi,” being exquisite and large, and chubby “Botan-ebi.”
It is ubiquitous seafood at Japanese sushi restaurants, as many of you are familiar with it.
In sushi restaurants, you will see boiled or raw shrimp peeled with the tail left on for decorative purposes.
Though boiled one is the most demanding, I suggest you try both as taste bud differs.
But Never skimp on the shrimp, or you will regret it later!
7. Tai ( Sea bream)
Who won’t love stuffing their mouth with a piece of happiness?
It’s hard to find anyone because sea bream (tai in Japanese) is said to bring good fortune and is widely recommended as a sushi topping for novices at sushi restaurants.
Exploring a variety of sushi combinations is a loving journey & the sea bream topped sushi drops a great impression on beginners with its pinkish-white flesh, sweet taste, and translucent texture.
Now, let me tell you one thing!
Sea bream has a special place in the heart of diet-conscious sushi eaters.
That’s because it’s high in protein and vitamins while being relatively low in fat.
Never get perplexed knowing sea bream as the expensive fish in Japan as you can avail it reasonably from an authentic sushi restaurant.
So, don’t miss this auspicious fish topped sushi.
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8. Ika (Squid)
Another notable seafood sushi top I would like to mention is squid (Ika in Japanese).
This mildly sweet tasted & chewy textured sushi top is served with sushi rice usually eaten in two ways, either cooked or raw.
It is more popular to eat it grilled in most countries, although the Japanese have eaten it raw on sushi or sashimi.
Remember, the raw ones are blanched before getting used on sushi.
So, let the chewiness addict you!
Well, I have something on my bucket list for the meat lover!
And it’s rare to find anyone who doesn’t love beef.
So, below I am sharing about a regal sushi top.
9. Wagyu (Japanese Beef )
Despite not being a traditional topping, wagyu ( Japanese beef) has its fame worldwide.
It’s eaten raw or lightly grilled (Aburi style) to bring out the juicy taste and savory essence.
But to make the meat even more luscious, it is seasoned and grilled.
The fatty marbling appearance of the Wagyu topped sushi may compel you to start eating with hand but never get ashamed of it, my friend!
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Now taking my discussion to some vegetarian toppings, which not only add to the taste but also make your sushi look fresh and rich in nutritional elements.
Best Veg-friendly Sushi Toppings
If you are a vegetarian & not that much raw flesh lover, the upcoming list will meet your sushi craving!
Have you ever heard about a caterpillar roll?
I know an insect-like appearance has just smacked into your mind.
It actually looks like this, but please don’t worry, my dear friend!
You will start to love it after seeing its classic semblance & nutritional enrichments.
Are you thinking about how you can make this?
Well, that’s easy!
To make the topping, you will have to peel a ripe yet firm avocado and cut it into thin slices that fit nicely over the sushi rolls.
Avocados, wrapped around a sushi roll in an overlapping pattern, complement the filling nicely & make the sushis look top-class!
The flavor and texture are truly delightful & delicate.
Besides these, along with some health benefits, avocados work as a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids, protein, potassium & vitamins.
It already seems like a win, right?
But it’s not over yet!
You can use the blended avocado as a sushi topping sauce which is also delicious.
After putting avocado as a sushi topping, you can take an instagrammable picture & share your creation with a caption – “Bravocado! “
Wanna have a healthful and flavorful feast again?
Summer, winter, or autumn, cucumber will never disappoint you with its crunchy texture & flavor as a sushi topping.
If you want to make a cucumber filling, simply cut it into small, edible parts and wrap it in nori sheets with rice.
You will get amused to see how nicely it pairs with the filling ingredients due to its high water content.
Also, our thin-skinned Japanese cucumbers do not have lots of seeds which are really best to use as the topping.
But, in general, cucumber gained its popularity as a sushi topping majorly because of its high nutritional value & abundance of antioxidants, which aid in reducing blood sugar levels.
Think, who will miss this mouthful refreshment?
12. Sesame Seeds
Another crunchy topping with an enticing display is gonna accompany your fish & rice.
Yes, It’s sesame seeds, one of the most used sushi toppings you will love to taste.
Black, white, or mixed sesame seeds can be utilized and softly sprinkled on top to garnish a California-style sushi roll, a traditional Japanese rice roll.
If you want to enhance the aroma, don’t forget to toast the seeds lightly before scattering.
Now lost in the field of flavor & fragrance!
13. Pickled Seaweed
Pickled seaweed is another topping that I love to put on sushi.
If you anticipate its salty flavor, I will tell you not to bother because it’s not overpowering.
It is most popular with pure vegans.
It also has antioxidant compounds & some minerals along with some underlying health advantages.
14. Jalapeno peppers
This recommendation is for the spice lovers like me!
If you want to raise the spice level a notch or two, I suggest adding sliced jalapeno peppers to each sushi roll.
Certain kinds of seafood go well with the flavor and peppery aftertaste.
If you try this topping once, I’m telling you it’s gonna be your favorite!
Now I am moving to something very simple yet different.
Those who choose egg over anything, I have a good news!
15. Fried Egg
Basically, sushi toppings do not have to be prepared with a vast list of ingredients.
Something as mere as a fried egg can be egg-traordinary!
But you heard it right!
Tamago sushi is a typical Japanese dish where a light & sweet folded omelet is used as a crunchy sushi topping, making it exquisite.
The preparation of the topping is super easy!
Just season the eggs with soy sauce, sugar, and dashi, fry them in thin layers & keep rolling.
After that, cut the egg to a suitable size & wrap it in nori sheets over the sticky rice.
The sweetened omelet and vinegary sushi rice complement each other’s flavors, resulting in a delicious dish that absolutely all the family members enjoy.
However, if you don’t love raw fish but love sushi, this Tamago sushi will be your best friend!
Also, the kids love it, especially due to the sweetness.
So why the delay in making the delicacy?
Well, this wraps up our list of 15 delicious sushi toppings. As you can see, you have a plethora of choices. Whether you’re a meat lover, a seafood addict, or a vegan, you’ll find something to suit your palate and fulfill your hunger.
No matter you come to Japan or go to any sushi restaurants, the above ideas of popular sushi toppings will make your upcoming sushi feast unforgettable & you will become an ultimate sushiholic for sure!
Just remember, you are never far from a sushi bar!
See you in another article.
Till then, have a good day!