Difference Between Sushi and Maki

Sushi vs Maki

Difference between Sushi can Maki is in what a cook uses to prepare each dish. Sushi is perhaps the best known Japanese food dish to the outside world. It is a recipe that consists of rice and fish with a flavor of vinegar. However, there are many variations of Sushi that are lesser known to people outside Japan. Maki is one such recipe that creates a lot of confusion as sometimes it is presented as a totally different dish while, at times, it is referred to as a special type of Sushi. In fact, situation becomes complex as there are many varieties of Maki itself. Let us differentiate between Maki and Sushi by highlighting their features.

To understand the subtle differences between Sushi and Maki, one needs to understand the words like Shari, Neta, and Sashimi. While shari is cooked rice that has been vinegared, neta refers to other ingredients that are added to shari to make it a sushi. This neta is commonly the seafood, and more often than not it is steamed fish that makes up Sushi. Raw seafood, when it is sliced and served by itself makes a recipe called sashimi to differentiate it from the Sushi, which almost always has steamed rice.

What is Sushi?

Sushi is an ancient food dish tracing its origins to Tang dynasty back in 7th century AD. It has always consisted of fermented fish and rice, and the word sushi means something that tastes sour. Surprisingly, in earlier times, only fish was consumed while rice was discarded. It was when vinegar was added to rice to increase its sourness that the dish could be preserved for a longer time. This also helped in reducing the fermentation time of fish. Finally, the fermentation process was given up, and modern Sushi is a recipe that is eaten in full; not just eating fish and discarding rice. Also, contrary to popular opinion, Sushi does not mean ‘raw fish.’ It means ‘vinegar rice.’

Sushi that we see today is a creation of Hanaya Yohei who almost turned Sushi into a fast food. It is easily and quickly prepared as it does not need fermentation, and its popularity increased many fold with roadside vendors and small restaurants serving different variations of Sushi today.

Difference Between Sushi and Maki

There is vegetarian Sushi and also Sushi made with fish and meat, either raw or cooked. There are three main types of Sushi. They are Maki Sushi, Nigiri Sushi, and Oshi-Sushi. In Nigiri Sushi, you place slices of fish on pads of rice. In Oshi-Sushi, Sushi comes in bite size bits in the shape of rectangles or squares. These bits are placed in a wood box.

What is Maki?

Maki is also called rolled sushi, and is cylindrical in shape. Generally, the contents of a maki zushi (maki) are wrapped in a nori. Nori is edible seaweed and used largely in making various recipes, not only in Japan, but also in Korea and China. However, Maki can be made wrapped in an omlette or even soy paper. Sometimes cucumber and tofu is also used as the wrapper.

 Sushi vs Maki

Thus, the basic difference in Sushi and Maki lies in the way each food item is presented. There are people who prefer to call it rolled sushi rather than calling it Maki. When it comes to Maki, you place the toasted Nori and a layer of rice around a vegetable or a fish or any other filling.

What is the difference between Sushi and Maki?

Sushi is the first name that strikes a person when Japanese cuisine is mentioned to him.

• Sushi is an ancient dish from Japan that is prepared with steamed rice and fish.

• In early times, fermentation of fish and addition of vinegar was required but, in modern times, fermentation has been done away with making Sushi just like a fast food.

• There are mainly three types of Sushi as Maki Sushi, Nigiri Sushi, and Oshi-Sushi.

• Maki is a special type of sushi. It is also referred to as rolled sushi.

• When sushi is rolled into a cylindrical shape inside a wrapping of either seaweed, bamboo mat, or even an omlette, Maki is formed. So, it is the presentation method that changes Maki from Sushi.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Sushi Deluxe at Sushi Ten by Alpha (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  2. Maki by Janet Hudson (CC BY 2.0)
  • Tin B.

    Still very confusing. You say there are three main types of sushi, maki being one of them, and that it is how it is rolled which changes it from sushi to maki, but if sushi is three main types of food varying by presentation, then it shouldn’t be changed from sushi but rather it is sushi in maki presentation vs nigiri or oshi sushi. But if it is changing it from sushi, then what is sushi? And what about Edo? I thought Edo was sushi with the nori on the outside instead of rice, but it looks like maybe maki is edo in one of the maki forms?