Japanese-English Glossary

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Surimi formed into a tube shape and steamed before being grilled to impart its signature color.

chirimenjako (dried baby Japanese anchovies)

Anchovy fry boiled in salt water, then dried.


Baby Japanese anchovies, which have been dried in the shade. Also known as tazukuri, they are most commonly used as a New Year's dish in which they are caramelized with soy sauce and sugar.

kamaboko (kamaboko fish cake)

Also known as fish loaf, fish cake and fish sausage. Fresh fish paste is mixed with seasonings and starch before being steamed. Kamaboko is often shaped into loaves, which are commonly colored with pink dye.

kani kamaboko (imitation crab)

Kamaboko, steamed fish paste, made to look and taste like crab.

karashi mentaiko (spicy mentaiko)

Salt–preserved Alaskan pollock roe flavored with red chili pepper.


A seafood product made by smoking, fermenting and drying boiled or steamed skipjack tuna. A block of katsuobushi looks like a piece of wood, but it's very fragrant and is loaded with inosine monophosphate, a compound that produces the taste of umami. Thinly shaved, it can be used to make dashi stock, or it can be used directly as a condiment.


Salted herring roe. Soaked in water to desalt before use.

kezuribushi (skipjack shavings)

Thin shavings of katsuobushi flakes, and other similarly processed fish products. Also referred to as okaka.

kongo kezuribushi (mixed dried fish shavings)

Dried skipjack tuna, mackerel, and sardine shavings combined together.


Alaskan pollock roe that has been salted and seasoned with red chili powder.

naruto (naruto fish cake)

A type of kamaboko made with pureed white-meat fish. This is shaped into logs that have a pink spiral pattern in the middle. The name is said to come from the whirlpools that form in the Naruto Strait.


Small Japanese anchovies, boiled then dried.

sakura ebi (sakura shrimp)

3-4 cm shrimp with a color like that of cherry blossoms (sakura). Often used dried in cooking.


Deep-fried fish cake. Pureed white-meat fish paste is seasoned with salt and sugar before being shaped into patties and deep fried.

shirasuboshi (dried shirasu)

Shirasu whitebait. Baby Japanese anchovies, boiled in lightly salted water and then partially dried.

surume ika (Pacific flying squid)

The fins are wide and form a rhomboid appearance. The body is soft and about 20-30 cm long.


Tarako literally means "cod roe" but actually refers to the roe sac of the Alaskan pollock. Usually salted. Can be eaten with rice, or mixed with pasta.

yari ika (spear squid)

The fins are wide and form a rhomboid appearance. The body is soft and about 20-30 cm long.