I've been eating sushi for years, or at least I thought I had been. I tried a new place in town yesterday and got a completely different meal than I thought I ordered. Fortunately, it was still delicious. Here's what happened.

When I think of sushi, (and a lot of other people), I think of this:

Philadelphia roll
Maksim Toome

I went with my wife for a lunch date while we were holiday shopping. I wanted to try the newest Japanese Cuisine restaurant - Ichiro Sushi & Ramen.

An Adventurous Date

We walked in and as expected, the place was packed. They were very accommodating and got us a seat at a high table and we looked over the menu.

I was a little overwhelmed at first, but I saw a special 'Sushi For 2.' It said it came with 18 assorted pieces of sushi and a spider roll. Sounds perfect! A little bit of everything, right?

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We got our Miso soup first, which was delicious and helped us warm up on a December day.

Not long later, a wooden bridge of food came out. As they placed it down, I looked at my wife and asked, "What is this?"

Ken Hayes
Ken Hayes

"It's what you wanted? Sushi, right?"

"I thought sushi always came in rolls?"

What we got was a small ball of rice with types of chef's choice raw fish over each ball. There was some snapper in there, white tuna, red tuna, salmon, and other stuff I didn't have a clue about. On the side was a spider roll, which is kinda what I thought the whole thing would be.

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This isn't the first time I've had this, but I always thought it was called sushimi. It turns out I haven't been calling it the right thing.

What is the definition of sushi?

Sushi is defined as any pairing of ingredients with vinegar rice served in bite-sized pieces. Sushi has nothing to do with fish. Sushi just describes the specific preparation of the rice used in sushi-making.


If you want it wrapped in a roll, order something with a roll - duh.

Yeah, you would think this was common sense, but if you want something that's rolled up together. If you see something like Spicy Tuna Roll, you're good. If it says Maki Roll, you're good. It actually stands for makizushi. 

I was pleasantly surprised to try something new.

I ate about 9 pieces of raw fish that I probably would not have tried before. I have to say that it was delicious. The service was great, the food was fantastic, and I learned that sometimes being ignorant can be adventurous. What will I unknowingly try next?

LOOK: Food history from the year you were born

From product innovations to major recalls, Stacker researched what happened in food history every year since 1921, according to news and government sources.

Gallery Credit: Joni Sweet

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