World’s Weird Sushi Guide

world's sushi guide
Rob
Rob
Updated

Sushi is perhaps the greatest food in the world, and because of the sheer variety of the types of sushi around the globe you can never tire of this Japanese delicacy, even if you ate it every day. However, it’s not all yellowtail and toro. There are some very bizarre and exotic types of sushi you probably haven’t tried before - you might not have even heard of these weird delicacies. Here’s a look at 10 of the weirdest types of sushi around the world. Would you try any of these bizarre creations? Have you?

1. Funazushi

Funazushi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kida Yasuo used under CC BY 2.0

You probably think sushi is a completely original Japanese food creation, but that’s actually not true. Salmon sushi exists because of Norwegian food scientists, and the California roll was actually invented in Canada. The most bizarre types of sushi in the world have origins that trace back to Southeast Asia. Funazushi is a fermented sushi made from a goldfish subspecies called funa. It is fermented in salt and rice for a year, and then it’s repacked and left to ferment for another four years. The only place you can try funazushi today is in Lake Biwa, Shiga Prefecture.

Ayuya no Sato

Address: 4187 Yoshikawa, Yasu 524-0201, Shiga Prefecture

Website: Ayuya no Sato

2. Shirako sushi

Shirako
Source: Photo by Flickr user City Foodsters used under CC BY 2.0

Anybody who eats sushi probably eats the female reproductive organs of fish every day. Roe, or fish eggs, are a common topping for nigiri. If you have ever eaten sushi you have had fish roe. Tobiko, aka flying fish roe, is one of the most common. Salmon roe, aka Ikura, is also extremely popular. However, unless you are Japanese you probably haven’t had the male reproductive organs of fish on your sushi. Shirako is cod milt, or to put it more bluntly - sperm. Would you have the constitution to try this delicacy? Fresh shirako is a tasty treat in gunkan maki. Give it a try next time you are in Japan. It’s weird, but it’s also surprisingly common. Most sushi shops will have it. Sushidai in Tsukiji market will serve it if it’s in season.

Sushidai

Address: 5-2-1 Tsukiji | Tsukiji Fish Market 6th Bldg., Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo Prefecture

Website: Sushidai

3. Fugu nigiri

Fugu
Source: Photo by Flickr user City Foodsters used under CC BY 2.0

Would you eat a food if it could kill you? We’re not taking about a lifetime diet of cheeseburgers that could attack your heart. We’re talking about instant death from just one bite. Fugu is one of the most famous delicacies in all of Japan. If you heard about it you know it can kill whoever eats it. This blowfish is served many ways. You can have it fried as karaage, or you can have it as sashimi. It’s also popular in hot pot.

Fugu sushi is also a common way to eat this famed Japanese fish. Fugu has a fearsome reputation, but dying from it is actually extremely rare. Only amateurs who catch the fish by themselves and then eat it die. If you go to any restaurant that serves fugu in Japan you can rest assured you’ll be safe. To prepare fugu you need extensive training and a license. The poisonous parts of the fish are discarded, tightly packed and labelled as hazardous materials.

Fugu Cuisine Shinoda

Address: 7-9 Imauracho, Shimonoseki 750-0064, Yamaguchi Prefecture

4. Basashi sushi

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

You probably thought sushi was just fish right? Well, that’s actually not the case. You can get plenty of different types of nigiri sushi that have no fish at all. They might have vegetables or another type of meat as a filling instead. You can even have basashi (horse meat) sushi. Kumamoto, Japan is famous for horse meat, and if you go to a basashi restaurant you can often find nigiri made with horse mane, belly or rump. Horse meat is extremely high in protein and much healthier than beef or pork, so give it a try next time you visit Japan.

Horse Meat Dining Umazakura

Address: 1-12-1 Shimotori, Chuo-ku | Koen Bldg. 2F, Kumamoto 860-0807

5. Natto sushi

Natto and okra Sushi in Kamakura
Source: Photo by user avlxyz from used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Natto is definitely an acquired taste. If you’re not Japanese you’re going to have to try natto a few times before you like it. Natto is fermented soybean, and it’s an extremely popular and healthy Japanese food. It is commonly served for breakfast on top of rice. Natto is also a common topping for sushi. Natto maki, which is a sushi roll with natto inside, is a great snack. You can get natto sushi at all sorts of sushi restaurants.

Hamazushi Takodanababa

Address: 2-13 Takadanobaba | 2F Prime Gate, Shinjuku 169-0075, Tokyo Prefecture

6. Kani miso

Kanimiso gunkanmaki
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Arashiyama used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Kani miso is quintessentially Japanese. This delicacy holds true to the Japanese belief of using every part of the fish - including the bits most people would typical throw away. Kani miso isn’t actually miso, but it is named as such because of how similar this bizarre food looks to miso paste. Kani miso is actually crab guts, and you can find it as a topping in gunkan maki sushi. You will find kani miso sushi at many sushi restaurants, but it is more commonly served in restaurants that specialize in crab meat. When we say guts we really mean guts. Kani miso is any part of the crab that’s left over other than the meat, so kani miso is actually intestines, pancreas and even brain. However, if you love Japanese crab like king crab and hairy crab, you certainly have to give kani miso a try, too.

Kanidouraku Dotonbori

Address: 1-6-18 Dotonbori, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0071, Osaka Prefecture

7. Torisashi sushi

Chicken Sashimi
Source: Photo by Flickr user Donal Mountain used under CC BY-ND 2.0

This one is really not for the faint of heart. Raw chicken sushi? Could you possibly imagine such a thing? Don’t worry. It’s completely safe to eat in Japan because of the incredibly strict food handling and preparation standards in the country. You can find torisashi sushi in many upscale yakitori shops in Tokyo.

Akira

Address: 1-10-23 Nakameguro Meguro Tokyo

Website: Akira

8. Insect sushi

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Japanese people aren’t particularly fond of eating insects. It’s one of the few countries in Asia were eating bugs is not common place. There are some Japanese delicacies made of bugs such as inago, but it will take some work to find. If you want to eat bugs on your sushi the best place to look is actually outside of Japan. Sushi Mazi in Portland has combined inago with nigiri to create a sushi that is topped with grasshopper.

Sushi Mazi

Address: 2126 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202-1243

9. Kit Kat sushi

KitKat Sushi
Source: Photo by Flickr user Katexic Clippings... used under CC BY 2.0

There is a new Kit Kat shop in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, and to celebrate the grand opening of the store they created a special promotion of Kit Kat sushi. The Kit Kat was place on a Rice Krispie treat and it looked surprisingly like actual sushi. There was raspberry flavor which looked like tuna, a mascarpone cheese flavor which looked like uni, and pumpkin pudding that looked like tamago. It was a limited time promotion, but hopefully it comes back in the future.

Kit Kat Chocolatory

Address: 1 Chome-28-1 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo 171-8569, Japan

Website: Kit Kat Chocolatory

10. Sea squirt sushi

Sea Pineapple Sashimi
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jpatokal used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Sea squirt, aka sea cucumber or sea pineapple, is one of the most bizarre seafoods in the world. You can find it in Japan, but this raw delicacy is more common in Korea. In Japan it’s called Hoya, and it has a very weird taste that takes a lot of getting used to. It is often described as tasting like iodine. Hoya is popular in Iwate prefecture.

Sushi Kappotaisho

Address: 9 Jiwari 54-25 Ekarinai Dai, Iwate-gun, Iwate-machi 028-4303, Iwate Prefecture

Sushi around the globe

Sushi Toppings
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user EHRENBERG Kommuni... used under CC BY-SA 2.0

So there you have it, a guide to exploring the weird and wonderful world of sushi, far beyond Japan!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Rob Cramer is a Canadian writer and travel enthusiast who loves to sample exotic food from all over the world. He spends most of his time traveling throughout Asia sampling bizarre delicacies like...Read more

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