How is Korean Sushi Different from Japanese Sushi?

How is Korean Sushi Different from Japanese Sushi?

Although they might seem almost indistinguishable from one another, there is a Korean version of sushi to go along with its native Japanese counterpart. Let’s learn about Korean sushi!

Although they might seem almost indistinguishable from one another, there is a Korean version of sushi to go along with its native Japanese counterpart. Thus, you might be wondering, what sets the two apart? Come along with us on a delicious journey of discovery as we strive to define the differences between Korean sushi and Japanese sushi. Let’s learn about Korean sushi!

Korean Sushi at a Glance

One of the most distinctive ingredients of Japanese sushi is the use of ginger and wasabi as condiments. Korean sushi has something similar, but the wasabi is replaced with gochujang hot pepper paste. This fermented sauce gives you a comparable heat level, but it won’t clear out your sinuses. Instead of the ginger, you’ll find kimchi, spicy pickled cabbage, served with your meal. Also, you’ll see lotus root, salmon, and sesame oil as common ingredients. The most popular form of Korean sushi is gimbap, “seaweed rice”, which contains these fillings:


  • kimchi,

  • eggs,

  • carrots,

  • spinach,

  • beef

Variants of Korean Sushi

Although it is the most common, gimbap isn’t the only variant of Korean sushi. You will also find little gimbap rolls, kimchi rolls, and pineapple tuna rolls. Korean sushi owes its existence to the Japanese influence that came from the time when Japan ruled Korea during the early 20th century. The Koreans prize freshly caught fish and well-cooked rice that isn’t quickly prepared – which isn’t much different from the way the Japanese revere their cooking methods. Ultimately, the difference is the way that Korean sushi chefs put their unique spin on the proceedings with toppings and fillings that are distinctly Korean.

Japanese Sushi at a Glance

Japanese sushi has been around for centuries, since at least the 2nd century BCE. Back then, fish was fermented with salt to keep it tasty until lunchtime for the workers in the rice paddies. Seaweed, rice, and fish are the key ingredients, but modern twists on the original variations have produced unlikely rolls involving mayonnaise, cream cheese, hot dogs, shrimp, and avocados.  

Variants of Japanese Sushi

Chirashi sushi, which includes shiitake mushrooms and lotus root, is both crunchy and flavorful, which you might not expect from just the name alone. If that doesn’t sound appetizing to you, you could always try onigirazu, a sushi sandwich that is a bigger pieceof seaweed and wouldn’t be that much different than a flatbread sandwich except that tofu, spinach, and avocado are more common fillings instead of meat, hummus, and yogurt sauce.

Get All Your Asian Groceries at Lotte Plaza Market

Lotte Plaza Market is your one-stop shop for all of your Korean and Asian grocery needs. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to serve our customers better. Since we opened in 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at


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