What is a gunkan?

Gunkan literally means ” Battleship ” and consists of a small oval ball of sushi rice wrapped in a band of nori seaweed and topped with various ingredients. 

It is a delicious form of sushi that is quick and easy to make and looks great at any sushi dinner!

Gunkan Zalmkuit

How did gunkan sushi originate?

This delicious form of sushi was invented in 1941 at the legendary Kyubey sushi restaurant in the Japanese capital of Tokyo. It is a variation of a nigiri and is mainly used with ingredients that did not stick to the rice. Gunkan means “battleship” or “warship” in Japanese.

Gunkanmaki sushi are shaped like small “boats” and are made of nori, a small amount of sushi rice on the bottom and a topping such as salmon tartare, tuna tartare or salmon eggs. The nori sheet holds the topping in place and voila: A new popular form of sushi was born!

Sushi Gunkan is usually served as 2 pieces per order. By the way, the filling of this sushi is not always fish or seafood. It can also be vegetables, such as corn, fresh cucumber and finely chopped carrots. Great to make this form of sushi for when you want to serve vegan sushi.

How do you eat a gunkan sushi?

If you want to eat a gunkan completely according to etiquette, you start by passing a slice of ginger through the soy sauce and then gently brushing it over the topping ingredients. After all, you don’t want to dip your gunkan with the rice in the soy sauce. This actually causes both the flavor and texture of the sushi rice to be affected. A waste of all that fine work by the sushi chef.

As with a nigiri, you want only the topping to get a touch of soy sauce and not the rice.

Next comes the question: Do I grab the piece of sushi with my hands or use chopsticks? Basically, it doesn’t make much difference. Just what you like best. Even in the most expensive sushi restaurants in Japan, you see guests eating with their hands.

I always pick up a gunkan nice and easy with my hands and then gently dip a little in the soy sauce. Oh so delicious!


How to make a gunkan?

The nice thing about making a gunkan sushi is that it is relatively easy and looks incredibly decorative on a bowl full of sushi. So highly recommended to make.

Do you want to know how to do it? Then start soon with my ‘Basic sushi making course’ in which I teach you how to make this delicious gunkan. 

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