Gomasio is classified as a Furikake or not
“Gomasio (ごま塩, 胡麻塩)”, also written as Gomashio using Roman letters, is a traditional Japanese seasoning consisting of parched black sesame seeds and salt with a color combination of black and white, as “Goma (ごま, 胡麻)” means sesame and “Sio (塩)” means salt in Japanese.
It is usually sold alongside Furikake seasonings in the Furikake section of Japanese grocery stores. So I wondered whether Gomasio is classified as a Furikake or not, and did some research online.
The Difference: Gomasio vs Furikake
According to the article “胡麻塩” on Wikipedia Japan, it seems that Gomasio is categorized as a seasoning different from Furikake.
In fact, while Gomasio is made out of unhulled black sesame seeds parched with salt, Furikake can be made from various ingredients made into mini dry flakes which include meat, fish, eggs, seaweed, and sesame seeds.
As I wrote in this article, there are 2 basic ways to prepare Gomashio, but usually it is made only using black sesame seeds and salt.
On the other hand, since the combination of ingredients for Furikake is unlimited, in supermarkets in Japan there are a large variety of Furikake available, and on the Japanese internet, there are tons of Furikake recipes posted by cooking enthusiasts which include this and this.
Gomasio is most commonly used for Sekihan red rice or in Onigiri or Nigirimeshi rice balls, and sometimes used as a substitute for Furikake. This is why it is usually sold in the Furikake aisle of Japanese groceries.
Meanwhile, Furikake is known as Japanese rice seasoning and is used by sprinkling, particularly over steamed plain rice. But it can also be used as a common seasoning or condiment like this.