For sushi or sashimi lovers galore, this might be an easy answer for you. But for those that are new to the Japanese style of eating raw fish, nigiris, or rolls, may not know what the difference is between these similar– yet different– classifications of this simple yet complex dish. So, sushi vs sashimi… What’s the difference?
Sushi, the more popular of the two, does not actually equate to having raw fish at all– in fact, the name doesn’t even suggest it! Sushi can be translated to mean “sour tasting”, though the kanji depiction of sushi, “寿司” do not correlate to the translation. In regards to the kanji, however, you rarely see sushi written this way– more often one will see it in its Hiragana form, “すし”.
But, yes, sushi does not have to contain raw fish at all! In fact, the two most important components that distinguishes sushi from sashimi are the vinegared rice and seaweed (nori). Some sushi just have fish and possibly other components that are pressed over the rice, called nigiri, and some are made into rolls. Basically, anything that has anything to do with any type of ingredient rolled, pressed, or put on vinegared rice would be considered sushi.
Sashimi, on the other hand, is a different story: while sushi can still be sushi even without fish (kappa maki, anyone?), sashimi is entirely raw slices of fish, sliced thinly. Sashimi does not contain any rice, other ingredients, or anything other than fish in its dish, and is usually raw tuna, salmon, mackerel, scallop, or sea urchin (uni).
When ordering sashimi, the sides that accompany the fish could include pickled ginger, wasabi, shredded daikon (winter radish), lemon, sliced cucumber, and soy sauce. All of these are to enhance the taste of the fish, not to overpower it. Sometimes other toppings such as sesame seeds or scallions with a soy sauce marinade may be used (like ahi poke), but true, pure sashimi only consists of the fish without anything added to it.
So, did you know the difference between sushi and sashimi? Now that you do (or if you already did), you can now go to your local sushi restaurant and indulge in some tasty Japanese cuisine!.. And know what’s sushi and what’s sashimi. 🙂