Sushi vs. Sashimi: What’s the Difference (2023)

Sashimi and Sushi are two delicious Japanese delicacies, however, they’re often confused with each other.

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Both of these dishes contain raw fish and are usually served with a soy dipping sauce.

However, there are many differences between the two dishes, and in this article, we’ll be outlining 5 vital differences between the two.

What Does Sushi and Sashimi Mean?

The Japanese word ‘su’ means vinegar and ‘shi’ comes from the Japanese word ‘meshi’, meaning rice.

So ‘sushi’ roughly translates to ‘vinegared rice.’ ‘Sashi’ on the other hand, means to pierce or stick, while ‘mi’ refers to meat, so Sashimi translates to ‘pierced boy’, which was probably derived from the practice of serving fish meat alongside the fin and tail, in order to identify the meat being eaten.

What is Sushi?

Sushi can be made from raw or cooked fish, and some variations may feature different types of vegetables rather than seafood.

There are lots of variations in how the ingredients and the rice can be combined, however, ultimately, sushi needs to have rice in order to be classed as “sushi.”

What is Sashimi?

Sashimi refers to how the food is served, and the dish primarily consists of fresh and raw fish sliced into thin pieces and served alongside a dipping soy sauce. Sashimi on the other hand doesn’t contain rice.

(Video) Learn The Difference Between Sushi, Sashimi and Maki

Sashimi is usually raw sliced seafood, although occasionally it can be made out of other meat, like slices of raw beef or horse.

Sometimes the seafood is cooked, as in the case of octopus sashimi, while others might be lightly seared, like katsuo.

How is Sushi and Sashimi Served?

Sushi is frequently eaten by itself, though it is often served alongside a Japanese soy sauce called ‘shoyu’, which the sushi is dipped in or drizzled with.

Sashimi, on the other hand, is only served with a dipping sauce. Sometimes the soy sauce is mixed with wasabi paste, which is not usually done with sushi.

You’ll often find that the sliced seafood is served atop a garnish, usually white radish, which is known as Daikon radish.

Sushi and Sashimi Nutrition

Don’t get us wrong - both Sushi and Sashimi are relatively healthy, as fish is a great source of protein. On average a piece of Sashimi will contain in the region of 20 to 60 calories depending on the type.

Sushi rolls can be far more calorific, ranging from 200 to 500 calories. A piece of Nigirizushi will usually contain between 40 to 60 calories.

It’s the rice that contains the most calories in sushi, as this is mixed with vinegar and salt, but also a good amount of sugar, which is what ramps up the calorie content.

However, Sashimi is the healthier of the two, as quite often sushi can contain fried ingredients or mayonnaise, which adds to the fat content, as well as the white rice and sugar.

Sashimi is simpler and is mostly just fresh, raw fish. You can ensure sushi is as healthy as possible by making it with brown rice and non-fried, fresh ingredients.

Sushi and Sashimi Quality

Both sushi and sashimi are most commonly made from seafood, and this is the defining ingredient of both dishes.

Both dishes make use of seafood such as salmon (sake), yellowtail (kanpachi / hamachi), scallop (hotate), or octopus (tako).

However, sashimi also uses more expensive, highly-prized seafood which makes the dish more unique.

These include pufferfish (fugu) or the higher grades of tuna (Maguro). Tuna is usually categorized into three grades: Akami (lowest fat / lowest quality), Chutoro (medium fat/medium quality), and Otoro (highest fat / highest quality).

(Video) The Difference Between Sushi, Sashimi, and Maki - with Michael

While you may easily find Akami sushi - which is of the lowest quality - you’ll rarely stumble upon Otoro sushi. However, all grades of tuna (Maguro) are commonly prepared as sashimi.

Sashimi types

The most common variation in Sashimi is the type of seafood or meat used, but there are also variations in how the meat is cut.

How the meat is cut actually depends on what meat you order, as the cut will depend on the properties and texture of the meat.

The most common is the hira-zukuri cut. This involves cutting the meat into a rectangular slice that is roughly 2 inches by 1 inch and about 3/8 inches thick.

You’ll also see thinner cuts, for example, pufferfish is usually sliced so thin you can see through it, whereas other types of fish may be cut into small cubes.

Sushi types

There are far more variations of sushi, and here are a few of the main ones:


This is the type of sushi you probably picture as soon as you hear the word ‘sushi’ - it usually contains salmon or squid inside a ball of vinegared rice.


This is some sushi rice wrapped with seaweed in a cup shape, then filled with ingredients like roe.

Makizushi (a.k.a norimaki)

Makizushi is when the rice and ingredients are wrapped up in seaweed (nori).

It’s sometimes shortened to “maki”, and this is the second most common sushi in the west, usually resembling a “sushi roll.”

There are several variations of Makizushi:

Uramaki – A relatively new version of makizushi, this is when the ingredients are wrapped in nori and then in rice.

Futomaki – These are thick rolls with seaweed on the outside and lots of ingredients stuffed inside.

Hosomaki – These are thinner rolls and are more like a mini sushi roll. They have seaweed on the outside, but few ingredients inside.

(Video) What is the difference between nigiri and sashimi

Temaki – This is when the sushi is rolled into a cone shape, resembling a miniature ice cream cone.


Inarizushi is sushi rice packed into a fried tofu pouch, which resembles a little bag with all the ingredients stuffed inside.


This is a dish best suited to those who can’t make up their mind. It’s a bowl of sushi rice topped with a selection of Sashimi, so you get the best of both worlds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between sushi and nigiri?

Nigiri is a variation of sushi. Sushi refers to rice prepared with vinegar, served with additional ingredients such as raw fish or vegetables. Sushi is a traditional Japanese cuisine, and it comes in a wide range.

Nigiri is a thin slice of raw fish, draped over the flavored vinegar rice. It’s a small item, able to be picked up easily with two fingers or chopsticks. Nigiri isn’t rolled, instead it’s laid flat and served chilled.

The flavor of the fish combines with the rice, to make a delicious bite sized dish. The best nigiri is traditionally made of firmer fish such as salmon, bluefin tuna, and halibut. Nigiri is often confused with sashimi, but they’re different.

Sashimi also uses raw fish, but without the important addition of rice. Where rice is a foundation of nigiri, it isn’t used at all in sashimi.

What is sushi vs sashimi vs maki?

Sushi, sashimi, and maki are all different terms, even if some use them interchangeably.

Importantly, maki is a type of sushi, where sashimi is not. Sushi is vinegared rice, served with raw fish or vegetables. There’s a lot of variety within sushi.

Maki is one of the most popular forms of sushi, and what many of us picture when we hear the word sushi. Maki is made of fish or vegetables, layered onto sushi rice, and rolled in sheets of seaweed nori.

It’s similar in ingredients to nigiri, but nigiri is served flat. Rice is an essential part of any form of sushi, and what sets sashimi apart is that it doesn’t contain rice.

Instead, sashimi is thin slices of raw fish or meat, generally served with soy sauce. All options are nutritious, and often low calorie. Not to mention they taste fantastic.

(Video) What’s the Difference Between Sashimi and Sushi: Don't Eat Before You Watch Full Video

Is the salmon in sushi raw?

Yes, the salmon in sushi is normally raw (although some restaurants do serve sushi with cooked salmon). Thinly sliced raw salmon has a unique texture, which almost melts in the mouth.

Combined with the seasoned sushi rice, this makes a fantastic flavor profile. The salmon is safe to eat because of the way it’s cooked and frozen.

The salmon used is specifically labelled ‘sushi-grade’, to show that it’s safe to be eaten raw. Salmon used for sushi is caught and bled quickly, and gutted soon after. It’s then iced, and either flash frozen or frozen for a long period of time. This is done to kill parasites, so the fish can be eaten raw.

For those unsure about eating raw salmon, it’s similar in texture to smoked salmon. The thin slices are bite size, very different to the fillets you may be used to.

What is the difference between sashimi and raw salmon?

Raw salmon is used in sashimi, but that’s not all sashimi is. The salmon used for sashimi is ‘sushi grade’, meaning it’s been gutted and frozen in a way to eliminate parasites and make it safe to eat.

The salmon is then thinly sliced, and served as is with a dab of soy sauce as a flavor enhancer. Raw fillets of salmon that are commonly found in supermarkets don’t go through the same freezing process, needing to be cooked longer to kill the parasites.

Sashimi isn’t exclusively salmon, although salmon is a popular option. Sashimi refers to any type of thinly sliced and uncooked fish, and even meat.

The most common sashimi is salmon or tuna, but octopus, squid, and shrimp are also popular. There are meat varieties of sashimi, but these will often be boiled or braised to ensure safety.

Final Verdict

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the differences between Sushi and Sashimi.

While both are much-loved Japanese delicacies, there are several differences between the two, and it can be helpful to know these before trying Japanese food or dining at your favorite sushi restaurant.

The main difference between Sushi and Sashimi is that while they both contain seafood as their main ingredient, Sushi contains vinegared rice, and without this, it cannot be classed as sushi.

Sashimi is usually served on a garnish and can feature higher quality ingredients than Sushi, which can mean it’s sometimes more expensive.

Sushi can also contain ingredients such as sugar or mayonnaise, which makes it a slightly unhealthier choice than Sashimi, even though it primarily contains fish.

Ultimately both of these dishes are delicious and we’d encourage you to try a selection of both Sashimi and Sushi next time you visit a Japanese restaurant.

(Video) JAPANESE SASHIMI & SUSHI( comparison and differences in between )

For more great sushi ideas and fish recipes visithow long is sushi good for,Boston Roll sushi,differences between sashimi and sushi,dragon roll ingredients, andNigiri vs Sashimi.

Also check out thebest noodles for ramen,best white rice brands,alternatives to Arborio rice, and if you're looking for great recipe tryEasy Thai noodles.

We hope this article better prepares you for identifying the differences between Sushi and Sashimi next time you’re sat at a conveyor belt with a myriad of Japanese foods passing you by!


What is the difference between sushi and sashimi? ›

Sushi combines vinegared rice, various fillings like veggies or seafood, and seaweed. Sashimi is made from thinly sliced raw meat or fish and served without rice or other accompaniments.

What is the difference between sushi grade and sashimi grade? ›

Sushi grade fish (or sashimi grade) is an unregulated term used to identify fish deemed safe for raw consumption. Most fish vendors will use the term "sushi grade" to indicate which of their supply is the freshest, highest quality, and treated with extra care to limit the risk of food-borne illnesses.

What is the difference between sushi and sashimi and nigiri? ›

Nigiri is similar to sushi in that it contains rice and is similar to sashimi in that it contains raw seafood. However, unlike sushi, nigiri does not contain extra ingredients or seaweed, and unlike sashimi, it contains vinegar rice. It is only raw seafood served over rice.

Why is it called sashimi? ›

The word sashimi means "pierced body", i.e. "刺身" = sashimi, where 刺 し = sashi (pierced, stuck) and 身 = mi (body, meat). This word dates from the Muromachi period and was possibly coined when the word "切る" = kiru (cut), the culinary step, was considered too inauspicious to be used by anyone other than samurai.

Is sashimi just sushi without rice? ›

Because sashimi is not, technically, a form of sushi at all. Yes, it involves raw fish – but it does not include rice of any kind. Rice is an essential component for sushi. Sashimi, on the other hand, translates to “pierced body” or “pierced meat”.

Does sashimi mean you can eat it raw? ›

So when you see a piece of fish labeled sushi- or sashimi-grade, that means that the seller has judged it safe to eat raw.

What is sushi without fish called? ›

10. California Roll (Sushi With No Raw Fish)

Although the sushi lacks the freshness of raw seafood, it is still very palatable, especially when enjoyed with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi.

Is sashimi just raw salmon? ›

Not to be confused with sushi, sashimi is thinly sliced raw meat, usually fish, such as salmon or tuna, typically served without rice, to enable consumers to taste the full flavour. For fresh salmon to qualify as sashimi grade, the fish has to meet a range of strict criteria to qualify as “ready to eat raw”.

Is eating sashimi healthy? ›

Sashimi is very healthy given that it is predominantly made of protein and contains omega-3 fatty acids and other essential vitamins. Given that it is not cooked with sauces and oil and is only dipped in soy sauce, which is a very low-calorie condiment, this is one of the cleanest meals you can have when eating out.

What is the sushi without rice called? ›

Technically, sashimi isn't a type of sushi because it contains no rice. We're including it in our sushi guide because it plays an important role in Japanese cuisine. Sashimi is thinly sliced fish or meat, often served raw. It can be any type of meat, but fish and seafood are the most common types of sashimi.

Is sashimi just the fish? ›

Sashimi refers to just slices of very fresh fish or meat served raw, often over a bed of shredded daikon radish. Contrary to popular belief, sashimi is not sushi, even though you will always find sashimi on the menu at all sushi places.

What does sashimi mean? ›

: a Japanese dish of thinly sliced raw fish.

Is sushi just raw fish? ›

Raw fish by itself is sashimi. Sushi is essentially anything combined with vinegar-seasoned rice (raw fish being just one). But many seafood sushi toppings are seared, partially cooked, or fully cooked. Eel, shrimp, octopus, clams, and crab are all fully cooked at least a significant portion of the time.

What is sashimi called in Japan? ›

Sashimi (刺身) is thinly sliced, raw food. It is one of the most famous dishes in the Japanese cuisine. Seafood is most commonly eaten as sashimi, but other meats (such as beef, horse and deer) and foods (such as yuba tofu skin and konnyaku) can also be served as sashimi.

Why is sushi more expensive than sashimi? ›

The price. Sushi and sashimi are both relatively affordable dishes, but sushi is typically cheaper than sashimi. This is because sushi is made with rice, which is a cheaper ingredient than fish. Sashimi, on the other hand, is made entirely of fish or seafood, which can be quite expensive.

Can you eat sashimi without wasabi? ›

What to do if you don't like wasabi? Although the traditional way of eating sushi is with wasabi, you don't need to use extra. Many sushi rolls already have a small amount of wasabi n them so extra is not needed. If you don't like soy sauce, now, that's a different story.

How do people eat sashimi without getting sick? ›

Another danger of eating sashimi is bacteria. Raw fish can contain bacteria that can cause food poisoning. To avoid this, make sure to buy sashimi from a reputable source and cook it properly. Freezing the fish for 24 hours will also kill any bacteria that may be present.

Is sashimi ever cooked? ›

Sashimi is thinly sliced raw meat—usually fish, such as salmon or tuna—that is served without rice. Sushi is not raw fish, but rather vinegared rice that is mixed with other ingredients, which may or may not include raw fish. Is it cooked? No, always raw.

What happens if you eat a lot of sashimi? ›

It's possible to get an infectious disease when eating raw fish in sushi or sashimi. These could be caused by a worm, like anisakiasis, or a bacteria, such as Salmonella or listeriosis. Many of these infections can cause digestive symptoms, including diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Why is salmon not sushi? ›

Salmon was used to fill out cheap meals. It was never used in the traditional Edo-mae style of sushi or eaten raw because of the Pacific salmon's tendency for carrying infections by parasites. It would have quite pretty risky to consume salmon raw before modern refrigeration and aquaculture techniques were available.

What is vegetable only sushi called? ›

Maki-zushi Vegan Sushi

The sushi is then sliced evenly to reveal its fillings. Kappa maki-cucumber roll-is a safe bet for vegetarians and vegan sushi-eaters, with a slice of cucumber wrapped in a thin roll of rice and seaweed. This is a popular starter or palate cleanser for the regular sushi diner.

Can I eat frozen tuna raw? ›

Raw tuna is generally safe to eat if it has been frozen to kill parasites in accordance with FDA guidelines.

Can you eat tuna raw without freezing? ›

All meats and seafood pose this risk before they're cooked, which is why it's recommended to cook food to the temperature high enough to kill the bacteria. Raw tuna, in particular, can run the risk of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, a study published in March 2016 in Foods found.

Can you cook sashimi? ›

Pan-fry the sashimi on both sides until golden brown (be careful not to overcook). Once both sides of the fish are browned, swirl in the soy sauce, turn up the heat to high and coat the fish. Transfer the fish onto a serving plate, sprinkle with your favorite toppings and it's done.

Can you eat shrimp raw? ›

Due to the risk of food poisoning, raw shrimp are considered unsafe to eat. Shrimp is a nutritious and popular shellfish. However, eating them raw is not recommended, as it may increase your risk of food poisoning.

What is the healthiest raw fish? ›

According to Seafood Watch, here are six fish that are healthy for you and the planet.
  1. Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the US or British Columbia) ...
  2. Salmon (wild-caught, Alaska) ...
  3. Oysters (farmed) ...
  4. Sardines, Pacific (wild-caught) ...
  5. Rainbow Trout (farmed) ...
  6. Freshwater Coho Salmon (farmed in tank systems, from the US)
16 Nov 2018

Can human digest raw fish? ›

For most healthy people who choose to eat raw or undercooked seafood, it may only pose a small health risk but for others the risk can be severe. Foodborne illness can result in severe vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, among other symptoms.

When should you not eat sashimi? ›

But pregnant people, children under 5, adults over 65, and people who have health conditions or take medication that weaken their immune system should avoid raw fish because they're at higher risk for foodborne illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Which sashimi is healthiest? ›

Each piece of sashimi is quite similar in terms of calories, but Salmon Roe technically wins here with 21 calories, 1g fat, and 3g protein. If eating salmon eggs is not your style, the sea bass, red snapper, flounder, and any other white fish will be great options.

Can I eat sashimi once a week? ›

"You should moderate your consumption of these types of fish in sashimi, nigiri or otherwise," Martin says. "I wouldn't eat these fish more than twice a week." On the other hand, Martin says maki sushi—those rolls you love oh-so-much—are often made from fish that are much lower in mercury content...

Should sashimi be eaten in one bite? ›

Smaller pieces like nigiri and sashimi should be eaten in one bite, but larger American-style rolls may need to be eaten in two or more bites. Chew the sushi completely, allowing the flavor to coat the inside of your mouth. If you're drinking sake along with your sushi, now is a good time to take a sip.

What is the point of sashimi? ›

Sashimi is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of a raw assortment of thinly sliced fish. And if you're a fish purist, it doesn't get much better for you than sashimi. Unlike sushi, the sashimi dish cuts out 95% of the fluff… and a huge number of empty calories.

Why is a California roll not sushi? ›

"The California roll is not Japanese sushi because it was created for the convenience of American diners," she said. "We call it 'sushi,' but that's another dish."

What is fried sushi called? ›

Tempura rolls are basically deep fried maki or uramaki rolls. Tempura itself is basically a method of frying fish or vegetables in a light batter made of flour, water, and eggs. In other words, the western love of deep fried everything has even made it to the sushi world.

What is it called when sushi is wrapped in cucumber? ›

This type of sushi is called Gunkan or Gunkan Maki in Japanese.

Is shrimp a sashimi? ›

While the more familiar types of sashimi might be sleek slices of salmon or tuna, it includes a massive number of different types of fish and seafood. And among the seafood known for making great sashimi is shrimp.

Why is sashimi safe? ›

But the truth is, your sushi and sashimi are as safe as ever. The FDA mandates that fish to be eaten raw in the U.S. is frozen first, which kills parasites like tapeworms. (This is one of the reasons it's really good to have the FDA.)

How do Japanese eat sashimi? ›

Sashimi (slices of raw fish) is typically eaten with chopsticks, but the traditional way to eat sushi (items served on rice) is by lifting a piece between your thumb and middle finger.

Is sashimi in sushi? ›

No, sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish or meat, served without rice, while sushi is focused on the rice, with raw or cooked ingredients added. As sashimi is raw fish or meat with no rice, it has to be eaten using chopsticks. Whereas sushi can be easily picked up and eaten with your fingers.

Why is it OK to eat sashimi? ›

Hence, no governing body regulates it. But one thing is sure though— sashimi -grade is fish that has been frozen to at least –4ºF (–20ºC) or below before being sold. Hence, it helps indicate that the fish is safe to consume raw.

What is raw tuna called? ›

Sashimi is specifically raw—and fresh—seafood, like tuna or salmon. Most sashimi is made from saltwater dwellers because freshwater fish have higher risks of parasites. Sashimi is usually served thinly sliced on a bed of daikon, sans rice.

Can any fish be sashimi? ›

At its most basic, sashimi is something raw, sliced and served. It can be anything - beef, scallops, even chicken - and by far the most popular sashimi is seafood. Almost any fish can be eaten as sashimi. In Australia, tuna, salmon and kingfish are commonly used for sashimi in Japanese restaurants.

Can you eat too much sashimi? ›

According to CNN, eating sushi more than six times a week can lead to mercury poisoning. Mercury is a heavy metal that can cause severe neurological problems. Mercury exists in high levels in tuna (especially bluefin), mackerel, yellowtail, swordfish and sea bass.

Why do I have diarrhea after eating sashimi? ›

Raw and undercooked fish can contain larvae of a roundworm called Anisakis. The larvae don't survive long in humans. But while present, they attach to the lining of the stomach and small intestine, where they can cause sudden abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Why can't some people eat sashimi? ›

However, for healthy people, the risk of food poisoning from eating raw fish is generally small. People with weak immune systems, such as the elderly, young children and HIV patients, are more susceptible to infections. These high-risk groups should avoid raw meat and fish.

Can you bite sashimi? ›

Both sashimi and sushi must be eaten in one bite. If the piece is too big, do not be afraid to ask the chef to cut it in half for you (although a proper sushi chef would adjust the size of each piece according to the customer). 11.


1. Basic 3 types Sashimi and the Difference / Tips from Sushi Chef
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