Types of Sashimi
I spent my 20's living by the ocean. Whenever friends came to visit, we inevitably when out for seafood. One of the best parts of living on the coast is the full availability of fresh seafood. While I love seafood, it's not often that I get friends that want sashimi and sushi, which is one of my favorites. Sashimi involves raw, uncooked seafood, which can be a turn off for many novice seafood eaters.
Luckily when I met my partner, he shared in my joy of seafood in all forms cooked and raw. He and I spent many months sampling and tasting the many Japanese restaurants in our area, searching for the perfect sashimi.
One summer, my best friends from high school came to visit me to meet my boyfriend. My boyfriend loves sashimi, so he took us to our favorite sushi restaurant.
We had spent months trying and discovering sushi and sashimi in our community. The thing about sushi restaurants is that they all tend to be very similar. Often their menus and advertising are even the same! Japanese chains are growing in popularity, and they offer great tasting food, but if you're looking for unique dishes, Japanese chain restaurants will not provide much in terms of unique cuisine.
We found that sometimes the best places for food in general and especially sashimi were the tiny hole in the wall establishments. Sometimes the most beautiful and fantastic tasting sashimi came from small restaurants hidden in outdated buildings and maybe didn't focus on advertising or outside decor.
We thought it would be funny to bring our friends to one such Japanese restaurant. We knew they would be expecting a Japanese chain restaurant. So, when we pulled up to a dive, they were caught off guard. I could tell that they were worried about eating raw seafood at a dive bar, but having been there several times myself, I knew they would love it.
Places that gather attention for being hidden gems get their advertising through word of mouth. When a restaurant is fantastic, that word travels fast. This Japanese restaurant hides in the back of a run-down strip mall. With minimal signage and almost no online presence, it's hard to know if you're pulling up to the right restaurant. The way you know a restaurant is the real deal is from local reviews and local recommendations.
We walked our friends through the door and into a tiny eight table restaurant with a dark ambiance and traditional Japanese decor. We sat down at the sushi bar and wined and dined my friends with an amazing sushi and sashimi experience. The chef and owner transformed pieces of fresh seafood into culinary works of art that were hard to dismantle and eat because they were so beautiful.
My friends were impressed with the food and my boyfriend for finding such a hidden secret.
Sashimi is a cultural and culinary tradition in Japan. Sashimi is not only slices of raw fish but instead a piece of culinary art composed of fresh and meticulously sliced pieces of fish onto the plate. The sashimi chef creates delicious meals arranged in beautiful designs for his guests to enjoy.
If you get the chance, don't miss out on the opportunity to sit down at a sushi counter and watch the chef create sashimi art.
Sashimi involves a wide variety of fish cut into delicate pieces and arranged artfully onto the place. The beautiful thing about sashimi is that even one type of fish can taste different depending on the knife techniques used by the chef.
Here we will explore the art of sashimi and the varieties of fish sashimi chefs and artists used to craft these beautiful culinary creations.
What is Sashimi?
The word "sashimi" in Japanese means "cut body." The key to sashimi is the knife and skills of the artists. Japanese chefs spend years crafting their talents and technique when creating sashimi.
Sashimi is fresh, high-quality, raw seafood cut and arranged by trained sashimi chefs. The taste and texture of the fish can change depending on the knife techniques used by the chef.
In Japan, sashimi is widely available at both upscale and local sushi restaurants. Some sashimi is even so popular it's served regularly at street food vendors. You can find sushi and sashimi in most Japanese restaurants in the United States, but if you want to find true sashimi artists, you will need to do some research and some digging to find local favorites.
There are several favorite sashimi fish. Sashimi comes in a wide variety of kinds of seafood and often more than one type of fish on a single plate. The most popular types of sashimi are tuna, salmon, and mackerel. You can also find shellfish and other kinds of fish on your plate such as scallops sashimi, crab sashimi, and even octopus sashimi.
When buying fish, sashimi-grade indicates that the fish is high-quality and fresh enough to be consumed raw like that in sashimi. Certain types of fish, like salmon, need to be frozen first before they can be considered sashimi grade. Freezing helps to prevent any potential build-up of bacteria in the fish.
Sashimi is fresh, high-quality, raw fish arranged on a plate, usually in a decorative manner. Most often found in Japanese sushi houses, sashimi has grown in popularity after sashimi artists began sharing their culinary sashimi art on popular social media platforms. Many sushi artists share photos of their creations since guests devour sashimi dishes so quickly.
Sashimi recipes incorporate raw or pickled vegetables that often add to the art of the dish. Chefs meticulously arrange the food on the plate to create designs or even scenes out of the sashimi. Daikon radish is most commonly served with sashimi.
Sashimi is expensive because of the high-quality seafood used in preparing sashimi dishes.
Sashimi-grade seafood is an excellent source of lean protein, vitamins, and minerals. When seeking healthy Japanese cuisine, sashimi is a top choice.
Calories in Sashimi:
Sashimi is usually low in calories as it is fresh, raw seafood served with fresh vegetables. Sashimi is high in protein and low in calories. One piece of sashimi is 30 calories. The fish used to create sashimi is high in vitamins and minerals. Sashimi calories often come from the sides served with sashimi, such as vinegar rice.
Sashimi is a healthy option for dining out if you avoid the side dishes (and the sake). Miso soup is an excellent side to enjoy with a plate of fresh sashimi.
There are many different types of sashimi, but first, let's discuss the difference between sashimi and sushi.
What is the Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi?
Sashimi is served at Japanese sushi houses or restaurants, and while similar, they are not the same dish. People often find sashimi, sushi, and nigiri sushi served side by side. Keep reading, and we can help you know the differences between the three dishes. You want to look like you know what you are talking about when ordering sashimi.
Sashimi vs. Sushi
Sushi or sushi rolls are a popular dish consisting of vinegar rice, vegetables, and fish rolled up in seaweed paper. With sushi, the fish can either be raw or cooked, and some sushi rolls are vegetarian with no fish at all. Japanese fusion is growing in popularity where non-traditional ingredients such as steak and fried chicken make their way into sushi rolls. In Japanese, the word sushi means vinegar rice, so the rice is the centerpiece of the sushi roll. Sushi comes with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and wasabi.
Sashimi is generally raw fish but can be raw meat or tofu as well. Sashimi uses fresh saltwater fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, octopus, scallop, and sea urchin. Sashimi is usually not served with other ingredients except for the occasional raw vegetables. Because of this, chefs take great care in the plating and presentation of sashimi. From this care grew the culture of sashimi art.
Nigiri vs. Sashimi
Nigiri is a type of sushi that is often confused for sashimi. Nigiri is raw slices of fish that lay on top of a ball of pressed vinegar rice. The most popular types of fish for nigiri are salmon, halibut, and yellowtail. While sushi can use raw or cooked fish, and even no fish at all, nigiri is always made with raw fish. People often confuse nigiri for sashimi when it's a form of sushi.
Different Kinds of Sashimi:
Knowing the difference between the various types of sashimi can help you with the extensive menus you often find at Japanese restaurants. If you're looking for sashimi only, it's essential to know the different varieties of sashimi available.
When ordering or making sashimi, it's important to remember that the fish's taste and texture are altered based on the knife techniques used in cutting the fish. We recommend that you keep an open mind when ordering sashimi—stepping outside of your comfort zone will open you up to endless possibilities for enjoying beautiful fresh fish.
Chefs prepare the best sashimi with only very fresh fish. If you find a sashimi chef carefully curating beautiful designs in their dishes, you can enjoy a culinary experience that touches on all of your senses, which makes for a charming dining experience.
Raw salmon sashimi will taste slightly buttery, and the salmon will melt in your mouth. For salmon to be sushi grade, it needs to be frozen first to eliminate any risk of parasites. Wild-caught and flash-frozen salmon will give you an excellent sashimi salmon taste and texture.
Knowing that your fish is treated well from the second it leaves the ocean can make you feel more confident to consume your fish raw. Sashimi-grade fish, including salmon, should be processed immediately on the boat and put over ice as quickly as possible to preserve the integrity and freshness of the fish.
The beautiful pink and red salmon color make it a popular fish for sashimi artists looking to add color and flavor to their designs.
Salmon Sashimi Calories:
Salmon sashimi nutrition is one of the more popular reasons to eat salmon sashimi. Salmon is high in vitamins and minerals and one of the best sources of omega-3 fish oils. One ounce of raw salmon has a mere 60 calories. Served with fresh vegetable salmon sashimi is a healthy, low calorie, and beautiful meal.
Tuna is another popular fish used in sashimi dishes. Tuna is one of the first types of fish used by Japanese chefs to create sashimi.
What is Tuna Sashimi?
Tuna sashimi recipes use Ahi (yellowfin), bluefin, skipjack, or albacore tuna. Albacore sashimi tastes much more delightful than the stuff you get in the can. Albacore tuna sashimi has the lightest flesh color and the mildest flavor of all the varieties of tuna. Raw tuna has a firm texture and slightly sweet tastes. When sliced thin, the beautiful colors of fresh tuna make a lovely addition to the design of a sashimi plate. Like any sashimi-grade fish, sashimi tuna should be very fresh and properly handled and processed for the healthiest and most delicious tuna sashimi.
The calories in tuna sashimi are also low making it an excellent choice for those looking to eat lean, low calorie, but delicious seafood dishes. With only 30 calories in one ounce of raw tuna, you can enjoy tuna sashimi at a Japanese restaurant while staying within your nutritional and health goals.
While tuna is much more popular, occasionally, you can find swordfish sashimi, which comes from the swordfish's belly meat.
Yellowtail is another popular fish used in Japanese sashimi making. Not to be confused with yellowfin or Ahi tuna, yellowtail fish is a fish native to the pacific oceans off of the coasts of Japan and Hawaii. Yellowtail in Japan and at Japanese restaurants is called Hamachi sashimi. Hamachi or yellowtail fish is lightly golden in color with pink or red streaks throughout the flesh. Yellowtail sashimi tastes smooth and buttery with a slightly smokey finish. Yellowtail sashimi adds beautiful streaks of white, gold, and pink to a sashimi art piece.
Octopus adds beautiful color and texture to a sashimi dish. The pure white flesh with red-tinged edges and multiple textures throughout the tentacles make octopus a popular choice for sashimi artists. Raw octopus has a firm, almost crunchy texture and a very mild taste. To avoid an overly chewy texture, sashimi artists and chefs slice octopus very thinly for octopus sashimi.
Red Snapper Sashimi:
Red snapper has a beautiful opaque white flesh with streaks of pink or red. Red snapper has a slightly sweet aroma and a mild flavor, making it a favorite for sushi and sashimi.
Red snapper is a lean white fish high in protein and Vitamins D and E. The slightly sweet and nutty flavor of red snapper and its beautiful color makes it a popular fish for sashimi.
Shrimp is generally one of the types of seafood that is not commonly consumed raw because of the risk of bacterial contamination. While not widely popular, some parts of Asia do consume carefully selected and prepared shrimp sashimi.
The more common version of shrimp sushi you will find is shrimp nigiri. The shrimp is par-boil, chilled, and carefully cut and placed on top of a ball of vinegar rice.
Shrimp has a slightly sweet flavor and delicate texture and is extremely popular in sushi and nigiri.
Mackerel is beautiful white fish sashimi with a stripe of red down the center of its flesh. Chefs server mackerel sashimi with the skin on the pieces of fish. Diners can eat the flesh raw and toast the skin over a flame to enjoy both the raw fish and the crispy salty skin. Depending on the knife and techniques used, mackerel can appear flakey or smooth, making it a versatile fish for sashimi artists to incorporate into their culinary works.
Mackerel has a rich flavor and smooth texture. When served very cold mackerel tends to be less fishy than its reputation would make you believe. Mackerel doesn't freeze well, so its best when eaten super fresh. Mackerel is also one of the most affordable types of fish, making it a popular sashimi choice for those who cannot afford the more rare and expensive varieties of sashimi.
Lobster doesn't grace the menu of every sashimi restaurant because it has to be live up until right before serving. Lobster sashimi is a popular treat at upscale sushi restaurants. Guests often get to choose their lobster out of a tank before it is brought back to the chef for preparation. If not served immediately, the lobster meat can toughen up as the muscle fibers tense up.
Raw lobster has a mild taste and a bit more of a bite to it than cooked lobster. Lobster is not for the faint of heart. Many sashimi chefs serve the lobster tail meat in the shell while the head of the lobster continues to move due to muscle contractions. While the lobster is no longer alive, the moving head gives the eater the appearance of eating the lobster while it is still alive.
Not all crab is suited for turning into fresh crab sashimi. Snow crab legs are widely popular in Japan and Japanese sushi restaurants for fresh crab sashimi. Snow crab is best when soaked in ice water right before plating to keep the crab meat tender.
Snow crab is extremely popular in Japan, and it's no surprise that snow crab is a typical fish used in sashimi, especially during snow crab season.
When looking to enjoying crab sashimi, make sure to call ahead as many restaurants require one- or two-days advance notice to plan for serving crab sashimi.
Raw scallops have a naturally sweet flavor and tender texture. Chefs must expertly clean and prepare scallops for scallop sashimi to avoid a sandy texture in your sashimi. Scallops have a round shape and natural white color and are slightly opaque when sliced thin. Sashimi artists love showing off their deft knife skills when creating sashimi art using freshly shucked scallops.
Hokkaido scallops are the most common variety of scallop used for sashimi. Hokkaido scallops have a firm texture with a sweet taste.
Halibut is a trendy white fish for sashimi. Halibut sashimi has a smooth, delicate texture and a mild taste. The flavor and texture of halibut are complimented by daikon radish, which is one of the most common vegetables served with sashimi.
As an affordable variety of fish, halibut sashimi is popular street food in Japan. One piece of halibut sashimi has only 30 calories. Halibut is a healthy and delicious sashimi fish.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Tuna Sashimi?
Tuna sashimi is one of the oldest and most popular forms of sashimi. Tuna sashimi can come from many varieties of tuna, including Ahi, bluefin, and albacore. Tuna is an excellent first fish for a beginner sashimi eater. Tuna sashimi has a firm texture, mild flavor, and beautiful color. Albacore tuna has the mildest flavor and texture of all varieties of tuna and is excellent in sashimi.
Tuna is popular with sashimi artists because it's beautiful color and texture. Tuna is one of the most popular varieties of fish for sashimi eaters.
How to Eat Sashimi?
Sashimi is served fresh and cold, usually with fresh or pickled vegetables. Sashimi fish can be eaten plain or dipped in soy sauce for added flavor. While you might have a hard time destroying the beautiful plating of a sashimi dish, enjoying fresh sashimi is a culinary experience you won't want to miss.
Sashimi is delicious served by itself, but if you're looking for a more filling meal, you may want to order a side of rice or miso soup with your sashimi order. If you are dining with good company, order several varieties of sashimi to experience all of the different tastes and textures of fresh seafood.
How to Cut Sashimi?
The key to artistically plated sashimi art is the knife skills of the preparer. Depending on the knife and the cutting technique, sashimi fish can take on different tastes and even textures. Sashimi artists practice for years to hone their skills with specialty sashimi knives. Sashimi artists and chefs are proud practitioners of a cultural and culinary art that started in Japan and has expanded globally. Sashimi chefs often develop signature styles in their sashimi art and serve specially curated vegetables and sauces with their sashimi.
If given the opportunity, we recommend you watch sashimi artists practice their craft. Hopefully, you can enjoy the tastes of their creations as well!
What Does Sashimi Mean?
In Japanese sashimi means "cut body." Sashimi is most commonly thinly slices pieces of raw fish served in an artfully plated manner. Sashimi can also be thin slices of raw meat, including beef and even chicken in some parts of Japan. Cold tofu is also a popular form of sashimi. In the United States, you will commonly come across fresh fish sashimi.
Sashimi art grew out of the great care Japanese chefs take in creating beautifully plated sashimi dishes. You can find sashimi artists creating iconic scenes and characters out of thinly sliced pieces of fresh fish.
Sashimi is a cultural and culinary tradition out of Japan, and its growing popularity is amplified by the availability of fresh and sustainably caught seafood.
How to Cut Tuna Sashimi?
Fresh tuna steaks or cuts from the top loin of the tuna make perfect sashimi slices. Find yourself a long thin sharp knife to prepare for cutting tuna sashimi. To cut tuna for sashimi, use long backward strokes with your damp sharpened blade. You can slice your tuna as thinly as you would like, but we would not recommend cutting any thicker than the width of your finger.
To amplify the flavor of your fresh tuna sashimi, dip your tuna sashimi slices in soy sauce right before eating.
Many novice seafood eaters are reluctant to enjoy raw fish. While it can be challenging to wrap your mind around eating uncooked seafood, it is well worth it.
Freshly caught or freshly frozen fish can create a beautiful and delicious sashimi dish. Practicing your knife skills and express some creativity by getting into the kitchen and putting together a plateful of sashimi fish.
After introducing my friends to our favorite hole in the wall sashimi restaurant, my friends went home and shared their newfound taste for raw fish with their families. Sushi restaurants in many communities have beautifully curated plates of sashimi for you to start enjoying.
If you're interested in testing out your knife skills and creativity, order some of our sashimi-grade fish and start creating sashimi right at home!
Our sustainably caught seafood ships frozen to you directly over dry ice, so you can be confident it will arrive at your door still frozen.