Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi

Japanese cuisine is famous for its very authentic and mouth watering dishes. Two of the most common dishes are sushi and sashimi.

However, both these terms are used interchangeably though both have distinctive attributes.

In fact, after perusing the menu card in a restaurant, one may order sushi instead of sashimi and vice versa.

Sushi vs Sashimi

The difference between sushi and sashimi is that sushi refers to vinegared rice, whereas sashimi means thinly cut fish/meat served with or without accompaniments.

Sushi vs Sashimi

However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonSushiSashimi
Meaning/DescriptionSushi is vinegared rice which is served with or without vegetables/fishSashimi is thinly sliced raw fish or meat (commonly fish)
Basic IngredientsRice plus vinegar (sugar or salt may be even added)Raw fresh fish plus slices of radish or other veggies
Whether rice involvedYes, plus other ingredientsNo
Whether Sushi considered as Sashimi and vice versaSushi can include Sashimi (example a dish called as nigiri)Sashimi is a raw fish, no rice involved hence it is not considered as Sushi
Whether cooking involvedYesNo, because raw fish is served
TypesSushi-Nigiri, makiSashimi-Tuna, salmon, mackerel
Which one has more calories and carbsSushi has more calories/carbs as rice is usedSashimi has low calories
Which one provides more nutrition and is healthyNot so healthy in comparison to sashimi because rice may not contain omega-3 fatty acidsMore healthy because of the fish content
Safety perspectivePregnant women should avoidGenerally safe but depends on whether the fish is properly cleaned or not
Is the method of preparation sameSince it is vinegar flavoured rice, the method of preparation is different from sashimiIt is slices of raw fish hence prepared differently from sushi
Which one is more popularMore popular than sashimiLess popular than sushi
Pronounced assoo·sheesa·shee·mee
How usually eaten or served“As is” without any further toppings though sauce may be usedSauce/paste is applied or garnishing is done
Cost PerspectiveSushi is cheap on the pocketSashimi is expensive as high standard fish is used


What is Sushi?

Sushi in literal sense denotes rice with vinegar. The term ‘su’ indicates vinegar and ‘shi’ signifies rice.

Both are Japanese words hence the term sushi. Basically any rice paired with vinegar is sushi and no fish is involved.

Sushi rice is a particular class of rice prepared with rice and vinegar. Sushi has its own  distinctive taste.

Sushi is basically a rich dish.  Sushi may not include raw fish or even any fish at all.

Sushi has two main varieties and is usually served in the form of nigiri and maki (rolls) which differ fundamentally in the preparation and serving. Nigiri is a small-size rectangle shaped rice pie which can be garnished with sashimi (i.e. slices of fresh raw fish or meat placed on the pie).

Maki, is something most people will be familiar with since it is rolled with vinegared rice, vegetables and other ingredients all rolled up inside.

Sushi has commendable health benefits which is the result of many elements such as rice, fish, vegetables included in the dish.

Sushi is a fantastic wellspring of carbohydrates, includes healthy minerals such as sodium and iodine, and if combined with fish can provide significant benefits in the form of omega-3 fatty acids and selenium. Other benefits include less fat content, and antioxidant properties.


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What is Sashimi?

Sashimi in precise understanding means fish or meat slices. The term ‘sashi’ refers to pierced or cut and ‘mi’ denotes meat.

Sashimi basically consists of  fresh and raw fish or meat sliced into very thin pieces and served with a  salted soy sauce and other accompaniment such as rice, and vegetables.

Sashimi can consist of multiple varieties such as mackerel, salmon, potato sashimi, fatty tuna, yellowtail and squid. Also the types of meat which can be served as sashimi include beef, chicken, pork (though not in Japan).

Sashimi is served with or without rice with sufficient garnishing to flavour the same. The best quality fish ideally is used (which is iced at once on killing to enable freshness) for making sashimi.

Ideally, saltwater fish is preferred due to less risk of parasites to avoid any intestinal problems.


Main Differences Between Sushi and Sashimi

  1. Sushi is vinegared rice. Sashimi is sliced thin pieces of raw fish or meat.
  2. Sushi can have rice plus fish though vinegared rice is the main element, hence it can be considered as sashimi. Sashimi only consists of raw fish/meat hence it is not considered as sushi.
  3. Sushi is a healthy dish consisting of carbohydrates, protein, minerals and vitamins and adding vegetables to the dish can pump up the nutritive value. Sashimi is a healthier dish than sushi because of the omega-3 fatty acids content in the raw fish.
  4. Sushi has multiple varieties such as inari-sushi, nigiri, temaki, chirashi-zushi, norimaki etc. which may depend on the way it is prepared and served. Sashimi comes in various forms depending on the fish or meat used such as tuna fish, prawns, mackerel fish, ika, red meat, pork etc.
  5. Sushi may not be an ideal choice for eating for someone who is fond of quick and ready dishes as sushi involves more time and preparation efforts. Sashimi is a great choice for people who want something quickly prepared and hence a preferred option in such scenarios.
  6. Sushi is not so expensive as the main ingredients include vinegared rice. Sashimi is more expensive as the fish used in the preparation is of sea-water and of high grade.
Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi


  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sushi
  2. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sashimi
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5083873/
  4. https://jfoodprotection.org/doi/abs/10.4315/0362-028X-71.4.860
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Last update on 2022-11-29 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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