Sushi vs Sashimi: Difference and Comparison

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.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sushi is a Japanese dish featuring vinegared rice combined with various ingredients, such as seafood, vegetables, and sometimes tropical fruits, and can be served in different forms like rolls, nigiri, or chirashi.
  2. Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, raw fish or seafood, served without rice and accompanied by soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.
  3. Although both sushi and sashimi include raw fish or seafood as key components, sushi is defined by vinegared rice, while sashimi is presented without rice.

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 specific 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 maybe even added)Raw fresh fish plus slices of radish or other veggies
Whether rice involvedYes, plus other ingredientsNo
Whether Sushi is considered Sashimi and vice versaSushi can include Sashimi (for example, a dish called nigiri)Sashimi is a raw fish with no rice involved; hence it is not considered 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 it depends on whether the fish is cleaned correctly or not
Is the method of preparing the sameSince it is flavoured vinegar 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 the sushi
Pronounced assoo·sheesa·shee·mee
How is it 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 the literal sense, denotes rice with vinegar. The term ‘su’ indicates vinegar, and ‘shi’ signifies rice.

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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 served in the form of nigiri and maki (rolls), which differ fundamentally in 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).

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

Sushi has commendable health benefits, resulting from many elements such as rice, fish, and 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.


What is Sashimi?

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

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Sashimi consists of fresh raw fish or meat sliced into fragile pieces and served with salted soy sauce and other accompaniments 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, and pork (though not in Japan).

Sashimi is served with or without rice with sufficient garnishing to flavour the same. The best quality fish is ideally 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 sashimi. Sashimi only consists of raw fish/meat; hence it is not considered 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, chirashizushi, 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 an excellent 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 seawater and of high grade.
Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Sushi vs Sashimi: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This was an engaging and educational read. The cost perspective comparison between sushi and sashimi was particularly intriguing. I thoroughly enjoyed this informative piece.

  2. This comprehensive breakdown really helps in understanding the nuances of Japanese cuisine. I appreciate the informative content and the clear differentiation between sushi and sashimi. It’s an eye-opener for many.

  3. Finally, a detailed explanation of the variations between sushi and sashimi. This article has truly deepened my understanding of these traditional Japanese dishes. Kudos to the writer!

  4. As a huge fan of Japanese food, this article has given me a renewed appreciation for sushi and sashimi. The breakdown of their characteristics and distinctions was incredibly helpful.

  5. While I consider myself quite knowledgeable about Japanese cuisine, this article has still managed to provide me with new insights into the differences between sushi and sashimi. Well done!

  6. What an interesting read! The nutritional comparison between sushi and sashimi was particularly enlightening. It’s great to learn about the health benefits that these dishes offer.

  7. I can’t believe I’ve been using the terms sushi and sashimi interchangeably all this time. This article has really opened my eyes to the true meanings of both dishes. Thank you for the education!

  8. I must admit, I always thought sushi and sashimi were essentially the same. This comparison has definitely cleared up any misconceptions I had. A truly enlightening read.

  9. I never knew there were so many differences between sushi and sashimi. This detailed comparison has given me a newfound appreciation for both dishes.

  10. Thank you for highlighting the subtle but important differences between sushi and sashimi. It’s essential to understand the distinction between the two, especially for those who are new to Japanese cuisine.


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