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 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.
- Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of thinly sliced, raw fish or seafood, served without rice and often accompanied by soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.
- 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.
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However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on specific parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:
|Parameter of Comparison||Sushi||Sashimi|
|Meaning/Description||Sushi is vinegared rice which is served with or without vegetables/fish||Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish or meat (commonly fish)|
|Basic Ingredients||Rice plus vinegar (sugar or salt maybe even added)||Raw fresh fish plus slices of radish or other veggies|
|Whether rice involved||Yes, plus other ingredients||No|
|Whether Sushi is considered Sashimi and vice versa||Sushi 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 involved||Yes||No, because raw fish is served|
|Types||Sushi-Nigiri, maki||Sashimi-Tuna, salmon, mackerel|
|Which one has more calories and carbs||Sushi has more calories/carbs as rice is used||Sashimi has low calories|
|Which one provides more nutrition and is healthy||Not so healthy in comparison to sashimi because rice may not contain omega-3 fatty acids||More healthy because of the fish content|
|Safety perspective||Pregnant women should avoid||Generally safe, but it depends on whether the fish is cleaned correctly or not|
|Is the method of preparing the same||Since it is flavoured vinegar rice, the method of preparation is different from sashimi||It is slices of raw fish hence prepared differently from sushi|
|Which one is more popular||More popular than sashimi||Less popular than the sushi|
|How is it usually eaten or served||“As is” without any further toppings though sauce may be used||Sauce/paste is applied, or garnishing is done|
|Cost Perspective||Sushi is cheap on the pocket||Sashimi 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.
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 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.
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
- Sushi is vinegared rice. Sashimi is sliced thin pieces of raw fish or meat.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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Sandeep Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Thapar University (2006). He has 20 years of experience in the technology field. He has a keen interest in various technical fields, including database systems, computer networks, and programming. You can read more about him on his bio page.