Sushi vs. Sashimi : Two delicious Japanese dishes that are often mistakenly thought to be the same

Posted: Apr 22 2018

The terms “sushi” and “sashimi” are often used interchangeably in some countries, but their differences are distinct.

One key distinction: Sushi is made with sushi rice—polished (white) short-grain Japanese rice seasoned with vinegar. Sashimi is not made with rice.

The Basics:

Sashimi commonly refers to raw sliced seafood, often served on top of a garnish such as shredded daikon (radish) or shiso leaves. When it comes to sashimi, the meat is the featured attraction.

While sashimi is usually raw sliced seafood it can also be slices of raw beef. While sashimi seafood can sometimes be cooked or lightly seared, sashimi is traditionally served raw.

Sushi always involves sushi rice. If it doesn’t have rice, then it’s not sushi.  Sushi ingredients include vinegared rice and one or more other ingredients. Sushi can contain raw or cooked seafood (tuna, shrimp, salmon, octopus) and a wide variety of non-seafood options like sliced veggies.

Translating sushi and sashimi

The best way to remember the difference between sushi and sashimi is getting to know how the two terms translate.

The term sashimi means "pierced body", i.e. "刺身" = sashimi, where 刺し = sushi (pierced, stuck) and 身 = mi (body, meat). means pierced body or stuck meat.

  • Notice how sashimi is all about the meat.

The term sushi is the Japanese word for sour or vinegared, referring to the distinctive vinegary rice used in sushi.

  • Notice how sushi is all about the rice.


Sashimi and sushi ingredients

Sashimi and sushi use many of the same ingredients. Both commonly feature seafood as the primary ingredient.

Seafood commonly used for both sashimi and sushi include:

  • Salmon (sake), yellow tail (kanpachi / hamachi), scallop (hotate), or octopus (tako)

All grades of tuna (maguro) are commonly prepared as sashimi, although more expensive and sought-after seafood is often used such as:

  • Otoro (highest fat / highest quality)
  • Chutoro (medium fat/medium)

Ingredients unique to sashimi include:

The garnish - usually a bed of shredded daikon (a long white radish). The daikon is shredded into thin strands, and the sashimi seafood is usually placed on top of the garnish.

Comparison chart

Compare Sashimi and sushi






Is it cooked or raw?

Always raw.

Usually raw, although some varieties of sushi include cooked seafood.

Nutritional Value

Varies depending on the type of seafood or meat used. Seafood-based sashimi is high in omega-3 fatty acids which provide a variety of health benefits.

Higher in calories and carbs than sashimi due to the rice. Sushi prepared with seafood is high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Common Types

Tuna, salmon, sea bream, mackerel, yellowtail, squid or octopus, shrimp, scallops, clams. Raw red meat is less commonly used.

Nigiri, gunkan temaki (nori seaweed "cones" containing seafood and vegetables), and norimaki (sushi rolls).


Types of seafood used in sashimi and sushi

Tuna and salmon are two of the most popular fishes used in sashimi, but a wide variety of other kinds fish are also used. Mackerel, yellowtail, some shellfish and mullosks are commonly used as well. Salmon eggs and sea urchins can also be found.

Sushi rolls are often wrapped in dried sheets of seaweed, rice paper, or yuba (soybean skin). Some of the most common types of sushi include nigiri, gunkan (small dried seaweed cups filled with seafood), and temaki (nori seaweed "cones" containing seafood and vegetables). Norimaki, or sushi rolls, are also popular but are often prepared differently outside of Japan. In Japan, the rice and other ingredients in sushi rolls are wrapped in dried seaweed; outside of Japan, sushi rolls are often made with rice on the outside and seaweed and other ingredients on the inside.


FishForSushi strives to deliver the best seafood products straight to you, every time, without exception. You can trust our processing and storage warehouse, as we are HACCP compliant and officially certified to SQF 2000 Level 3.  

Shopping for seafood through FishForSushi’s online marketplace eliminates  
supermarket waste, and ensures consumers receive top-quality products at lower

FishForSushi prides itself on offering the highest quality tuna, sashimi, and other
popular seafood selections directly from the source: the ocean. Our goal is to deliver only the best straight to you, every time, without exception. Sustainably harvested, HACCP compliant and officially certified to SQF 2000 Level 3, FishForSushi is committed to sustainably providing delicious, eco-friendly seafood to your family’s table.

  1. Scallops Sashimi ほたてメガネ開き(1 Box)
  2. Salmon Sashimi 鮭
  3. Bluefin Otoro 最高級大トロ


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