Do you love Japanese food, particularly sushi and sashimi? This traditional Japanese dish is enjoyed in most parts of the world. Aside from the artfully done presentation of the food, the fresh melt-in-your-mouth goodness of sushi and sashimi is truly to die for. However, if going to a sushi bar and picking out dishes you’d enjoy is a bit of a struggle, this simple guide to sushi and sashimi might be useful.
Sushi and sashimi are two different Japanese dishes. Since there’s a lot to talk about between the two, we decided to feature them separately in this two-part blog post. Let’s start with sashimi first.
Sashimi, as you may already know, is a raw yet fresh piece of meat such as seafood that is sliced thinly. The most popular type of sashimi is fish. Sashimi can be eaten with rice and miso soup, as an appetizer or a main course. One of the things we love about sashimi is how they are carefully arranged on a bed of daikon and shiso leaves alongside pickled ginger. To enjoy the taste of sashimi, dip it into shoyu or soy sauce using chopsticks. Wasabi is a perfect complement to sushi if you want a little kick.
There are different types of sashimi and here are the most popular ones:
Maguro is probably the most popular sashimi dish around. Two types of tuna are usually served, bluefin and yellowfin. Bluefin is leaner while yellowfin is fattier. There are also several cuts of maguro such as akami (lean side), toro (fatty side), chutoro (the belly) and otoro (fattiest part).
Saba is usually served salted and marinated and with the skin on sometimes. It’s marinated because mackerel can spoil easily and wouldn’t taste (and smell) as great. By marinating, the fish gets firmer with a cooked feel but is otherwise raw.
Ebi (Prawn or shrimp)
Ebi is easy to spot because the shrimp’s shape is maintained. You can see the tails of the shrimp minus the head, legs and shell. Ebi can also be boiled when served, thus its flesh is pinkish.
The soft, creamy white translucence of Ika flesh (pictured above with ikura or salmon roe) is what makes it delectable. The body is usually served raw while the tentacles are sometimes boiled.
Another creature of the sea that makes for delicious sashimi is the tako. While it can be served raw, majority of sushi bars serve tako tentacles boiled.
Salmon (also called sha-ke so as not to confuse with sake, Japanese wine) is another popular type of sashimi. The pink-orangey hues of fresh sake is rich and decadent, especially the belly.
Uni (Sea urchin)
Uni is quite expensive and is usually an acquired taste. The flavor is quite distinct while the texture of uni has a buttery feel. You can find it in yellow or red, the more pricey variety.
Here are some more tips when eating sashimi:
- Make sure the sashimi is fresh. Buy from stores or restaurants that serve fresh sashimi sliced and plated on the spot. Don't worry when you try it at Sushi Hokkaido Sachi restaurant.
- If you’re planning to make sashimi at home, make sure it’s also fresh. The fish should be shiny and slippery, the eyes clear and bright, and the gills red. Store it in the refrigerator prior to preparation to maintain freshness.
We’ll feature sushi in our next post. Do watch out for it! What’s your favorite sashimi specialty?
Sushi Hokkaido Sachi