Popular types of sashimi

Sashimi (蛻コ霄ォ) is a beloved delicacy featuring thinly sliced raw food. While seafood is the most common choice for sashimi, meats like beef, horse, and deer, as well as foods like yuba tofu skin and konnyaku, can also be served this way. It's important to note that sashimi isn't the same as sushi; sushi includes vinegared rice, while sashimi is all about the raw goodness.

You can find sashimi dishes at various restaurants, from casual eateries to izakaya joints. They're also commonly featured in teishoku set meals and are a staple in traditional kaiseki course dining. Typically, the raw slices are elegantly presented on a bed of shredded daikon and adorned with shiso leaves. Some places even go the extra mile, showcasing the rest of the fish alongside the sashimi as a decorative touch.

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Popular types of sashimi

During your travels in Japan, you're bound to come across some popular types of sashimi. These delicacies are widely available across the country all year round, with only a few exceptions noted.

Maguro (tuna) Maguro (tuna)

Maguro, a staple in sashimi menus, is a must-try at virtually any restaurant offering this delicacy. When it comes to maguro, nearly every part of the fish is savored. The most common cuts include akami, known for its deep red color, firm texture, and meaty taste. If you're looking for something even more indulgent, opt for toro, the pink, fatty belly meat prized for its luxurious, buttery flavor. Toro comes in two grades: chutoro, with medium fat content, and otoro, the premium choice renowned for its richness.

For the finest maguro experience, head to Cape Oma at the northern tip of Aomori Prefecture, where some of the most sought-after tuna are caught. Whether you're a sashimi enthusiast or simply curious about Japanese cuisine, exploring the diverse flavors of maguro is an adventure worth savoring.

Sake (salmon) Sake (salmon)

Sake, boasts tender, fatty, and delicious bright orange flesh. Similar to tuna toro, salmon toro窶杷ound on some menus窶琶s the belly's fattier portion, offering a rich and indulgent taste experience. Whether you're a sashimi aficionado or just starting your culinary journey, sampling sake sashimi is a flavorful adventure worth embarking on.

Indulge in the succulent flavors of sake sashimi, where the rich, fatty texture of the fish melts in your mouth with each bite. Keep an eye out for salmon toro options on menus, providing a delightful counterpart to its tuna equivalent. Don't miss the chance to explore the diverse and delicious world of salmon sashimi during your culinary escapades.

Tai (sea bream) Tai (sea bream)

Tai, renowned for its mild and subtle flavor, ranks among the top white-fleshed fish in Japanese culinary tradition. This delicacy holds a special place in celebrations, gracing occasions like weddings and the New Year with its presence, adding a touch of elegance and tradition to the festivities.

Indulge in the delicate taste of tai, a fish cherished for its purity and versatility. Whether you're marking a special occasion or simply seeking a culinary adventure, tai sashimi promises a delightful journey through the flavors of Japanese cuisine.

Saba (mackerel) Saba (mackerel)

Saba, commonly savored grilled, also makes a tasty appearance as sashimi when it's in season. Its oily flesh offers a smooth, meaty flavor that pairs perfectly with green onions and grated ginger. To counter its quick spoilage, saba is often lightly pickled in vinegar, creating a dish known as shimesaba, which boasts a refreshing, vinegary taste.

Experience the unique flavors of saba sashimi, where the rich, oily texture of the fish is complemented by zesty vinegar and aromatic ginger. Whether you're a seafood enthusiast or simply curious about Japanese cuisine, exploring the tangy delights of shimesaba promises a culinary adventure worth savoring.

Katsuo (bonito or skipjack tuna) Katsuo (bonito or skipjack tuna)

Katsuo, a key player in Japanese cuisine, holds a central spot in dishes like fish stock (dashi). While it can be enjoyed as sashimi, it often stars in a dish known as Katsuo no Tataki. Here, the katsuo loin undergoes a light searing around its edges, then it's thinly sliced and served with a citrus-based sauce, along with flavorful garnishes like garlic or grated ginger.

Delve into the world of katsuo with Katsuo no Tataki, where the lightly seared fish offers a perfect balance of texture and flavor. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or new to Japanese cuisine, exploring the tantalizing taste of Katsuo no Tataki promises a delightful culinary experience.

Kanpachi (greater yellowtail/amberjack) Kanpachi (greater yellowtail/amberjack)

Kanpachi, a variety of yellowtail often featured as sashimi, boasts a lighter and more translucent appearance compared to buri. With its lean and mild flavor profile, Kanpachi shines brightest during the early summer months.

Indulge in the delicate taste of Kanpachi sashimi, where the light and tender flesh of this yellowtail promises a delightful culinary experience. Whether you're a seafood aficionado or simply seeking a refreshing dish, Kanpachi sashimi offers a delicious journey through the flavors of Japanese cuisine.

Buri/hamachi (yellowtail or amberjack) Buri/hamachi (yellowtail or amberjack)

Buri, also known as hamachi, is a close relative of kanpachi and a popular yellowtail choice. Its translucent, pinkish-white flesh boasts a high fat content, delivering a rich, buttery flavor that delights the palate. While buri is available throughout the year, it's particularly prized during the winter months.

Experience the delectable taste of buri, where the luscious, fatty texture of the fish offers a truly indulgent dining experience. Whether you're a seafood enthusiast or simply craving something flavorful, buri sashimi promises a delightful journey through the diverse flavors of Japanese cuisine.

Shellfish and mollusks

Ika (squid) Ika (squid)

Ika, a staple seafood in sashimi menus, offers a unique dining experience. While the squid's legs may find their way into other dishes, it's the translucent white flesh of the ika's mantle that steals the show. With its firm texture and mild flavor, ika sashimi is a popular choice among seafood lovers.

Discover the delicate taste of ika sashimi, where the tender flesh of the squid mantle tantalizes the taste buds. For a twist, try ika somen style, where the flesh is sliced into thin strips resembling noodles, offering a delightful culinary adventure. Whether you're a sushi aficionado or simply curious about Japanese cuisine, exploring the flavors of ika promises a memorable dining experience.

Tako (octopus) Tako (octopus)

Tako, a classic ingredient in Japanese cuisine, is often enjoyed in various forms, including as sashimi. While the tentacles are typically thinly sliced for this dish, tako can be eaten raw or poached for a different culinary experience. Poaching the tako gives the flesh a sweeter flavor and a firmer texture, adding a unique twist to this beloved seafood.

Explore the delightful taste of tako sashimi, where the tender texture of the thinly sliced tentacles promises a satisfying dining experience. Whether you prefer it raw or poached, tako offers a versatile option for seafood lovers looking to indulge in Japanese cuisine.

Amaebi (shrimp) Amaebi (shrimp)

When it comes to raw shrimp in Japan, amaebi, or sweet shrimp, takes the spotlight. Known for its sweet and delicate flavor, amaebi is often served with most of the shell removed, leaving only the tails intact, which some enjoy eating. Regions like Niigata and Hokkaido are renowned for their amaebi dishes, offering a taste of this beloved seafood delicacy.

Indulge in the delightful taste of amaebi, where the sweetness of the shrimp pairs perfectly with its tender texture. Whether you're a seafood enthusiast or simply curious about Japanese cuisine, exploring the flavors of amaebi promises a delightful culinary journey.

Hotate (scallop) Hotate (scallop)

Hotate, prized shellfish in Japanese culinary circles, offer a delectable taste experience. These scallops boast a firm texture and a sweet, almost creamy flavor that seafood enthusiasts adore. While it's common to savor the scallop's thick, white abductor muscle on its own, some eateries also serve its viscera, adding a contrasting sharp bitterness to the smooth, mild meat.

For the finest hotate, look no further than Hokkaido and Aomori, renowned for producing some of the best scallops in Japan. Whether you're indulging in the abductor muscle or exploring the complex flavors of the entire scallop, hotate promises a delightful culinary adventure worth savoring.

Hokkigai (surf clam) Hokkigai (surf clam)

Hokkigai, among the many shellfish enjoyed as sashimi, offers a unique culinary experience. The triangle-shaped foot of these clams is often lightly boiled, turning the tip red and enhancing the meat's firmness. Best savored in winter, top-quality hokkigai boast a meaty texture and sweet flavor.

Whether harvested from northern Japan's Hokkaido and the Sanriku Coast or imported from elsewhere, hokkigai promises a delightful taste adventure. Indulge in the tender texture and sweet flavor of these shellfish delicacies, adding a touch of freshness to your culinary repertoire.

Roe and millet

Ikura (salmon roe) Ikura (salmon roe)

Ikura, a type of caviar, adds a burst of flavor to Japanese cuisine. These translucent, bright orange eggs, each about the size of a pea, are cured in salt or soy sauce, resulting in a rich, salty taste sensation that delights the palate.

For the finest ikura, look no further than Hokkaido, renowned for producing some of the best caviar in Japan. Whether enjoyed on its own or as a topping for sushi and other dishes, ikura promises a deliciously indulgent culinary experience.

Uni (sea urchin) Uni (sea urchin)

Uni, a highly prized delicacy in Japan, offers a luxurious taste experience. The yellow to orange-colored roe boasts a rich, buttery texture and a sweet, briny flavor that evokes the essence of the ocean.

For the crティme de la crティme of uni, Hokkaido is the place to go. Renowned for producing some of the finest quality sea urchin in Japan, Hokkaido uni promises an indulgent culinary journey. Whether enjoyed on its own or as a decadent addition to sushi and other dishes, uni is sure to tantalize the taste buds of seafood enthusiasts.

How to eat sashimi

When enjoying sashimi, the typical ritual involves dipping each slice into a dish of soy sauce before taking a bite. It's up to the diners to refill these soy sauce dishes, and it's considered polite to pour just enough for your needs.

Depending on your preference, you might add a touch of wasabi or ground ginger to your sashimi. It's classiest to apply these condiments directly onto the sashimi itself rather than mixing them into the soy sauce. And don't overlook the daikon and shiso garnishes窶杯hey offer a refreshing, minty flavor that complements the raw fish beautifully.