15 Types Of Sashimi Recommended By Japanese Food Lovers
Sashimi is the classic Japanese dish that has been touted as the country’s one of the greatest food. Foreigners started to know about this delicacy in the 60s last century and they usually mistake it for sushi. In this blog, let’s get to know more about sashimi and some of the best types of sashimi to enjoy when visiting Japan.
Types of sashimi: Get inspired to Japanese food
What is sashimi?
Sashimi (also written 刺身 in Japanese, literally means pierced body) is among the world’s simplest food. It is a glistening colorful piece of raw seafood or meat, nothing more is added. To create direct taste experience, the ingredient must be in its highest freshness and quality. Also, the thickness of cuts and artistic sense of the chef are very important to make sure the sashimi dish is not just a lump of raw seafood.
The exact genesis of sashimi remains unknown today but many theories have been made. The most popular theory derived from the traditional harvesting method ikejime, in which a fish’s brain is pierced with a spike right after being caught to preserve the freshness. People find it easy to misunderstand “sushi” and “sashimi”. While sashimi is thin sliced fish or meat, generally served raw with soy sauce or wasabi, sushi is bite-sized bits of seafood that is eaten with vinegared rice.
The Japanese commonly use seafood to make sashimi, but in fact, other types of meats (such as beef, horse and deer) and foods (such as yuba tofu skin and konnyaku) can also be served as sashimi. Sashimi fishes can be enjoyed either as the first course in a traditional Japanese meal or a main course with rice and miso soup.
Japanese cuisine has introduced sashimi for over 10000 years, from the working class to royalty. However, it was not until the 1960s that sashimi made its first debut to the world, when the first restaurant was opened in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles. Now there are over 4000 sashimi restaurants in the United States and people can enjoy sashimi virtually all over the world.
What types of sashimi is there?
Sake sashimi (salmon)
Sake is among the most popular sashimi fish types in Japan. Its color (bright orange) is visually appealing and its flesh is tender, fatty and slightly buttery. For salmon to be used in sashimi dishes, it needs to be frozen first to eliminate any risk of parasites. This sashimi fish is said to be rich in vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fish oils.
Maguro sashimi (bluefin tuna)
Maguro is one of the most highly prized fish in Japan. Some of the best tuna are caught off Cape Oma at the northernmost tip of Aomori Prefecture. Japanese people have eaten tuna since time immemorial and they have sashimi virtually available at almost every restaurant’s menu.
The deep red loins of the fish are the most affordable part. They are lean, firm, meaty, and also lowest in fat.
The Higher up on the scale – back and stomach area, is especially prized for its rich, buttery flavor. It has pink color and higher fat content.
The lowest part of the belly, next to the head is the best part of tuna (also the most expensive). It is exceptionally high in fat and has a characteristic sophisticated taste which makes the pieces melt in your mouth.
Hotate sashimi (scallop)
Hotate – a prized shellfish in Japanese cuisine, features a firm, mild texture and an umami flavor. Thanks to the amino acids and glutamic acids full in their meat, scallops are incredibly sweet and creamy when served fresh out of their shell. Japanese restaurants normally use the thick, white abductor muscle of a scallop to serve as a type of sashimi, while its viscera can also be cooked in some other dishes. The best scallops are found in Hokkaido and Aomori, Japan.
Ikura sashimi (salmon roe)
Ikura is a type of caviar that is cured in salt or drizzled with soya sauce. Oddly enough, its name derives from a Russian word, meaning fish eggs. With the soft skin and an unusual texture full of bubbles, salmon roe is a favorite menu item for people of all age ranges. Each individual egg is washed in warm water to separate before being coated in olive oil to preserve their glossiness. Ikura is higher in fat and protein than salmon. It is the signal of the coming autumn and some of the best ikura are produced in Hokkaido prefecture.
Kanpachi sashimi (amberjack)
Kanpachi (also called yellowtail or amberjack), is a type of lean, mild and slightly creamy tasting fish that comes at its best in early summer. The color is a very light pinkish-white that’s almost translucent. They are specially favored for their taut, richly fatty flesh by many foodies.
Katsuo sashimi (bonito)
Known as the migratory fish, katsuo (bonito) is very important in Japanese cuisine. They come from the mackerel family, being one of the greatest swimmers of the sea. Because they like warm water, every year they are found heading to Hokkaido from March to June and returning south in autumn, creating two seasons of catching bonito in the year. Bonito in the first season has a clear, refreshing taste while returning bonito is said to have a deeper, richer flavor.
Bonito is mostly served in “katsuo no tataki” style, in which chefs lightly sear around the edges of katsuo loin and keep it raw inside. The fish is enjoyed for its high fat content and buttery flavor.
Suzuki sashimi (sea bass)
A mild-tasting white fish without a sharp aroma and any dark-red flesh. The Japanese name of sea bass – “om suzuki,” meaning “washed” – is derived from its neat flesh. The firm, tender flesh on the back resembles that of sea bream, while the meat from belly is more fatty and soft. People usually enjoy sea bass during the summer when they gain weight, and their meat develops more fat content.
Tai sashimi (sea bream)
Among the several varieties of red snapper, tai is the most highly prized in Japanese cuisine. It is elegant in form, mild and subtle in flavor with just the right amount of umami and sweetness. The name itself means “happy”. Because of this, it’s considered a symbol of good luck and often served in times of celebration, such as at weddings and during the New Year. The season runs from winter to spring.
Sanma sashimi (Pacific saury)
A silvery, long and slender type of red fish. They are delicate in texture and surprisingly, not at all strong in flavor. Sanma’s flavor represents the coming of autumn and it’s also best to enjoy in fall. When eating saury as sashimi, it is common for wasabi, ginger or slices of apple to be served alongside the fish to minimize its aroma.
Uni sashimi (sea urchin)
Inside the hard shell of spiny black sea urchin is its luscious, golden-orange roe, which has a rich, buttery texture, and a sweet, briny flavor reminiscent of the ocean. Some of the best uni comes from Hokkaido.
Fugu sashimi (blowfish)
A type of puffer fish that is particularly luxurious but also dangerous because of the potentially lethal levels of tetrodotoxin contained in its liver and ovaries. Processing fugu is strictly controlled as only chefs that have a license are able to make food from fugu. Regardless of that, the taste of blowfish innards is said to make gourmets groan with delight and the best time for blowfish is in the winter months.
Saba sashimi (Japanese mackerel)
The world’s most consumed fish varieties, along with tuna and bluefish. It is often grilled, but when in season it’s a delicious sashimi option for those who enjoy bolder tasting fish. The oiliness gives saba a smooth, meaty flavor but also makes it spoil quickly. That’s why the fish is lightly pickled in vinegar to preserve longer. Because of its boldly fishy flavor and oily taste, saba is perfect to combine with the sharpness of diced green onions and grated ginger.
Tako sashimi (octopus)
While it’s most often boiled for meals as it’s quite chewy, tako sometimes can also be served raw in sashimi. Raw octopus has a firm, almost crunchy texture and a very mild taste. In order to be served raw for sashimi, the octopus must be very thinly sliced to reduce the rubbery texture and draw out its subtly sweet aroma.
Amaebi sashimi (sweet shrimp)
There are several varieties of shrimp and prawns popular for sashimi. Among that, amaebi is high in fat and considered a huge delicacy. They are usually presented with most of the shell removed. When eaten raw, the shrimp’s amino acids lend the flesh a sweet, subtle flavor. Due to that sweetness, they are a favorite seafood item for children. Some places that are famous for their amaebi include Niigata and Hokkaido.
Ika sashimi (squid)
It’s surprising that in Japan, squid is the most common type of seafood served as sashimi after tuna. Ika is loved for its slickness, firmness and refreshing taste. In terms of nutritional value, it is also rich in Vitamin E and taurine, zinc, DHA and EPA.
While the squid’s legs are usually reserved for other dishes, the translucent white flesh of the ika’s mantle can be cut into thin strips that resemble noodles and served in ika somen style. People normally combine squid sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi to accentuate the flavor.
1. What white fish is used in sashimi?
White fish is generally a mild-flavored, often slightly-sweet fish. White fish that can be used as types of sashimi are flounder, halibut, sea bass and mackerel.
2. What is crab sashimi?
Not all crabs are able to eat fresh. Found in the deepest and coldest waters, snow crab is extremely popular in Japanese cuisine. The texture of crab legs is extra fresh and unbeatable, making it a particularly tasty candidate for sashimi. Snow crab is best when soaked in ice water right before plating to keep the crab meat tender.
Dip them in soy sauce with a dab of wasabi for a well-rounded flavor. If you’re a bit of a food adventurer or enthusiast by any means, this is a great dish to try.
3. Which tuna is best for sashimi?
Tuna is one of the first types of fish used by Japanese chefs to make sashimi. Bluefin tuna is used at many top-notch establishments for choice cuts such as toro. Besides, bonito is also a central ingredient in fish stock.
Hope this little guide to types of sashimi will interest you! Still have questions? Please leave below.