Best Types of Fish for Sashimi

Both sushi and sashimi are Japanese dishes which have taken the world by storm. There are lots of reasons for this, from their unique flavor to their health benefits, and simply the fact that they are something different.

Yet, as these foods have grown in popularity, a lot of people still do not know the difference between sashimi and sushi. 

Mixed slices of fresh raw salmon, tuna, mackerel sashimi served with wasabi for dinner.

Although they are often categorized together, these two Japanese creations are actually very different from one another. In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at sashimi to find out how it is made, and lots more. So to find out more, keep on reading. 

What is Sashimi?

Sashimi is a Japanese dish that uses raw fish as its main ingredient. A lot of people confuse sashimi with sushi, and because of this, a lot of people believe that sushi uses raw fish in its creation. But most of the time, it does not, instead this is something that is reserved for sashimi. 

Japanese plate of Assorted Sashimi
Japanese plate of assorted Sashimi

Typically speaking, sashimi is made using raw fish which has been cut into incredibly thin slices. Unlike sushi, which wraps rice and fish into little bundles, sashimi simply consists of raw fish that has been sliced. Alongside the raw fish, a sauce is normally served, and most of the time this will be soy sauce. 

As a lot of people associate sashimi with sushi, they expect it to be quite difficult to make, but this isn’t actually the case. So, let’s take a look at how sashimi fish is made. 

How is Sashimi Made?

Once you realize that sashimi is not a type of sushi, you will understand that it isn’t actually as difficult to make as you probably expected it to be. Sushi is rather complex because of its small size, multiple ingredients and fiddly design. In contrast, sashimi is fairly simple in design. After all, it is simply uncooked fish which has been sliced up. 

Chef slicing raw fish as sashimi
Chef slicing raw fish as sashimi

So, to make your own sashimi, you must first decide which fish to use. We will look at some of the best options shortly. Once you have chosen your fish, you can then start making it. In traditional Japanese cuisine, this process is a little more intricate as the fish must be caught through the hand line. It is then stabbed with a sharp spike to the brain, and kept in ice. 

Then the fish is gutted, and the best pieces are chopped into thin slices. Usually, a couple of different types of fish will be used, and they will be laid out on a platter with soy sauce. So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular fish used in sashimi. 

What Fish is Used to Make Sashimi?

Now that we know exactly what sashimi is, let’s take a look at some different types of fish which are used to create this delicacy. So, if you are looking to make your own sashimi at home, you should consider one of the following:

Tuna – Maguro

Ahi Tuna Sashimi
Ahi Tuna Sashimi

Bluefin tuna is one of the most popular for making sashimi as it can be eaten both raw and cooked. It contains a lot of Omega-3 fatty acid, which is good for heart health and why it is why this is such a popular choice.  There are different parts of the tuna that have different names and meanings.

  • Otoro is the fatty belly of the tuna and most desirable and will melt in your mouth
  • Chutoro is the upper and lower loin sections closest to the head with medium fat content and that dark red color
  • Akami is the center of the body and less fat content, but still very delicious and healthy

Yellowtail – Hamachi

yellowtail buri hamachi sashimi

Fat is a good thing when it comes to fish. Yellowtail fish is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids and is extremely high in protein. These are the good fats that have a long list of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and even increasing mood. It also contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, like as B12, B6, and selenium.

Fluke – Hirame

Fluke sashimi

Fluke sashimi, also known as Hirame in Japanese, is a popular dish in sushi restaurants, particularly in the Northeast of the US, where it is also a popular fish to catch. The meat of the fluke is a gorgeous white color. In contrast to the bottom fillet, the top side fillet appears translucent. When compared to other stronger fish, such as mackerel, the flavor is delicate and smooth.

Salmon – Sake

Raw salmon slice or salmon sashimi in Japanese style

This is one of the most common fishes used in sashimi. Salmon is high in B-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acid, both of which offer lots of health benefits.

Mackerel – Shime Saba

Shima Aji Sashimi - Raw Japanese Sliced Mackerel

Mackerel is an excellent Sashimi fish because of its solid, oil-rich flesh and rich, creamy flavor. Mackerel’s rich, complex flavors complement delicate Japanese sauces beautifully, and the high concentration of fatty acids provides a slew of health benefits. However, like with any sort of fish used in Japanese cooking, knowing how to choose, cut, and grade your fish is critical for reaping both health and tasty benefits.

Scallop – Hotate

scallop for sashimi (hotate)

Not technically a fish, but definitely one of my favorite types of sashimi. Raw scallop, called hotate in Japanese, almost melts in your mouth when you eat it. The soft texture and light taste goes well with a small drop of citrus like lime or lemon and a tiny amount of soy sauce. It’s the perfect combo.

Halibut – Ohyo

halibut sashimi

This tough fish tastes best when served in incredibly thin slices. It has a mild flavor, but is high in collagen, which is excellent for your skin’s health. 

Final Thoughts

But, these are just a few of the types of fish which can be used to make sashimi, and there are lots more where they came from. So, when you visit a Japanese restaurant, don’t be alarmed if you find lots of different types of fish used to make this delicacy. 

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Written by Brian N

Brian has been an influencer in the food and beverage industry for over 20 years. He not only loves to eat and drink at restaurants on a regular basis, he also knows the business inside and out.