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7 Best Types of Fish for Sashimi

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

Take a culinary voyage as we delve into the realm of superb sashimi and discover the best that the ocean has to offer. Discover the secrets of the greatest fish varieties for sashimi, a delicate Japanese art form that highlights unadulterated, raw flavors, in this enticing essay. Every choice, from the delicate grace of fluke to the buttery richness of fatty tuna, is a tribute to the purity and excellence required by this esteemed meal. As we lead you through the best options, let’s explore the subtleties of texture, flavor, and tradition to make sure your sashimi experience is nothing short of amazing. Prepare to experience the abundance of the ocean in its purest form and to indulge your palette.

What is Sashimi?

Japanese plate of Assorted 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.  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?

Chef slicing raw fish as sashimi

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. 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. 

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Tuna – Maguro

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.

Salmon – Sake

Salmon - Sake

Salmon is a great option for sashimi because of its silky texture and rich, buttery flavor, which are particularly appreciated in dishes that use raw fish. Its high fat content—particularly that of omega-3 fatty acids—offers important health advantages in addition to creating a sumptuous mouthfeel. Salmon’s vivid, rich orange hue gives sashimi presentations an eye-catching element. Furthermore, when prepared correctly, salmon’s quality and freshness guarantee a delicious and safe eating experience.

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.

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 - 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.

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Halibut – Ohyo

halibut sashimi

Because of its firm, white flesh and clean, somewhat sweet flavor that highlights the essence of the sea, halibut makes a fantastic sashimi choice. Because of how beautifully its dense texture slices, it’s perfect for delicate sashimi recipes. For those looking for a lighter, healthier option, halibut is also less fattening than other fish. Sashimi aficionados find it to be a popular and dependable option due to its consistent quality and ability to match well with a variety of condiments.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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