One of the most popular ethnic foods in the west is Japanese. Perhaps it’s the fact that both countries are friendly in business that the sharing of food was only natural. Whatever the reason, one of the most requested dishes during a business lunch is sashimi.
Sashimi tastes like very fresh raw fish. Sashimi doesn’t have the fishy flavor you’d come to expect from less fresh cuts of fish. The taste of sashimi is often described as light, subtle, and the fish is usually served with a condiment like wasabi or soy sauce to further complement the flavor.
That subtle flavor that’s never overwhelming is exactly what you’re looking for. In this blog, we’ll discuss why sashimi tastes the way it does and why it’s so popular.
What is Sashimi?
Sashimi is a type of traditional Japanese cuisine that features thinly sliced, raw fish. It is often served as an appetizer or side dish and is served with a variety of sauces and condiments to enhance its flavor. The fish used for sashimi is typically very fresh and high-quality, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sea bream. The fish is sliced into thin strips and then arranged on a plate in an aesthetically pleasing way. Sashimi can also be served with other garnishes, such as pickled ginger or wasabi, to enhance its flavor even more.
What Does Sashimi Taste Like?
You probably don’t want to go to your next business meeting asking what sashimi tastes like, the boss might think you’re ignorant. Often, you’re forced to choose between sushi and sashimi, so you’d best know the difference.
The word itself gives some indication of how it was prepared. In Japanese, sashimi means “pierced body”. They use the word “pierced” instead of cut due to that word’s negative connotation in the country. “Cut” is part of Hari-Kiri, the term for ritual suicide.
Like sushi, sashimi can be many different kinds of fish, though some of the most popular are tuna and salmon. Other varieties include mackerel, shrimp, yellowtail and clams.
Many people new to Japanese food assume sushi is raw fish, when, in actuality, it’s vinegar rice blended with many other ingredients. These ingredients may or may not include raw fish, though they will most likely include some kind of seafood.
When you’re presented with both sushi and sashimi on a plate, it should be easy to distinguish the two. The sashimi is just raw fish, while sushi will be wrapped in vinegar rice.
One of the reasons sashimi is such a sought-after Japanese delicacy is that though it is indeed raw fish, it does not taste like raw fish.
What Does Raw Fish Taste Like?
So how does raw fish taste like exactly? Raw fish has a unique flavor that is often described as briny, mild, and delicate. Its flavor profile can vary widely depending on the type of fish and the surrounding environment in which it was caught.
For example, ocean-caught fish tends to have a stronger, saltier taste than freshwater catches. The texture of raw fish also varies depending on the type. Some types of fish, such as tuna and salmon, are firm and meaty when raw, while others like mackerel and herring have a softer texture that can almost resemble jelly.
What Does Salmon Sashimi Taste Like
Salmon sashimi is an iconic Japanese dish that features fresh raw salmon. The delicate, mild flavor of the salmon is delicately complemented by a variety of sauces and garnishes to create a truly exquisite culinary experience. The texture of the fish is also very important – it should be buttery soft, with a subtle hint of sweetness and a pleasingly silky texture. When served, the fish should be thinly sliced and presented on a bed of fresh greens or rice for added flavor.
Is Sashimi Healthier Than Sushi?
Whether you prefer sashimi or sushi is just a matter of preference, but sashimi is certainly the more prized of the two.
How many calories are in either sushi or sashimi really depends on the kind of meat or fish that’s being served. Generally, sushi has a heavier load of carbohydrates and calories due to the rice.
Is Sashimi Safe?
Ultimately, a better question may be which is safer, as any seafood does carry some risks these days. Obviously, sushi that contains no raw fish poses the least risk. It can be hard to find sashimi-grade fish. While some stores claim to sell it, there actually are no FDA guidelines for such fish. So it’s more a marketing ploy than anything.
Another concern is mercury. Raw or cooked, mercury and other poisons should always be a worry when buying fresh fish.
The best way to avoid any of these problems is to ensure that you don’t freeze the fish you’re using for sashimi. Buy it fresh and keep it in the fridge for no more than four hours before preparing it.
Can I Make Sashimi At Home?
Both sashimi and sushi can easily be made at home provided you have the proper ingredients. Sashimi requires the freshest cut fish. Once you choose the fish, you now have to slice it. Remember how the Japanese feel about cutting, these slices should be more precise.
Here are the three ways to slice sashimi.
Hira-zukuri (rectangular slice) – This is the most common way to slice sashimi. Beginning from the right side of the fish, slice from base to tip in one motion. These slices are then stacked like books.
Usu-zukuri (angled slice) – This cut begins at the left of the fish, moving along at an almost horizontal angle.
Katu-zukuri (square slice) – This is a popular option for restaurants and for those that care about the presentation of their food. Small, thick cubes of fish, most often tuna, are produced.
There are other complex Japanese terms for cutting fish. The most important thing to remember is that no matter how you choose to cut your fish, every cut is meant to be perfectly identical to the last. There should be a uniformity to the sashimi so it sits nicely on the plate.
Both sashimi and sushi are popular options in restaurants, at business meetings and just to eat at home. Just ensure the fish is of the highest quality before eating.