Nigiri Vs Sashimi: What’s The Difference Between Nigiri And Sashimi

Nigiri Vs Sashimi: Nigiri and Sashimi are authentic Japanese Dishes that have gained huge popularity across the globe. Both these dishes can be seen in several sushi restaurants in Japan and over time they have come to the rest of the world too. If you are someone who loves Japanese Cuisine you might be wondering what is the difference between Nigiri and Sashimi.

Don’t worry anymore as we will cover everything in detail you need to know about sashimi and nigiri right from what are they to which one is better, nigiri Vs Sashimi Comparison Chart clearly in the later sections.

Nigiri Vs Sashimi

What Is Nigiri?

Nigiri is a kind of sushi that includes raw fish over vinegared rice. At times wasabi goes along with the raw fish and sushi rice. It is a much loved dish in almost any sushi restaurant in Japan. The word Nigiri translates to “two fingers” which is an indication of the size of fish and rice. All the fish used in Nigiri preparation are safe and can be eaten raw.

Nigiri Sushi is usually made from cuts of high quality fish such as salmon, tuna, yellow tail, and red snapper. The smooth taste of the fish combines with the tangy flavor of the rice to have an absolute mouthfeel.

What Is Sashimi?

Sashimi is found on most sushi menus but isn’t technically sushi dish. Its name comes from a method of harvesting namely Sashimi Grade. Sashimi is pierced meat and includes thinly sliced raw fish. The name Sashimi is originated from the culinary practice of attaching fish tails, and fin to slices so that fish can be eaten. This delicious treat from a Japanese Restaurant includes thin slices of fresh raw fish and doesn’t come with rice.

Earlier some people used to serve this as fast food. This dish is served visually appealing and raw on the plate. Sashimi consists of pairings like soy sauce, ginger, or wasabi. Raw meat from bluefin tuna, salmon, or yellowtail fish is used in sashimi making. However, the best fish that makes sashimi delicious is bluefin or tuna.

Nigiri Vs Sashimi What’s The Difference

As both Nigiri and Sashimi are made from the same raw fish most people consider them the same. Sashimi is considered a dish on its own whereas Nigiri is a type of sushi. One more key difference between the two dishes is in their presentation. One doesn’t contain rice and the other is served with rice. Based on the place in which they are served Nigiri is at times served with wasabi or seaweed in between the dish. It is mostly made with cooked or seared fish.

In terms of preparation Sashimi and Nigiri are more or less the same. As Sashimi is not served with rice it is not considered sushi. Making Nigiri takes a little time as the rice needs to be cooked and sashimi on the other hand comes with almost raw food. Both dishes can be served with some condiments wasabi, pickled ginger, and soy sauce. At times, Nigiri comes with other sauces such as mayonnaise horseradish based on the sushi places you are having food.

Sashimi can be other meats such as beef, chicken, horse, sometimes frog, and other seafood. Garnishing isn’t mandatory in Nigiri and is based on the chef cooking it. However, Sashimi often comes with garnish including ingredients like shiso leaves, shredded daikon radish, seaweed, and often soy sauce.

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Nigiri And Sashimi Comparison Chart

Below is a quick comparison chart between two dishes Nigiri, Sashimi. You can use the following table to better understand the similarities and differences between the Japanese Cuisines.

Introduction Nigiri is a type of sushi made of thin slices of raw fish over pressed vinegared rice. Sashimi is thinly sliced raw meat—usually fresh fish, such as salmon or tuna and served without rice.
Is it cooked? Mostly raw Not always raw.
Cuisine Japanese Japanese
Is it Sushi? Yes No
Is it always fish? Yes – fish and other seafood like shrimp, octopus, and squid, but never meat No, sashimi can be thin slices of meat, like beef, horse, chicken, or frog.
Does it have rice? Yes No
Accompanied by Pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce Pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce
Garnished with Mostly nothing, occasionally a sauce if the chef so fancies Daikon radish, sisho leaves, toasted seaweed or nori, at times other sauces
Eaten with Hands or chopsticks Chopsticks

Sashimi and Nigiri Comparison Chart

Nigiri And Sashimi: Which Is Better?

Though Sashimi is made of fish and has no carbohydrates it is high in fat. Nigiri is inclusive of sugar, sodium based on the cooking methods you use. Sashimi is healthier as it is rich in high protein and has no other added preservatives. Nigiri is healthy and has cooked sushi rice that is inclusive of added salt and sugar.

If you are looking for the best flavor and cleanest choice then sashimi is a great choice as it has high protein and fatty acids.

Benefits Of Eating Nigiri And Sashimi

There are plenty of health benefits associated with consuming nigiri and sashimi if prepared using fresh ingredients.

  • As the dishes are served raw you get plenty of nutrients, omega-three fatty acids, and protein.
  • Neither Nigiri nor Sashimi are prepared with oil thus they can be of great help to those who are on a weight loss journey as they can get little to no calories.
  • Unlike Nigiri Sashimi is less filling and you might need some dishes alongside it when you are having it.
  • As Nigiri has rice it is much similar to sushi and can be intimidating for those who want to have their palette full.

To know more differences between jambalaya and gumbo do check out our article on jambalaya vs gumbo and clear your doubts.

FAQs on Sashimi Vs Nigiri

1. Why is nigiri cheaper than sashimi?

Unlike Sashimi Nigiri includes vinegar rice and is topped with fish. On the other hand, Sashimi is pure raw meat which is why nigiri is cheaper compared to sashimi. One has to eat more fish to get that full feeling with sashimi thus becoming expensive.

2. What is the healthiest sashimi?

Uni sashimi is the healthiest sashimi as it is low-calorie and protein-packed.

3. What are the 3 main types of sushi?

The 3 main types of sushi are Nigiri a raw fish pressed onto balls of rice, Maki the raw fish rolled up in seaweed, and Sashimi raw fish cut into thin slice.

4. Why do they put wasabi on nigiri?

Wasabi is kept on nigiri to make the fish taste better as well as fight the bacteria that come from raw fish.

5. What is the difference between Traditional Sushi and Modern Sushi?

Traditional Sushi includes raw seafood whereas the modern sushi includes other meat, vegetables and cooked seafood.

6. What does yellowtail sashimi taste like?

Yellowtail Sashimi tastes a bit subtle and buttery resembling a banana.


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