What Are the Basic Differences Between Sushi and Sashimi?

Are you worried about going to a sushi place and not knowing how to conduct yourself? Once you read through our blog, you’ll be able to order sushi lunch like a pro.

Most Asian food amateurs don’t know the difference between Sushi and Sashimi. If you are one of them and wish to change that, you’re in the right place. What is Sushi? What is Sashimi? We’ll tell you all about them and more.

Keep reading if you want to learn about these Asian specialties, what separates each of them, and the different variations of the meals that exist.

Sushi vs. Sashimi – What Do Their Names Mean?

Learning the difference between Sushi and Sashimi begins by knowing what their names mean. So, let’s start with Sushi.

The name originates from two different words, “su” and “shi.” In the Japanese language, “su” means vinegar. And “shi” was derived from “meshi,” which translates to rice. So, when you sum it all up, Sushi translates to vinegared rice.

Sashimi’s translation is a bit different. “Sashi” loosely translates to “pierce.” And, the second part of the delicacy’s name is “mi,” which means meat. That would equate to Sashimi translating into something on the lines of “pierced body.”

What is Sushi? 

Alright, you’ve heard about it on TV, your friends have sushi dinners all the time, and maybe you have tried it yourself in the past, but what is Sushi? Are you confident that you can answer that question? Many fool themselves by thinking they know the correct response when, in fact, the information they have is incorrect.

The first association that most people have with Sushi is raw fish. However, the most significant difference between Sushi and Sashimi is that meat isn’t the main ingredient of Sushi. Regardless of what else may be included in the meal, rice is always its base and the essential part. It’s called vinegared rice for a reason.

Though it may seem trivial, and as something even beginner cooks know how to do, many professional chefs in Japan go through years of training to learn how to prepare rice correctly.

What is Sashimi? 

Everything you thought of Sushi before you read our blog, it’s most likely that that information is correct, but in the case of Sashimi. This meal is known for raw fish. Once you understand what Sushi is, explaining the answer to the problematic question of what is Sashimi will be at least a bit easier. 

Usually, the composition consists of a sliced piece of fresh, raw fish and doesn’t contain rice. A soy-based dipping sauce comes along with the meat as well. Sometimes, other meats may also be in the mix. 

Beef, chicken, or even horse, are all reasonable choices in Japan. 

The crucial part of sashimi preparation is owning a sharp knife. Without it, making thin meat strips or cubes isn’t going to be simple at all. Of course, it will be easier if your knife skills are top-notch.

Though Sashimi is known as a raw fish feast, sometimes the meat may have been cooked for a while. Chefs do this to enhance the flavor, work with the texture, and avoid poisoning.

Sushi vs. Sashimi – How Are They Served and Eaten?

Sushi is more straightforward when serving and eating it. Firstly, there are no strict rules that you must follow. You wouldn’t insult anyone if you used chopsticks when you weren’t supposed to do so. 

Because of the rice in its base, Sushi is meant to be eaten with hands. More specifically, you should lift a piece with the help of your thumb and index finger. This way, you can enhance the structure instead of damaging it with chopsticks. However, if you prefer using bamboo, go ahead. No hard feelings will be taken.

On the other hand, Sashimi may come served on some shiso leaves, with a side of daikon radish. Soy sauce is essential as well, so don’t forget to dip! Ponzu, soy sauce with citrusy vibes, is an alternative dipping solution.

When it comes to consuming Sashimi, pick it up with chopsticks, dip in the sauce, and enjoy the entire piece at once.

Sushi vs. Sashimi – The Calories

First of all, if you’re trying to lose weight, try sticking with Sashimi. God knows most of us can use all the lean protein we can find, and with Sashimi, you’re getting exactly that.

Since it’s mainly constructed from clean meat, a sashimi piece contains a meager amount of calories. To be exact, it’s usually somewhere between 20 and 60 kCal.

Sushi, on the other hand, can be a bit more calorie-dense. Its main ingredient is rice, which can increase the energy levels of the meal. For example, a sushi roll contains anywhere from 200 to 500 kCal.

But don’t let these numbers scare you. Both of these meals are healthy and a good option for someone who’s watching what they eat. Sushi just has a bit more carbs.

Types of Sushi

Nigiri – Sashimi Sushi

You’ve learned about the differences between the two famous Japanese meals. However, you’ve probably heard people mention “sashimi sushi” as a course for itself. But, how is that possible when Sashimi cannot contain Sushi?

Well, Nigiri is a combination of both. It’s raw seafood on a base of pressed vinegared rice. Because of the rice, Nigiri is still considered Sushi. And, that’s what pretty much everybody thinks of when Japan’s most favorite dish is mentioned, raw fish and rice. 

If you are new to Sushi and want to ease your way into it, try salmon nigiri as your first choice. It’s the easiest option for beginners to get used to eating. And, on top of that, it’s a refreshing piece of meat you’ll wish to try again.


Maki may also look familiar for those that aren’t sure what Sushi is and how it looks. In fact, all those sushi rolls you’ve seen on TV have most likely been Maki.

So, what goes into Maki? Usually, it contains a layer of fish, some sushi rice, and vegetables, all rolled up in a seaweed sheet.

Now, there are a few variations to this roll. The first one we’ll mention is tekkamaki. It includes only one ingredient aside from the rice. Tuna rolls, Salmon rolls, and others are representatives of tekkamaki.

On the other hand, a California roll would be considered a Futomaki because this type of sushi roll includes more central ingredients.

And, if you see cone-shaped rolls, those are called Temaki.

Try High-Quality Sushi in South Miami

If you find yourself hungry in Florida, we have a place for you to visit. Public Square is a restaurant in the heart of South Miami that will serve you world-class Sushi. 

So, no matter if you’re in the mood for a Jalapeño Hamachi Roll or a simple Salmon Roll, we’ve got you. Visit us and see what makes Public Square the best restaurant in the area.