Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi

Main Difference – Sushi vs Sashimi

Sushi and Sashimi are two popular Japanese dishes. However, many non-Japanese tend to use these two words interchangeably without realizing the difference between sushi and sashimi, and many tend to confuse sashimi for sushi. The main difference between sushi and sashimi is that sushi refers to any Japanese dish made with vinegared rice whereas sashimi is a Japanese dish made with raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces. Thus, sushi and sashimi are two separate dishes and should not be confused with each other.

This article looks at,

1. What is Sushi
      – Meaning, Ingredients, Preparation
2. What is Sashimi
      – Meaning, Ingredients, Preparation
3. What is the difference between Sushi and Sashimi

Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi - Comparison Summary

What is Sushi

Although many people who enjoy Japanese food equate sushi with raw fish, sushi actually refers to any dish made with vinegared rice used in Japanese cuisine. Sushi doesn’t even have to contain raw fish. The ingredients and preparation of sushi may greatly vary, but rice is the main ingredients of any sushi dish. It is often combined with seafood (typically raw), vegetables, and other ingredients. Rice used for sushi can be either brown or white, and sushi is always served with a variety of condiments such as pickled ginger, Wasabi or soy sauce.

The word sushi is used for a wide range of dishes and given below are some well-known common sushi types.


A traditional form of fermented sushi. Rice is served with fish that is skinned, gutted, and fermented for six months with salt.


A dish made by frying a pouch of tofu filled with sushi rice.


A dish made by placing the sushi rice and other ingredients in a nori (seaweed) and rolling them.


A bowl of vinegared rice topped with sashimi (thin pieces of raw fish) and other garnishes.

Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi

Figure 01: Sushi

What is Sashimi

Sashimi refers to thinly sliced raw fish or meat. Saltwater fish are mostly used for making sashimi. Fish/ seafood such as salmon, tuna, horse mackerel, shrimp, yellowtail, squid, octopus, scallop, whale, and sea urchin are widely used for this delicacy.

Sashimi does not typically contain rice, or any other ingredients other than fish. In restaurants, sashimi is served on top of shredded white radish (daikon) along with pickled ginger, wasabi, lemon, sliced cucumber, or soy sauce to enhance the flavour of the fish.

Sashimi is often the first course in a formal meal, but when presented with rice and soup, this can also be served as the main course. 

Main Difference - Sushi vs Sashimi

Figure 02: Sashimi

Difference Between Sushi and Sashimi


Sushi: Sushi is a Japanese dish consisting vinegar-flavoured rice served with a garnish of vegetables, egg, or raw seafood.

Sashimi: Sashimi is a Japanese dish consisting of very fresh raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces.

Main Ingredients

Sushi: Rice is the main ingredient of sushi.

Sashimi: Raw seafood or meat is the main ingredient of sashimi.


Sushi: Sushi is made with vinegared rice, nori (seaweed), vegetables, eggs, and/or raw seafood.

Sashimi: Sashimi is made with seafood like salmon, tuna, scallop, squid, sea urchin, etc. or with meat.

Rice and Vegetables

Sushi: Sushi can contain a variety of ingredients including thinly sliced raw seafood.

Sashimi: A typical sashimi dish does not contain rice or nori.


Sushi and sashimi are two popular Japanese delicacies enjoyed by food lovers all over the world. However, it is important to know the difference between sushi and sashimi since these are two separate dishes whose names cannot be used interchangeably. Sushi refers to any Japanese dish made with vinegared rice whereas sashimi refers to a Japanese dish made with raw meat or fish sliced into thin pieces. This is the main difference between sushi and sashimi.

Image Courtesy:
1. “AKA Sushi” By Quinn Dombrowski – originally posted to Flickr as AKA Sushi via
2. “689148” (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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