Sushi vs Sashimi – What’s The Difference?

Sushi vs. sashimi, what’s the difference? A lot of people outside of Japan struggle to differentiate between them and often use the two terms interchangeably, which is why we decided to explain the differences between these two highly popular Japanese dishes.

Topics Covered

  • What is sushi?
  • What is sashimi?
  • Sushi vs sashimi comparison chart

What is sushi?

The word sushi translates to vinegared rice; therefore, sushi is vinegared rice, regardless of the filling. It may have raw fish as an ingredient, and it may not, but having raw seafood such as salmon or tuna is not a requirement since many other ingredients can be used, including mushrooms, vegetables, white radish, etc.

Many people often mistake nigiri for sashimi. Nigiri is a type of sushi that consists of a ball of vinegared rice with a topping – usually raw fish. The raw fish alone would qualify it as sashimi, but because it’s served with a ball of vinegared rice, it becomes a type of sushi.

Sushi vs Sashimi: Sushi

What is sashimi?

Sashimi is thin slices of raw meat and nothing else. This meat can be anything from fish, horse, beef, or chicken. If what you ordered comes with rice, then it’s not sashimi. Usually, when ordering sashimi, you will only get a variety of thinly cut meats – but no white rice.

Sushi vs Sashimi: Sashimi

Sushi vs sashimi comparison chart

TranslationVinegared riceTo pierce / cut body
Is rice an ingredient?AlwaysNever
SaucesCommonly served with soy sauceCommonly served with soy sauce
  • Wasabi paste
  • Pickled ginger slices
  • Sometimes ponzu sauce

It’s not common practice to mix wasabi with soy sauce when eating sushi
  • Wasabi paste
  • Grated ginger
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Grated garlic

It’s common practice to mix wasabi with soy sauce when eating sashimi
  • White rice (Main ingredient)
  • Seaweed nori (Nigiri style sushi)
  • A variety of seafood (Mostly raw but sometimes cooked)
  • A variety of vegetables
  • A variety of seafood (Mostly raw but sometimes cooked)
  • Other meats (Beef liver, chicken, horse, etc)
CaloriesDepends on the ingredients but sushi contains more calories and carbs because of the rice.Depends on the ingredients used but contains fewer calories and carbs than sushi.

Related Content

Interested in knowing more about basashi? Read more about it here.

Don’t forget to check out our ultimate sushi guide and ultimate sashimi guide.

Interested in making your own sushi at home? Learn how to do that here.

Making sushi rice to perfection on the stove is an art. Simplify it with these rice cookers from Japan.

Be sure to check out these sushi making classes in Tokyo and Kyoto.