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Sushi And Sashimi: A Beginner’s Guide

Don’t know your sashimi from your sushi? Then wok this way…

Over recent years, sushi and sashimi have come from being regarded as exotic and sophisticated flavours to meals that you can find alongside the sandwiches in most supermarkets' cooler cabinets.

But considering they're now amongst the world's most popular dishes, it's surprising just how little many people know about them. For example. when you compare them with other national cuisines like Thai and Chinese, many of us are far more familiar with pad thai or chop suey than we are with maki or nigiri.

It's an undoubtedly a very complex subject and that's why in Japan it takes many years to qualify as an itmae or sushi chef - but with this quick guide, you should be well versed in the basics within just the next few minutes and ready to order with confidence, whether you are in York or Yarmouth.


Sashimi is, essentially, slices of raw fish served either on their own or with a radish or wasabi (an eye-wateringly powerful variety of horseradish) accompaniment. In Japan, sashimi an important part of formal dining and is generally served as a first course as its strong flavour is likely to overpower the more delicate elements that come later in the meal.

In the UK, the most common types of fish you'll find on menus are salmon and tuna although some restaurants also offer beef and other meats too. A great introduction to sashimi could be to try one of the three-piece platters from Sushi Waka.


Sushi, on the other hand, always involves an element of rice and gets its name from the vinegar that is used to flavour the grains. Generally, the rice is accompanied by fish or shellfish and a wide range of vegetables that can include peppers, avocado and cucumber. Sesame seeds either on their own or in the form of soy sauce are also very prevalent in all kinds of sushi, just some of which are listed here - and you can sample them all at YO! in York.


Typically, Nigiri is a slice of raw sashimi-style fish pressed onto a small oblong of white rice with a dab of wasabi to enhance the flavour. In Japanese the word nigiri means "two fingers", referring to the shape of the rice block


Maki sushi is a roll which generally has a fish or vegetable centre surrounded by flavoured rice and is neatly wrapped in seaweed  - or nori to give it its Japanese name. There are various different variations of Maki including Hosomaki, Temaki and Futomaki, but all are essentially very similar.

5.California Rolls

You'll find these on many menus and they're a great example of fusion cooking. They were invented in a restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1960s and the recipe allegedly came about when the chef discovered that he had run out of tuna so substituted avocado instead which he combined with crab meat to create the first ever California roll.

So there you have it – a whistle-stop tour covering the ins and outs of sushi and sashimi. Now it's time to put your knowledge to the test by getting Deliveroo to take your order.

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