What's the Difference Between ‘Sashimi Grade Fish’ and ‘Sushi Grade Fish’?

What is Sashimi?

Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy defined by its use of raw food, which has been sliced thinly. It is often seafood or fish, but it can be other types of meat. The most common types of fish used in Sashimi include bass, abalone, snapper, squid, shad, bonito, mackerel, prawns and the most well-known type is bluefin tuna. The reason for this is that tuna features a unique fatty part called the Toro, which is known for its gorgeous flavor.

Although sashimi is often confused with its close counterpart sushi, they truly are two different experiences to the palate. Sashimi is focused solely on the cut of fish or meat, whether as Sushi’s important ingredient is the rice element. Sashimi translates to ‘cut meat’, though this is not completely accurate, it gives a good idea of its origin. 

With multiple options for cutting, such as thin, cubed, diagonal, flat, or rectangles, this simple dish has a variety of ways to serve. The skill of Sashimi truly is within the cut and using the sharpest of knives. On occasion, sashimi can be cooked either for taste reasons or safety. It is either a meal itself or perfect to be served as an appetizer.

What is Sushi? 

Sushi is made of a few more parts than sashimi, most importantly sushi includes vinegared rice, which is often shaped to hold the fish on top or within. It can also include the use of seaweed, and other items, such as vegetables. Sushi features both raw and cooked fish, however, it must have rice to be called sushi.

What is Sashimi Grade?

There is no true grading system for sashimi or sushi, not like the one for meat. At least not one run by a governing body. Sashimi or sushi-grade was an industry-developed term to help consumers understand which fish would be the safest to consume. And as it has spread across the industry, it has become a good benchmark to see the designation of the fish you are eating or consuming is. 

Sashimi-grade fish means the seller of the fish confirms they have dealt with the fish in a way that makes it safe to eat raw. The reason for this is because a lot of fish contains either parasites or bacteria, and to eliminate any parasites fish must be frozen to the correct temperature. Additionally, if anything goes wrong in the freezing process, it can leave time for bacteria to grow. The sashimi grade informs customers the fish has been handled correctly. 

It’s important to note, however, this grading does not note the quality of said fish. And to be aware the claim of Sashimi-Grading is done by the fish seller. Regulations for selling raw fish do alter between states, however, must follow the FDA guidelines as the rule. 

Many fish markets or sushi restaurants will have a super freezer. This enables them to quickly and accurately freeze fish as soon as they catch or receive it. Thus eliminating any time windows for issues to arise within. Ultimately, Sashimi-grade fish is fresher and better to use for Sashimi.

Where Can I Buy Sashimi-Grade Fish?

Sashimi can be purchased from specialty stores, Japanese supermarkets, and online luxury food retailers, like Kolikof Caviar and Gourmet.

Although there is some risk associated with purchasing and eating raw fish, research suggests of the 2,646 illnesses caused by eating any seafood, and the 11 deaths that happened over 33 years, eating raw fish is not to be feared and the industry does well to manage these concerns. 

To ensure as little risk as possible, it is always advised to follow these key directions when buying sashimi-grade fish:

  • Don’t allow the fish to sit for too long outside of freezing conditions
  • Use ice packs where possible to keep the fish cold
  • Buy high-quality Sashimi grade fish from reputable online retailers like Kolikof
  • Check for freshness. Ensuring skin is slippery and moist. No missing scales with stiff scales. It’s also important to look for a firm body and bright eyes.

You can buy Sashimi-Grade fish from Kolikof Caviar and Gourmet to ensure the freshest and best experience.

1 comment

  • Lanny

    Brief, to the point, and very helpful.
    Nice piece

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