Japan - Sashimi
Much-appreciated delicacy
A Japanese tradition not to be confused with sushi

Sashimi is a Japanese dish of thinly sliced raw fresh fish and shellfish, beautifully presented and served with dipping sauces, vegetables and wasabi.

The word sashimi has been integrated into the English language and is often used to refer to other uncooked fish preparations. Many non-Japanese use the terms sashimi and sushi interchangeably, but the two dishes are actually distinct and separate.

Sushi refers to any dish made with vinegared rice; and, while raw fish is one traditional sushi ingredient, many sushi dishes contain seafood that has been cooked and others have no seafood at all.

Sashimi is usually beautifully arranged and served on top of shredded daikon and shiso leaves. The sashimi pieces are dipped into a dish of soya sauce before being eaten. The daikon and shiso can also be dipped in soya sauce and eaten; both have a fresh, minty taste. Depending on the kind of sashimi, wasabi or ground ginger may accompany the dish and be added to the sashimi as a condiment.

Some of the most popular kinds of sashimi are ... Maguro - Tuna; Toro - Fatty Tuna; Ebi - Prawn; Saba - Mackerel; Ika - Squid; Tako - Octopus.

Sashimi is cut in different styles to alter its appearance and the sensation on the tongue of the diner. Japanese knives are single-edge blades and are kept very sharp (often sharpened on a daily basis if used regularly) which ensures a very smooth cut, the result of which is the shiny appearance of the freshly cut fish.

There are countless ways to cut sashimi, from slicing it so thinly that you can see the pattern of the plate underneath the fish, to thick, succulent chunks of fish. The trained chef will even judge how to cut the fish by its appearance in order to obtain the best flavour and to avoid wasting any part of the fish.

Photos (c) Masanaga Hickichi - Chargé de Presse, Bailliage of Japan