Nigiri Vs Sashimi (Difference & Similarities)

Posted on

Nigiri Vs Sashimi



Prep time

Cooking time

Total time


This article may contain affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on a link, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Don’t know the difference between Nigiri vs Sashimi? 

My guess: your first time in a sushi bar, you thought everything on the menu was sushi.

That happens to me.

But what would you have thought? 

You wanted to taste sushi so bad you visited a sushi restaurant holding a sushi menu, seeing a wide array of sushi, even those without fish. But a true sushi eater will NEVER mistake a Nigiri for Sashimi or vice-versa, even though they are both famous Japanese cuisine and always on the same menu. 

They are both different. 

Sashimi is not sushi, whereas Nigiri is a pure, traditional manifestation of Japanese sushi. This might come as a blast, but the most essential and non-negotiable ingredient in every sushi is rice (not fish), and it is missing in Sashimi. 

Remember the rule of thumb: sushi is sushi if it contains rice.

What Is Nigiri?

Nigiri is a type of sushi consisting of vinegared rice, a.k.a sticky or sushi rice, with a piece of thinly sliced raw fish on top. Nigiri sushi has it all. It is a very popular type of sushi that sits prevalently amongst the top-rated. 

Usually, Nigiri contains raw fish, which could be Tuna, salmon, octopus, or mackerel, but you can also find eel Nigiri or shrimp Nigiri. The shrimp is mostly cooked, whereas the eel variant is usually grilled. 

Any of these fishes are firm, with high-fat content, which makes them melt increasingly well in your mouth, while the sushi rice adds a contrasting flavor that requires chewing.

On top of that, it is served with either Wasabi or sweet soy between sliced fish and rice in the Nigiri. Nigiri sushi is a delicious treat that tastes sweet, salty, and tasty flavored. 

Be careful because it might burn a hole in your pocket for life once tasted. And, unlike other sushi that requires chopsticks, you will be using your hands with Nigiri. 

What Is Sashimi?

Sashimi is a Japanese specialty dish of thinly-sliced raw fish, seafood, or meat. It is often confused for sushi, but it is not sushi due to the absence of vinegared rice. However, both threats are usually accompanied by either soy sauce, Wasabi, or pickled ginger. 

Sashimi looks and tastes great. But sharp knife and impeccable knife skill are essential for making a smoothly sliced, visually appealing, and unified Sashimi.  

It is sliced into various shapes for curb appeal, which could be thin strips, flat rectangles, diagonal slices, or cubes.

Nigiri Vs Sashimi: 6 Key Differences

  • Nigiri is a type of sushi, whereas Sashimi isn’t, but it can be ordered as a filling in sushi or topping. 
  • Nigiri sushi is mostly raw fish but can be cooked or seared. And it doesn’t contain meat at all. 
  • Meanwhile, Sashimi can have thinly sliced fish or meat like beef, horse, chicken, or frog. 
  • Nigiri sushi is not traditionally garnished. But some chefs accompanied it with soy sauce, pickled ginger, and Wasabi. 
  • However, Sashimi is always decorated with toasted nori (seaweed), shiso leaves, daikon radish, and sometimes other sauces.
  • You eat Nigiri sushi mostly with your hand. But Sashimi is always with the chopsticks. 

Between Sashimi and Nigiri, Which Is More Expensive?

Because much fresh and high-quality fish content is used in preparation for Sashimi and less for Nigiri, Sashimi is pricier. 

However, you’ll need more Sashimi to feel full since it is just fish with only a garnish to accompany it — no rice. 

Which Is Healthier?

Both are a healthy representation of Japanese cuisines, but Sashimi appears to be more beneficial. 

The reason is that it contains much higher protein and has no additional preservatives or ingredients.

Besides the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and carbs, Nigiri is left vulnerable.


After reading through this article, do you think it will take you quite a few more plates of Nigiri and Sashimi to come to an agreement that they are different treats?

I don’t think so. This one is a no-brainer right off the bat. The fact sushi has rice that is absent in the Sashimi is enough to clear all foggy thoughts.

However, if you have any complaints, do not hesitate to drop them via the comment section below, as we’ll be obliged to answer you ASAP.

Related Posts:


You might also like these recipes