What Does Sushi Taste Like?
Trying sushi for the first time can be intimidating. You can ask a number of different people what is sushi and what does sushi taste like and not get the same answer from any one of them. This is due to people not quite understanding just what sushi is. There are many different forms that sushi can take.
If you are squeamish, it may help to know that not all sushi even has fish in it, let alone raw fish. This can be an excellent start for someone who shudders at the idea of the dish itself.
What is Sushi?
The word sushi actually refers to the rice and has nothing to do with the included ingredients. This rice is always seasoned with salt, sugar, and vinegar. Short grain rice is sticky and holds shape pretty well. This allows for the sushi chef to create the delicious dishes that you are going to try.
1. Maki Sushi
Maki sushi is what most people will think of when they hear the word sushi. It is usually wrapped in seaweed but can be wrapped in other things as well. With a name meaning 'rolled sushi,' there are several variations that maki sushi can come in.
- Hosomaki: 'Thin roll' – rice is on the inside, nori (seaweed) is on the outside.
- Chumaki: 'Medium roll' – rice is on the inside, nori is on the outside.
- Futomaki: 'Thick roll' – rice is on the inside; nori is on the outside.
- Uramaki: 'Inside out roll' – rice is on the outside, nori is on the inside
- Temaki: 'Hand roll' – a cone shaped roll
2. Nigiri Sushi
Nigiri sushi (my personal favorite) is 'hand pressed' sushi. A rectangle formed by hand out of sushi rice is then topped with a swipe of wasabi and some type of topping. This topping is usually tuna, shrimp, octopus, et cetera.
3. Chirashi Sushi
'Scattered sushi' is like a burrito bowl but with sushi ingredients. There are typically nine ingredients used, but that can vary. It is most common in Japanese homes, being perfect for leftovers. Most of the time, this is not served with fish.
4. Inari Sushi
This little pouch of fried tofu is filled with sushi rice. There is typically only rice in this dish, but toppings may be added.
5. Oshi Sushi
'Pressed sushi' is created with a wooden mold to make a 'box' shape. The bottom is lined with the topping then the sushi rice and pressed into a rectangular box. Lastly, it is cut into small rectangles or squares before being served.
There are different textures and flavors that you will get from the various types of fish. This texture is more important that flavor when it comes to sushi. They type of sushi that you get will have a different feel than others.
The topping of the sushi is what will bring the most flavor. Salmon, eel, shrimp, and even octopus are toppings that will affect the sushi. Octopus' texture is rougher, so it might not be ideal for someone that is first starting out.
Neutral flavor is a great thing about sushi. You should be tasting the rice and the bit of flavor that the topping brings. The milder flavors of individual fish will help in getting you used to eating sushi.
Some things will help you on your road to experience the world of sushi. Take these tips into consideration when you are looking into a place to eat, what to eat, et cetera. With all the information at your disposal, it is possible to ensure that you have the best sushi adventure possible.
- Go with what you know
- If you already know that you like something, try it on sushi. For example, salmon is a good start if you already know that you like it. If it is raw, it will have a similar taste and texture to it when it is cooked.
- Shrimp is also another good, popular start. There will be plenty familiar fish or other toppings to choose from when you get to the actual restaurant.
- Cooked items
- Eating raw seafood is not always a good first choice. This is because of the taste and texture of the fish. Eel is always cooked and has a taste and texture similar to chicken. The best thing to do is to check the menu or ask your server about items that are cooked.
- Vegetarian items
- Maki rolls with cucumber are a great way to ease yourself into eating sushi. They contain simple ingredients and still have the sushi flair. Vegetarian items can help you to get used to the way this food is created.
- Start with Maki
- With hand-rolled maki sushi, it is easier to deal with the fact that you are eating sushi. Sushi or sashimi can be overwhelming for the first timer. It is always best to ease yourself into it, especially if you feel uncertain.
- California roll is a simple roll with avocado and crab stick. As one of the most popular sushi dishes, it is also an excellent start.
- Chef's choice
- Letting the chef do their thing will provide a delightful experience. They will help you to avoid the things you do not like. Also, choosing what is best that day is also something that the chef will be able to do when you do this. Make sure you know what you are getting into if you choose to do this.
- Fishy fish
- There are less 'fishy' types of fish to start with that will not overpower your senses. Milder items are almost always better to start off with. Squid, red snapper, and tuna are examples of fish with a lighter taste. You will be able to get the experience of sushi without being overpowered by super fishy fish.
Why Sushi is Awesome
We all have a general idea of what sushi is, but most people don’t know that sushi is more than those little rolls you order at a Japanese restaurant.
Sushi is not a dish as much as it is a type of preparation of vinagared rice (known as sushi-meshi) combined or topped with other ingredients. Usually seafood.
It can come in the typical roll shapes we’re used to but also in cones, little rice patties with fish on top, rice balls filled with fish and more.
Since it’s such a popular dish worldwide, sushi is often altered to better fit different countries. Spain has sushi with chicken; Denmark has sushi with lumpfish and artichokes; Mexico has sushi with arrachera meat and guacamole; Italy has sushi with cheese and so on.
Sure, not every sushi place offers these variations and the most basic sushi preparations are still popular in all countries but it’s fun to see what sushi looks like in other countries.
Regardless of that, there’s no doubt that sushi is delicious, healthy and loved through the entire world. But if you’re on the fence about it, let us tell you about the health benefits of sushi:
- It’s packed with healthy proteins: Sushi is often made with fish, which contains a good amount of protein without any of the cholesterol and fat red meat is known for, which means that eating sushi more frequently than beef based dishes is actually good for you.
- It’s packed with omega-3: Seafood not only has proteins, it also has omega-3 which is a fantastic fatty acid that can help improve your heart’s health.
The fact that sushi is low in salt and sugar also helps your heart, so make sure not to drown your sushi on soy sauce before eating it.
- It’s full with antioxidants: If healthy proteins and omega-3 weren’t enough, sushi also contains antioxidants which can keep you looking, and feeling, healthy and young.
- It’s better than an energy bar: Believe it or not, sushi can give you as much, if not more, energy than your average energy or protein bar. Sushi has carbohydrates, that will keep you going and going, plus all the things we already mentioned, making it the better choice by far.
- It improves your digestion: Rice vinegar is a key ingredient for sushi and it helps your digestion a great deal. Couple that with the previously mentioned benefits and your body will be absorbing all the good things sushi has to offer.
If that’s not enough for you, keep in mind that the ingredients used in your regional variations can provide you with even more health benefits. You just need to research the ingredients in your favorite type of sushi and see what it can do for your body.
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you to make sushi a bigger part of your life and we don’t mean buying it several times a week because that gets expensive.
No, we mean making it yourself.
If the idea of introducing homemade sushi to your diet is appealing, then let us help you a bit more by helping you choose one of the most important tools you’ll need for your sushi adventure:
We’ve analyzed and tried several sushi knives in order to give you a review of the best sushi knives in the market.
Overall, eating sushi is an amazing experience if you let it. If anything, you will not regret trying something new even if you do not like it. You will never know until you try, after all. Remember to take it easy at first, before you jump into it. Then you can come back and tell me what does sushi taste like.
See the below video if you want to learn how to make sushi:
I hope you enjoyed this sushi guide and that it will help you decide if you want to try it. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!