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Been searching Melbourne for a bite-sized slice of nutritious, delicious heaven? You need sashimi. Sashimi (刺身), originating from Japan and translating roughly as ‘stabbed meat’, is any thinly sliced, raw food – especially fish. It is one of the most well-loved methods of preparing food in Japan, and is one of the most common ways of consuming seafood, alongside sushi. The key difference between sashimi and sushi is their presentation, and the fact that sushi is typically served with vinegared rice.
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Sashimi is, aside from being a delicious treat, a meticulously prepared and beautifully arranged dish. Available at a huge variety of Japanese restaurants and izakaya, the thinly sliced food (which can be anything from beef to venison) is traditionally served on a bed of daikon. Daikon, if you’ve never tried it before, is a large Japanese radish, and is often used as a refreshing and healthy ingredient in dishes that may otherwise be oily, such as tempura and certain fish dishes. It has a certain radish-like kick to it, though when cooked this gives way to a crunchy sweetness that compliments sashimi perfectly.
How to eat sashimi the Japanese way
The most popular sashimi in Japan is tuna, which is also one of the most common ingredients in sushi. Salmon is another popular choice, desired for its strong flavours, low fat, and high protein. When it comes to eating sashimi, typically a dish will be lightly flavoured with soy sauce – by dipping the meats into the sauce, rather than dousing it in it.
Everybody’s tastes vary, but it is not uncommon for Japanese diners to add a little wasabi to their mouthful. Avoid mixing wasabi and soy sauce together – you’ll draw some strange looks if you do! Instead, take your chopsticks and drop a small amount of wasabi and place it on top of your chosen meat, before dipping into the soy sauce. In this way, the wasabi will stay high and dry on the top of your meat, and the soy sauce will flavour the underside. Everyone’s a winner!
Types of Sashimi
The wide range of ingredients that can be served as sashimi means that anybody visiting Japan or seeking to try the country’s cultural delights from afar – like in Gyoza Gyoza, for example! – will be able to find sashimi served all year round.
Salmon (sake) sashimi is, along with tuna, one of the most ubiquitous kinds of sashimi. Salmon sashimi is typically bright in colour, with cuts of salmon being chosen especially for this reason. Salmon sashimi is not only tender in the mouth and vibrant on the tongue, it is also packed with beneficial nutrients.
Tuna (maguro) sashimi is without a doubt one of the most common types of sashimi in Melbourne. As a main ingredient, tuna is extremely flavoursome, aromatic, and lean. Varying cuts and qualities of tuna are available, each offering their own texture and flavour, as well as differing health benefits.
Surf clam (hokkigai) sashimi is one of our favourites on our menu. Served with a crunchy and mouth-watering side of tsukemono – mixed Japanese vegetables – hokkigai is typically lightly boiled before serving, until most other sashimi. This enhances the flavour, brightens the appearance, and firms the meat.
Feeling peckish yet? If you’re salivating at the thought of sitting down to dine at a table laden with all manner of tantalising sashimi, remember - you’re only a phone call away from making a booking with Gyoza Gyoza!