Before You Go All In On Sushi, Try The Sashimi First

salmon sashimi on a plate
salmon sashimi on a plate - MIA Studio/Shutterstock

Eating at an authentic sushi bar is a fun experience for sushi lovers and newcomers alike, but it can also be overwhelming. With so many different fish, mollusks, and crustaceans to choose from, it's hard to decide the best thing to order. That's why the next time you go out for sushi, you should order sashimi first. Sashimi is intended as an appetizer, and can help you judge the quality and freshness of other choices on the menu.

Basically, the main difference between sushi and sashimi is that sushi has rice and other ingredients while sashimi is just fish (or other meats, egg, or tofu). Since an order of sashimi typically only contains one or two pieces, if you don't like it you won't be left with a bunch of wasted food as you might if you were to order a larger sushi roll, or pieces of sushi, which tend to come in bigger portions. Additionally, because there are no other elements to interfere with the taste or texture of sashimi, aside from maybe some soy sauce and wasabi, ordering it will let you truly appreciate the taste of different fish and other proteins.

Read more: 30 Japanese Dishes You Need To Try At Least Once

Ordering Sashimi Gives You A Better Idea Of What's In Sushi

plate of sashimi
plate of sashimi - Marcelo_Krelling/Shutterstock

For example, if you're perusing the menu and you see something you've never had before, like a toro sushi roll, you could order a piece of toro sashimi and discover what it tastes like in pure form. In this case, it is a luxurious, fatty, delicious piece of tuna belly. Once you know what it is, you can better enjoy its use in sushi rolls or nigiri, which is simply fish and rice. Eating sashimi rather than sushi as an appetizer is not as filling, due to the lack of rice. And the singular flavors make it a great way to warm up your palate.

Sashimi is also a good choice if you are watching what you eat, or simply prefer a less heavy meal. It doesn't have the extra carbs and calories that come with rice, but it still has all the nutrients of the fish itself. If you order a piece of fish sashimi like tuna or salmon, those nutrients can include protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and selenium. Other types of sashimi, like beef, squid, and eel, all have their own unique nutritional profiles and tastes.

If you're the type of person who values quality over quantity, then sashimi is for you. Order up a plate the next time you're wondering what to order at a sushi restaurant and learn about the intricate flavors of individual ingredients.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.