Sushi is a very subjective topic. Trying to find out the best sushi fish will vary from restaurant to restaurant, but we’ve created a list of the best sushi fish that’s pretty consistent across the board. We’ve included rankings based on flavor, price, and what it would taste like to new comers to sushi; so you know what to expect! This is a list of the 7 best common sushi fish you can find and try at almost any sushi restaurant! We’ll save the exotic stuff for a future post! (Japanese names of the fish in parenthesis)
7. Albacore (Shiro Maguro)
Pictured here, the brown fish with onions over it, Albacore is an interesting fish. It can be hit or miss depending on the quality of the restaurant you go to. I’ve had some terrible and chewy albacore, and I’ve also had some very delicious bites! Albacore has an interesting flavor that’s more on the fishy side, but often restaurants pair it with pnzu sauce and onions. This usually helps even new comers to sushi enjoy the flavors!
6. Salmon (Sake)
Salmon is a favorite among non-sushi fanatics and sushi nuts alike! It has a very smooth, non-fishy taste that really is difficult to describe however part of the appeal is that it doesn’t taste “fishy.” Many non-sushi lovers however can agree that salmon is pretty delicious! It’s very commonly used in nigiri sushi as well as rolls and other types of sushi meals. It’s mild flavor really gives it flexibility to be used in a variety of ways. The distinct orange coloring should stand out instantly to you, and usually white stripes and a great texture accompany!
5. Tuna (Maguro)
Tuna, with its red allure is the most commonly consumed sushi fish. It can have a metallic fishy taste and it can also have a deeper fishy taste. It’s very fishy so noobs beware as this stuff can be expensive too! (So you better like it!) It really depends on the restaurant with tuna, sometimes you get the “Americanized” carbon monoxide version of tuna which is overly pink, and looses some of its flavor which is appealing to Americans apparently. Many cheap sushi restaurants opt in for this type of tuna because it can be stored for a long period of time and not loos its pink coloring! Real, untreated tuna will loose its color quickly if its not fresh and turn a brown color. Both tuna versions are safe to eat, however the problem here is that pricing for these tuna are usually the same! If I’m going to be paying premium pricing I better be getting premium fish!
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4. White Tuna (Escolar)
White Tuna is actually a different type of fish called “Escolar.” This fish is very popular at all you can eat sushi restaurants and it is very very delicious and creamy! This is perhaps one of the best tasting fish on an all you can eat place’s crappy menu. However this fish can give a side effect to those with weak stomachs of diarrhea. So it is advised not to binge on these! I personally love white tuna and eating it in moderation (though I could eat a lot more) has worked for me!
3. Fatty Tuna (Toro)
Fatty Tuna is the king of all sushi, it is often the most expensive item on the menu ranging from $8 – $35 for a few pieces of Fatty Tuna. In the picture above you will notice two different shades of red. The pinkest tuna (Up front) is the fattiest and most expensive, this is usually called (Toro or O-Toro) and the slightly pink (But not red like normal tuna) is the second fattiest grade of tuna called Chu-Toro. Both taste great, fishy and creamy at the same time, it’s really a succulent bite that you wish would last forever! The tuna pictured above was even adorned with gold flakes!
The reason this isn’t on the #1 spot on this list is because, as usual, there are restaurants who can really mess this up! It’s extremely expensive and if the chef doesn’t know how to cut this right, you could end up with some chewy tendons in your sushi which totally ruins the whole experience! Also I’ve had some very expensive fatty tuna that had tasted not so great, so quality control, especially in American (specially non-Japanese owned restaurants) is a real problem! I’ve found that Chu-Toro or Blue fin Tuna is a much safer choice!
2. Yellow Tail (Hamachi)
Mmmmmmm yellow tail! Oh yeah! This stuff is great! (It’s the pale sushi pictured in the lower left) Yellow tail is usually a very pale, and sometimes pink fish. This stuff has a very mild,, delecate, and creamy texture. Its flavor is not as strong as fatty tuna, but a little more fishy with a buttery texture. Yellow tail makes it to #2 on this list because it is an amazingly good tasting fish that rivals fatty tuna. Yellow tail is also not nearly as expensive as fatty tuna, usually around the same price as regular tuna or salmon, yellow tail wins in terms of flavor and price! And it’s consistent, it is very hard to mess up yellow tail, but it is possible especially at all you can eat sushi places, beware!
1. Sea Urchin (Uni)
The yellow stuff pictured. Sea Urchin is expensive, usually cheaper than fatty tuna, but a premium fish for sure! Uni is described by its haters as “tasting like sea water.” These of course, are uncultured people who have no idea what they are tasting. Don’t waste your money on this if your pallet for sea food is immature, you’ll regret it. Uni has a flavor unlike any other fish on this list, I don’t know if it can be described as “fishy” but it is definitely creamy, succulent, and literally just melts on your tongue. No chewing necessary, this tender stuff is really the best tasting sushi on this list. You must try it if you’re ready!
That’s it! Get out there ad try some sushi if you’re feeling up to it. A lot of people love sushi and a lot of people really can’t stand the raw fish. Get out there, look at some fish and see if you can at least identify the different fish by looking at the sushi, you’ll feel a lot smarter than all your friends. All of your friends will think you’re rick and eat sushi every day!