What’s the Difference Between Maki and Sashimi?

If you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, you might have come across the terms “maki” and “sashimi.” Both are popular sushi types, but they’re entirely different in their preparation and taste.

In today’s blog post, you’ll explore the delightful differences between maki and sashimi and how each dish brings its own unique flavors to the table.

What is Maki?

Maki is a popular type of sushi that originated in Japan. It’s made by rolling vinegared rice and various fillings in a sheet of seaweed called nori. The word “maki” literally translates to “roll,” which perfectly describes the preparation of this dish.

To make maki, the sushi chef spreads a thin layer of seasoned rice over a sheet of nori, leaving a small border at the top. The chef then arranges several fillings, such as raw seafood, vegetables, or cooked ingredients, in a line along the center of the rice. 

Then, the nori and rice are rolled together into a cylindrical shape using a bamboo mat (sushi roll mat), creating a tight and compact roll.

Once the roll is complete, the sushi chef slices it into bite-sized pieces, yielding 6 to 8 slices per roll. The resulting pieces showcase the beautiful cross-section of rice, nori, and fillings. It makes them visually appealing and delicious to eat.

You can find many types of maki, including Hosomaki (thin rolls with one filling), uramaki (inside-out rolls with rice on the outside and nori inside), and futomaki (thicker rolls with multiple fillings). 

Maki is often served with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for dipping, allowing diners to customize their flavor preferences.

What is Sashimi?

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Sashimi is another type of sushi featuring thinly sliced, raw fish or seafood served without any rice or seaweed. The word “sashimi” is derived from the Japanese words “sashi” (pierced) and “mi” (body). It refers to the traditional method of skewering the fish’s tail and flesh together for easy handling.

To prepare sashimi, fresh and high-quality fish or other seafood are carefully selected. The fish/seafood is then skillfully sliced into thin, elegant pieces by expert chefs using sharp knives.

The goal is to highlight the fish/seafood’s natural flavors and textures. It allows the pure taste of the seafood to take center stage.

Several garnishes like shredded daikon radish, shiso leaves, and edible flowers accompany sashimi, adding a touch of visual appeal to the dish. Sashimi is so versatile for using the seafood that you can find fish eggs sashimi, like ikura sashimi. Or even shrimp sashimi, known as kani sashimi, is also sought after.

When enjoying sashimi, it’s common to dip each slice lightly into soy sauce mixed with a small amount of wasabi, which enhances the taste without overpowering the delicate flavor of the fish.

Sashimi is regarded as a delicacy in Japanese cuisine and is enjoyed for its fresh, clean taste and elegant presentation.

What is the Primary Difference Between Maki and Sashimi?

The primary difference between maki and sashimi is that maki is a type of sushi that is made with rice and other ingredients rolled in seaweed–it’s fun. While sashimi, another type of sushi, is thinly sliced raw fish or meat that is served without rice–sashimi is more like a form of art. 

What are Other Key Differences Between Sashimi and Maki

The preparation of maki and sashimi couldn’t be more different. To create maki, the sushi chef artfully arranges the rice and fillings on a sheet of nori, then rolls it tightly and slices it into perfectly formed rounds. 

On the other hand, for Sashimi, the chef skillfully slices the raw fish into thin, elegant pieces served directly without additional ingredients.

Taste and Texture

Maki boasts a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The soft, slightly tangy rice complements the various fillings, such as fresh seafood, vegetables, or even cooked ingredients. The nori (seaweed) adds a crispy element, making each bite a delightful experience of contrasting tastes and textures.

Sashimi, in contrast, celebrates the purity of the fish. Without the rice and nori, the taste and texture of the raw fish take center stage. It’s a symphony of flavors, offering a clean and authentic taste that truly exhibits the quality and freshness of the fish.

Presentation and Serving Style

The presentation of maki and sashimi differs significantly.

Maki is often served as beautifully arranged bite-sized pieces, displaying the intricate patterns of the rolls’ fillings. These vibrant rolls are usually accompanied by pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for dipping.

Sashimi, on the other hand, is served simply and elegantly. The raw fish slices are typically arranged on a plate with minimal garnish, allowing the fish’s natural colors and shapes to shine. To enhance the taste, it’s common to dip each slice lightly in soy sauce and pair it with a dab of wasabi.


In conclusion, maki and sashimi may both be beloved Japanese dishes. But they’re poles apart in their preparation, taste, and presentation. Maki delights with its artful combination of vinegared rice, fillings, and nori, while Sashimi captivates with the raw, unadulterated taste of fresh fish.

Whether you prefer the playful flavors and textures of Maki or the pure, unmasked taste of Sashimi, both dishes offer a delightful journey into the rich and diverse world of Japanese cuisine.

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Cashmere Muhammad
Cashmere Muhammad

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