how to buy sushi: How to Buy Sushi Grade Raw Fish for Sushi and Poke Bowls

how to buy sushi

If you’re looking for an online seafood delivery company with responsibly caught healthy seafood that’s flash-frozen at peak freshness, give Sea 2 Table a shot. If you are buying seafood online, there are other reputable websites that sell sushi grade fish and deliver it frozen, right to your door. If you only have supermarkets nearby, some of the big brand retailers now have high quality fish that could be used for sushi-making at home.

how to buy sushi

Let’s talk about what requirements are necessary for fish to be consumed raw, the controversy behind the term “sushi-grade”, and all the options for buying safe, sushi quality fish for at-home sushi. If you want to be really thorough about parasite removal, you can hold thin fillets (of fluke, say, or flounder) against a glass plate and shine a strong light through it, which will reveal many, if not all, of whatever parasites may be in the flesh. Similarly, cutting your fish in very thin slices will increase your chances of discovering parasites. There are definitely some things to consider when deciding to buy raw fish for consumption.

While many high-end sushi restaurants have a large list of raw fish offerings, it is important to note that many fish pose a higher risk of parasites and are better left preserved, treated, and served by the professionals. With that said, there are a handful of fish that are safe to consume raw when general precautions are taken upon catch, transport, and storage. At Osakana, Haraguchi’s idea of what it means for a specific fish to be sashimi-grade depends not just on the safety of the fish, but also on its quality. (Farmed fish, he says, tastes more like fat and less like the fish itself, due to the feed it’s raised on, so he avoids it.) Instead, he sources wild, local fish, and his suppliers know that he intends to sell that fish as sashimi. This gives Osakana the benefit of securing some very fresh fish that has been handled in such a way as to minimize bruising of the flesh. The trade-off is that Haraguchi and his staff—and their customers—have to be flexible, depending on what’s available.

How and Where to Buy Fish for Safe and Delicious At-Home Sushi

You will typically eat your sushi with chopsticks, though eating with your hands is acceptable. And nobody will look down on you for using a fork, either, if you don’t know how to use chopsticks or don’t feel comfortable doing so – so don’t worry about that. Raw fish served in a sauce that includes vinegar or citrus juice is always an easy way to add extra safety measures before consuming raw fish.

It’s easier to make a basic sushi roll at home that you might think. I have a complete step-by-step guide on making sushi for beginners you can find here. 99 Ranch (53 stores primarily in California, with other locations in Nevada, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia) – Offers a range of ingredients for Asian cuisine, including sushi essentials.

When I decided I wanted to learn how to buy sushi grade raw fish, it began with some research on local seafood markets in my area. I specifically looked for local places that offered sushi-grade raw fish and had positive reviews from other customers. When preparing sushi grade fish, make sure you use a sharp and long knife. The slicing should be done on a cutting board that is slightly wet to prevent the rice from sticking.

  • If you have a car, I recommend driving to one of Chicago’s Asian marts where you can buy fresh, fillets and pre-sliced sashimi, wonderful Asian pantry staples, and fresh produce commonly used in Asian cuisine.
  • If you are buying seafood online, there are other reputable websites that sell sushi grade fish and deliver it frozen, right to your door.
  • However, eating sushi with your hands is also a traditional method of sushi consumption, particularly for traditional sushi dishes like nigiri.
  • A reputable provider will be more than happy to answer any questions you have about a fish’s freshness and origins, as well as the provider’s own handling and processing practices.
  • On a less scientific level, worms—particularly parasitic worms—inhabit dark recesses of our collective imagination.
  • At Alaskan Salmon Co., we sell only sushi-grade Copper River salmon that you can trust for freshness.

But, as anyone who has eaten much sushi knows, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. In indicating that these fish are safe to eat raw, the labels also imply—erroneously—that others are not. There are some important steps and considerations learning how to buy high quality fish for raw consumption. I’m going to take you along with me on my experience buying raw salmon and tuna for sushi and poke bowls. In order to find good quality sushi grade fish, you should visit a local sushi restaurant or seafood market first — ask the sushi chef or manager where you can get great local fish. Sometimes, these places will have a variety of different types of sushi grade fish available for purchase as well.

Was the fish wild caught or farmed?

Gauging freshness is easier with a whole fish (check for bright red gills, eyes that are bulbous and clear, flesh that’s firm and unblemished) than with a fillet (smell and tightness of the muscles are pretty much all you have to go on). If you know what to look for in whole fish, you can shop for fish anywhere, even in markets that are less aesthetically appealing. For raw preparations, buy the freshest marine fish available, avoid fish in the cod family, and avoid freshwater fish, assuming you’re not interested in a tapeworm infection (if you are, godspeed).

Each day I make sure to add more ice to replenish any that had melted and use the three senses (sight, smell and common sense) to assess the freshness before consuming. If I don’t think the fish is fresh enough to consume raw, I simply cook it up and enjoy it baked or sauteed. It’s very important to find the high-quality fish if you plan to consume it raw. Any old piece of fish from your local grocery store may not be your best bet.

Update: Where to Find Sushi-Grade Fish for Homemade Sushi Delights

You can actually look up the food grade for local markets, grocery stores and restaurants in your area online. I went through the Department of Health and Environmental Control for my state and used their food grade database to look up the health inspection history of the fish market I intended to visit (they had a solid history of grade-A ratings). It wasn’t as scary or complicated process to find sushi-grade fish near me as I had imagined.

Keep your sushi-grade fish in the refrigerator for no more than two days (wrapped in plastic wrap and packed in ice) and don’t let it sit at room temperature for more than two hours. It is possible to freeze your sushi-grade fish and then thaw it in the fridge for later use, but the quality is very likely to deteriorate the longer it sits in the freezer. The wasabi is similar to horseradish, and it’s extremely potent and spicy – but not in the way that hot peppers are spicy. It has a sinus-clearing burn and heat, but this dissipates within a few seconds. Many folks who are looking for an extra kick mix some of their wasabi in with soy sauce – but more on that later.

how to buy sushi

They have 30 years of experience sourcing, preparing, and packaging seafood for clients around the country. They aim for top quality fish, most of which is wild caught, and deliver fresh fish to your home. If you’re in a large city (especially by the coasts, but anything with a decent-sized airport), then chances are you have access to sushi grade fish from a fresh market or fish market, within driving distance.

Cutting at an angle will result in rough edges which do not look appetizing. After washing your knife, cutting board, and hands it is okay to cut the fish on the same cutting board. Also, if you are making sushi at home yourself, buying sushi grade fish will ensure that the fish is safe to eat. Sushi grade fish should not have any bad smell; it should be extremely fresh.

Each person has to decide if it’s the right choice for themselves. I’m looking for fish that smells fresh (like a salty ocean breeze). I don’t want consume anything raw if I notice an overpowering “fishy” smell (that’s stinky or unpleasant). Here are some new additions to the list of online sites that offer sushi grade fish.

All About Sushi

For example, in Japan, there are different grades for each type of fish, each with a different name. Dry both the fish and the cutting board very thoroughly, using clean kitchen towels or paper towels, and, of course, make sure your hands are clean before you begin skinning and cutting. (But do the filleting at home, to ensure that the process is as sanitary as possible.) If you gut the fish yourself, be sure to wash out the blood and guts thoroughly with running water. By “temp-abuse,” or temperature abuse, Herron means that the fish could be kept at unsafe temperatures for a long enough period of time to encourage the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Generally speaking, fish must be kept below 40°F (4°C) to inhibit that growth.

Bacterial strains of all kinds are worrisome to health authorities, but some are specific to certain kinds of fish. Histamine is not eradicated by cooking or freezing, so it’s a particular concern for fish purveyors. The parasites that infect most marine fish are nematodes, or roundworms, from the genus Anisakis.

But for fish I plan to consume raw, I actually want farmed salmon (or tuna). But still, I feel it’s better to ask and hear an affirmative answer vs a negative one (or answer like “uh, I don’t know”). While eating your sushi-grade fish as quickly as possible is the ideal scenario, if you do store your sushi-grade fish for later use in sashimi, sushi, ceviche or any other raw fish dish, you want to keep things cold. When shopping for fish to eat raw, looking for the sushi-grade label can help you buy only that fish that’s been handled appropriately and that’s safest for you and your family.

What is “sushi grade” fish?

Because the regulations for what can be labeled as a sushi-grade fish (or sashimi-grade fish) aren’t very rigid, it’s not uncommon for some unscrupulous fish markets to simply slap the sushi-grade label on whatever they like. This is why it’s so important to purchase any fish that you intend to eat raw (or otherwise) from a trustworthy, reliable seller with a commendable reputation. You want to work with a sustainable fisher, who’s sourcing their fish wild, not from a farm. Look for anything that says “tempura.” Tempura is breaded fish, fried lightly in batter. The fish is fully cooked and has a nice crunch, and lends a delicious flavor to any sushi roll to which it’s added. I hope you’ve enjoyed coming along with me on my experience learning how to buy sushi-quality raw fish.

Thanks to the high quality seafood available on this site, Catalina has earned its reputation as one of the best online sushi supply stores. Birthed in 1970s and focused on sustainability, Catalina is a great option for buying sushi grade fish online and having it delivered frozen to your home. Finally, additional confusion has been borne out of some widespread and misleading terminology. Some fish markets will have a section of their display cordoned off, containing a few pristine-looking pieces of tuna and salmon labeled “sushi-” or “sashimi-grade.” A great fish market may advertise sushi- or sashimi-grade hamachi and fluke as well.

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