Last Updated on August 16, 2023 by Shari Mason
Salmon is one of the most popular fish in Japanese cuisine, typically served as sushi, teriyaki, and salad. It’s also a staple fish in sushi restaurants worldwide.
This fish is a must-try for sushi lovers for its tender texture and rich flavor, but exactly what type of salmon is used for sushi?
Read on to find out the types of salmon used in making sushi and tricks for picking the freshest fish.
7 Recommended Salmon Types For Sushi
1. King Salmon
Norwegians first marketed salmon sushi to Japan as they considered it junk fish . Since wild Pacific salmon is infested by parasites, it was never eaten raw before the 90s.
King salmon can be sourced from the northern Pacific Ocean and has a slightly sweet and fresh flavor. It’s also called Chinook salmon, with thick and fatty meat.
King salmon sushi has a unique flavor and is often served raw or cooked. When eating King salmon sushi, it’s paired with spicy mayonnaise and soy sauce.
In Japan, the King salmon is called “Masunosuke” and is the largest salmon in the Pacific Ocean, hence the name.
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2. Sockeye Salmon
The most commonly used fish to make sushi is called Sockeye salmon or Red salmon. Sockeye salmon is also called Blueback and has bright orange meat.
Japanese restaurants usually serve Sockeye salmon sushi since it’s a fattier fish. Among all salmon types, Sockeye is one of the best fish for sushi for its rich flavor.
In addition, it’s popular in Western countries since it has low fat yet high protein content.
3. Farmed Atlantic Salmon
Another recommended fish for sushi is the Atlantic Salmon, which is chilled and never frozen, so it has great fat content, texture, and mouthwatering color.
This fish is also called Norway salmon if sourced from Fjords and is the most expensive farmed-raised salmon. Once in the Japanese market, it is branded as Aurora salmon.
There are also other brands of this fish, such as Canadian salmon, Scottish salmon, and Faroe salmon.
4. Chum Salmon
Shirozake or Chum salmon can be caught in the sea and rivers. Chum salmon is light red in color and a popular ingredient for sushi for its mild flavor yet meaty texture.
It’s also called Dog salmon since male Chum salmon have large canine-like teeth. Chum salmon sushi is often served as sashimi, nigiri, or teriyaki salmon.
5. Farmed Alaskan Salmon
Farmed Alaskan salmon is ideal for sushi due to the low risk of parasites. It’s raised from feed pellets, so they don’t eat prey infected with parasites.
However, fish farming is prohibited in certain waters. Thus, sourcing farmed Alaskan can be tricky.
6. Silver/Coho Salmon
If you prefer to eat raw salmon with a light flavor, go for Coho or Silver salmon. It has a silver color meat and is better consumed raw than cooked.
This fish is for salmon sashimi lovers who want a less fishy taste. You can also serve Coho salmon on top of seaweed sheets or sushi rice.
7. Pink Salmon
Pink or Humpback is one of the low-cost sushi-grade salmon you can find in the market. It has a milder flavor than the other salmon types used for sushi.
Still, it’s flavorful and tasty for salmon sushi. Humpback salmon also have a light-colored flesh, perfect for sushi novices.
Moreover, Humpback salmon sushi is darker, oily, and has less fat content.
Is Wild Salmon Ok To Use For Sushi?
Yes, wild-caught salmon is fine to use for sushi. However, consuming wild salmon poses health risks since parasites or bacteria may infest it.
Wild-caught and farmed salmon differ greatly in taste, color, and texture. Although wild salmon is fresher and tastier, farmed raised is ideal if you like eating raw salmon sushi. But how long does sushi-grade fish last?
Salmon Freshness Test
When buying raw fish, it’s important to know if it’s fresh or spoiled. Salmon fillets are fresh if it smells like the sea or is slightly salty.
Additionally, it could be spoiled if it smells too salty or fishy. So, ensure to smell your salmon before mixing it with sushi rice or nori.
A fresh salmon looks almost transparent and shiny. It shouldn’t have a whitish milky slime, and the eyes should be white instead of pinkish (an indicator of spoiled fish).
Salmon skin with dark spots is also spoiled. Additionally, raw salmon meat is spoiled if it appears like a transparent jelly in milky white color.
The texture of the salmon also indicates that it’s fresh if it’s firm, moist, and bounces back when touched. It could be spoiled if it feels springy, mushy, or jelly when touched with fingertips. But should you use frozen salmon for sushi?
Salmon slices may appear more vibrant since some farms use food coloring. It’s fresh if it has a peach or pinkish color without white stripes.
Most importantly, always check the label of store-bought salmon. It should have a sell-by date to determine if it’s spoiled.
Tips & Tricks When Picking Salmon For Sushi
If you’re making salmon sushi, we recommend using King salmon – the best sushi-grade salmon in the market.
When purchasing cured salmon fillets for sashimi, pick farm raised that are sold frozen. Then, freeze it to kill parasites when stored.
Nonetheless, you can use other types of salmon for sushi if you prefer milder flavors, like Pink and Coho salmon.
Can grocery store salmon be used for sushi?
Yes, salmon meat from grocery stores can be used for sushi, given its frozen and labeled sashimi or sushi grade.
However, if you like eating raw fish, wild Alaskan salmon is the best choice and is safe to eat.
Can any salmon be sushi-grade?
No, not all salmon can be sushi grade. The term sushi grade is used for marketing farmed salmon in Japanese restaurants, which is free from parasites .
Thus, only those salmon safe for raw consumption can be labeled sushi or sashimi grade.
Salmon is a healthy fish to add to your diet for its rich nutritional benefits. If you want to try making your own sushi, follow our guide to find the perfect salmon based on your taste.
You can also try these types of salmon for a tasty sushi party that will leave you craving its mouthwatering goodness.
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