Traditional Japanese cuisine is delicious — there’s no arguing that! Whether you plan to visit Japan someday to try tasty traditional dishes or you’re staying local and visiting our authentic Japanese restaurant in Rockville, there’s a lot to learn and even more to sample! Sushi is one form of Japanese cuisine that’s familiar to many Americans.

Thinking about branching out from sushi dishes that you’ve tried before? Many Japanese restaurants also offer nigiri and sashimi, which may be less familiar to you. Discover the details and differences of these similar, but also quite different, dishes here!


The mental image that probably pops into your head when you hear the word “sushi” is a standard sushi roll. The term “sushi” comes from a Japanese word that translates to sour rice. As you might expect from this name, sushi is made by wrapping vinegared rice in an oblong shape around different ingredients. Seaweed is frequently incorporated into the roll as well, although it does not have to be included. Fresh fish is also a common ingredient in sushi. The fish used in sushi is usually cooked or seared, although there are a few exceptions.

Sushi is frequently served with wasabi, ginger, and soy sauce, which amplifies its flavor profile. There are many fun twists on traditional sushi, so even if you haven’t liked it once or twice, there are many other sushi rolls worth trying! (PS: If you want to sound like a pro at any sushi restaurant, you should definitely check out our guide to sushi terminology.)


If you order sashimi, you have an amazing flavor experience ahead of you with different tastes and textures, but one thing is for sure: your meal will involve thinly sliced raw fish or meat. Since fish and meat served raw is not the norm in many Western restaurants, you might initially find the idea unusual. However, sashimi-grade fish and meat are safe for consumption since they are so fresh.

Traditional sashimi does not involve vinegared rice. Rather, it is served with daikon radish, which is a root vegetable. Some people say it resembles a large carrot in shape, with a flavor similar to mild red radishes.


The word “nigiri” is often used interchangeably with sushi or sashimi because it has traits in common with both dishes. But when you take a look at the small details, nigiri is its own special type of cuisine. To make nigiri, Japanese chefs press thin slices of fish into vinegared rice. Many different types of fish are used, with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, halibut, sea urchin, and squid being especially popular. Nigiri is arranged so that the fish is on top of the rice rather than rolled in it, which makes nigiri different from sushi. However, because it always includes vinegared rice, nigiri is sometimes listed underneath the sushi section at restaurants or called “nigiri sushi.” Unlike sushi, which can involve many different types of meat and vegetables, nigiri always includes raw fish.

Enjoy Authentic Japanese Cuisine at Kabuto

Is your mouth watering to try one of these delicious dishes? Does nigiri, sushi, or sashimi sound more your style? You can try them all — and so much more — at Kabuto Hibachi and Sushi! We’re local to East Norriton, PA, Rosedale, MD, Parkville, MD, and Rockville, MD, so there’s a good chance we’re only a short drive away! Come for a visit today and try something new or order an old favorite.