In Japanese cuisine, sushi is vinegar rice, usually topped with other ingredients, such as fish.
Sliced raw fish alone is called sashimi, as distinct from sushi. Combined with hand-formed clumps of rice, it is called nigirizushi.
Sushi served rolled inside or around nori (dried and pressed layer sheets of seaweed or algae) is makizushi.
Toppings stuffed into a small pouch of fried tofu is inarizushi. Toppings served scattered over a bowl of sushi rice called chirashi-zushi.
Many non-Japanese conflate sashimi and sushi; the two dishes are actually distinct and separate. Sushi refers to any dish made with vinegared rice, and while raw fish is one traditional sushi ingredient, many sushi dishes contain seafood that has been cooked, while others have no seafood at all.
Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy primarily consisting of very fresh raw seafood, sliced into thin pieces about 2.5 cm (.98 in.) wide by 4.0 cm (1.6 in.) long by 0.5 cm (0.2 in.) thick, but dimensions vary depending on the type of item and chef, and served with only a dipping sauce (soy sauce with wasabi paste or other condiments such as grated fresh ginger, or ponzu), depending on the fish, and simple garnishes such as shiso and shredded daikon radish.The word sashimi means “pierced body”, sashimi = sashi (pierced, stuck) and mi (body, meat), may derive from the culinary practice of sticking the fish’s tail and fin to the slices in identifying the fish being eaten.
One possibility of the name “pierced body” could come from the traditional method of harvesting. ‘Sashimi Grade’ fish is caught by individual handline, and as soon as the fish is landed, its brain is pierced with a sharp spike, killing it instantly, then placed in slurried ice. This spiking is called the Ike jime process. Because the flesh thus contains minimal lactic acid from the fish dying slowly, it will keep fresh on ice for about 10 days without turning white, or otherwise degrading.