In recent years, Malaysia has become home to a lot of different international cuisines and of course, we’re all the more thankful for it. One particular Japanese delicacy though is loved by locals and most of us are hooked (pun intended) on it. Yeap, I’m talking about salmon sashimi.
Most of us would have at least tried sashimi but do you know what fresh sashimi is actually supposed to be like? Don’t worry as we’ve put together a few handy tips to help you identify how fresh the salmon on your plate is. Here are some things to take note of:
1. Does the sashimi smell?
There is actually quite a lot of debate about whether sashimi should smell like the ocean or have no smell at all. What you really need to be looking out for is how strong the smell of the sashimi is.
If you bring a slice of sashimi to your mouth or nose and there’s a slight smell (whether fishy or salty), this is considered normal. However, if you’re sitting upright and can smell how fishy it is, then it’s best to avoid it.
2. How does it look?
You may think that a piece of salmon sashimi is just that but if you look at it closely, you’ll be able to see the finer details that will tell you just how fresh (or not) it is.
Source: Fish on Friday
Fresh sashimi should be shiny, almost translucent and free from any milky slime. Basically, what you want to be looking at is a fish with a jewel like appearance.
3. What is the colour like?
Most of us just assume that the more orange the flesh of the salmon sashimi is, the more fresh it must be. This is actually not true.
In terms of colour, there’s 2 things that you need to pay attention to:
- There is a colour difference between wild salmon and farmed salmon. Wild salmon will have a more red tone to it due to their diet that’s usually high in carotenoids, as opposed to farmed salmon that eat dry pellets.
- Certain salmon farms use some sort of colouring process to make their fish look more appealing. Bright pink and orang salmon could easily be due to food colouring in the pellets.
In short, the colour of your salmon sashimi does not directly correspond with freshness. As long as the colour is vibrant and not dull, you’re good to go.
4. Do the sashimi slices hold their shape?
Before you dig right into the beautiful slices of sashimi in front of you, take a moment to actually look at the texture of it and poke it slightly to test it out. If it returns to its original state after you poke it, then it’s actually a pretty solid, fresh fish.
They should also be easy to pick up, as they would hold better and you would not see much degradation in the flesh. Degradation meaning things like pockmarks or rips in the sashimi.
If the sashimi doesn’t fulfill the criteria mentioned above, for the sake of your stomach, you should avoid it at all cost.
Here are some other pointers to help you potentially identify how fresh the sashimi is:
- The restaurant that you’re eating at shouldn’t have a fishy smell. In fact, the best ones should smell of cucumber or watermelon.
- How the chef handles the fish is also a good indicator. If the fish is not handled properly, it can affect the quality of it.
- If you spot pre-sliced fish, it wouldn’t be good either. Pre-slicing oxidizes it and speeds up the aging process of the fish.
Of course, the best way to do so is to keep training yourself by eating lots of it, right?
Just use these handy tips and you’ll be sure to enjoy your sashimi! Itadakimasu!
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