Some sashimi ingredients, such as octopus, are
sometimes served cooked given its chewy nature. Most seafood, such as
tuna, salmon, and squid, are served raw.
Sashimi often is the first course in a formal
Japanese meal, but can also be the main course, presented with rice and
Miso soup in separate bowls. Many Japanese people believe that sashimi,
traditionally considered the finest dish in Japanese cuisine, should be
eaten before other strong flavors affect the palate.
Left: A sashimi dinner set.
The sliced seafood that composes the main ingredient is typically draped
over a garnish. The typical garnish is Asian white radish, daikon,
shredded into long thin strands, accompanied by one green perilla leaf
per slice. Wasabi paste is sometimes mixed directly into soy sauce as a
dipping sauce, which is generally not done when eating sushi. Another
way to flavor soy sauce with wasabi is to place the wasabi mound into
the soy sauce dish and then pour it in. This allows the wasabi to infuse
the soy sauce more subtly. A reputed motivation for serving wasabi with
sashimi (and also gari, pickled ginger), besides its flavor, is killing
harmful bacteria and parasites that could be present in raw seafood.