Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that was developed in China and then brought over to Japan.
Sushi is rice seasoned with vinegar and sugar and contains fish, meat, or vegetables.
It has a unique taste because the fish used when making sushi is raw fish, known as Sashimi in Japan or Nigiri when served between two pieces of rice.
Sushi has a wide variety of flavors that range from salty, sweet, to sour depending on what part of the fish, meat, or vegetables are selected to be put in the sushi roll.
There are many things you can serve with sushi; however, below is a list of the eight best side dishes you will want to try out.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Sushi?
Sushi traditionally consists of a piece of sashimi (raw fish) and a mound of rice.
However, recently diners have been adding side dishes to their meals to get more variety and flavor.
This can be observed in restaurants across the country.
While every type of Japanese cuisine is unique, rice does play an essential role in most dishes.
Many Japanese dishes pair very well with alternative sides aside from typical sushi rice.
An example would be sashimi with different fish sauces and side salads.
Some may argue that there isn’t a “right” way to eat sushi.
However, in Japan, the correct method is to place the fish side of the sashimi on top of a small mound of rice and then eat everything in one bite.
The savory-sweet taste from the seasoned rice enhances the flavor of any fish it comes in contact with.
Another advantage of serving your sushi with side dishes is the increase in variety.
Customers will have more options to order from, resulting in a higher check average for each diner.
It’s also an opportunity to experiment with new flavors and combinations.
What to Serve with Sushi? 8 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some of the most popular side dishes that go well with sushi:
1 – Simple Green Side Salad
This is a very easy and simple side dish to prepare.
The ingredients for this recipe include mixed greens, carrots, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
This salad is great with any barbecue meat such as ribs or steak.
The cucumber cools the mouth after every mouthful, and the cherry tomatoes add a burst of flavor that enhances the taste of any dish they are served with.
This is also a great option for those who want an alternative side dish to rice but don’t want anything too heavy or filling.
Chop up all ingredients and toss them together for a quick and easy meal.
2 – Miso Soup
Miso soup, also known as Japanese miso soup, is great for those who want something to satisfy their savory tooth.
This recipe includes tofu cubes and seaweed, but you can experiment with other vegetables or proteins if you’d like.
This is a good option for dining alone because all ingredients are usually kept separate until the customer is ready to mix them.
The ingredients are all very low in calories but good-tasting and filling on their own.
You can even serve this soup with a side of rice if you want something more filling.
3 – Pork Gyoza
Gyoza is a popular side dish that goes great with both sushi and ramen.
These dumplings are usually served steamed or fried and include ground pork, cabbage, ginger, garlic, green onion, egg, salt, and pepper.
Pork gyoza is a great choice because it has that savory flavor that pairs well with rice and has an aspect of spiciness or sweetness that complements sushi.
This is also good for people trying to eat light at the end of the day.
4 – Cucumber Sesame Salad
This salad is great with sesame dressing.
The ingredients include cucumbers, onions, rice vinegar, salt, and black sesame seeds.
This dish pairs well with any meat or seafood dish but doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the food it is served with.
Cucumber provides a cool and refreshing taste that enhances the flavors of all fish-based sushi.
It is low in calories but high in flavor, making it a great side dish for those watching their weight or looking for something light to eat on the go.
You can also make this dish ahead of time because it only takes minutes to prepare.
The ingredients are also fresh and low in saturated fat, making them healthy alternatives to other sushi side dishes.
5 – Tempura
Tempura is a great side dish but can be overwhelming if served with rice or miso soup.
Instead, this should be served with a simple green salad or cucumber sesame salad because it has a lot of the same flavors as those dishes.
The dish includes vegetables and seafood dipped in batter and fried, resulting in a crispy outside layer and soft, tender center.
The ingredients used depend on availability but usually include onion, sweet potato, zucchini, carrots, squash, shrimp, or prawns.
This dish is good because it’s crunchy on the outside and tastes great with various dipping sauces.
The vegetables are also healthy and low in carbs while remaining high in protein.
This makes it great for both dieters looking for something that isn’t too filling and those looking for a side dish to match with pork or chicken.
6 – Fried Teriyaki Tofu
Teriyaki is a popular Japanese sauce that consists of soy sauce, sake, mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), sugar, and garlic.
This recipe uses tofu as its main ingredient but can also be made with other vegetables and proteins.
The great thing about teriyaki is that you can make it as spicy or sweet as you want by adjusting the amount of sugar in the recipe.
It’s also a filling side dish because tofu is rich in protein and low in calories, making it an excellent option for people looking to eat healthily or lose weight.
7 – Seaweed Salad
Seaweed salad is a popular choice for people looking to eat healthy at sushi restaurants.
The ingredients used in this recipe include seaweed, sesame seeds, vinegar, sugar, and salt.
This dish is great because it’s not only healthy but tastes good too.
Seaweed salad is high in fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.
It’s also low in calories but contains a lot of flavors, making it perfect for pairing with fish-based dishes like sushi.
There are also a variety of seaweed salad recipes to choose from.
Some include wasabi, while others do not customize the dish based on your preferences.
8 – Tamagoyaki
Tamagoyaki is a Japanese rolled omelet that typically consists of egg, sugar, soy sauce, and mirin.
It’s often served for breakfast in Japan but also makes a delicious side dish to any meal.
This is good because tamagoyaki has a sweet taste that pairs well with rice or sashimi without overpowering the flavor of the fish.
You can also add different ingredients to the omelet if you want something a little more filling.
Popular additions include cheese, corn, bacon, and shrimp.
By customizing your dish, you can make it unique but still delicious.
Sushi is an excellent meal that is well known for its unique texture and taste.
However, many people overlook the importance of having a good side dish to accompany their favorite sushi.
The dishes listed above were chosen for their simplicity and how easy they are to prepare.
This is not an exhaustive list of possible side dishes, but it does represent some of the most well-known and loved.
Try them all out to find your favorite.