Like many other cuisines, sauces are make-it-or-break-it elements when it comes to eating sushi. Made from vinegar-soaked rice, vegetables, fish, and other quality ingredients, sushi is an incredibly healthy meal option, but the wrong sauce or the wrong amount can quickly turn your dinner into a cheat day.

There are a few tips and tricks to using sauces and pastes the get the absolute best flavor out of your sushi. 

Best Sauces, Pastes, and Sides

While you might be familiar with the strips of ginger and dollops of wasabi that come with most sushi orders, you might not know what they are best used for.

Here’s a breakdown of a few common sauces, pastes, and sides you might ask for to excite your taste buds at your next meal:

  • Soy Sauce: used for dipping sushi and sashimi, soy sauce has a salty and sweet flavor that makes it ideal for topping off any roll. 
  • Wasabi: made from Kudzu, wasabi tastes slightly spicy like horseradish and mustard, and is used to add a kick to your sushi. Some diners also enjoy wasabi because it diminishes the smell of fish and helps to suppress microbes that can exist in raw foods. 
  • Ginger: pickled in vinegar, the strips of ginger served with your sushi is intended to be consumed between rolls. The powerful flavor cleanses your palate to make sure you are able to fully experience the unique flavors of each roll. 
  • Ponzu Sauce: a citrus-based sauce and popular addition to soy sauce, ponzu is a popular dipping sauce for adding a tart, tangy flavor to sashimi.
  • Eel Sauce: heated for serving, eel sauce is a thick, sweet sauce that comes drizzled on top of a variety of nigiri

The type of sauce or condiment you choose to add to your sushi will depend on your personal preferences. If you’re not sure what a sauce is or what it tastes like, ask your server for more information. They’ll be able to tell you the ingredients, flavor, and best ways to add the sauce to your meal for an amazing flavor combination. 

Avoid Drowning Your Sushi in Sauce 

Popular sauces like soy sauce are great for dipping, but make sure you aren’t drowning your rolls in the sauce. Soy is naturally high in sodium and can quickly ruin a roll if you add too much.

Experts advise that to get just the right amount of flavor, you should try to dip just the fish into the soy sauce and not the rice, which will absorb too much liquid. 

Keeping Your Meal Healthy 

Sushi is a popular food option because of the infinite number of ways to customize it, the flavor combinations available, and the health benefits it can offer. With plenty of popular types of fish like tuna, salmon, and yellowtail found in a lot of common rolls, sushi is a meal you can feel good about.

Enjoy some of your favorite sushi by taking it to the next level with the right sauce variation!