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What Goes with Sushi?

A close look at a bento box with various sushi and sahimi and a side of miso soup.

While many of my friends and family love to eat sushi by itself, I prefer to eat it with other Japanese-inspired side dishes. If you are the same way, this article is for you.

There are many dishes that go well with sushi but for those who are not familiar with Japanese food, you may want to know what is sushi?

Related: Types of Rice | Types of Food | Types of Condiments | How to Store Sushi | Types of Sushi | How to Wash Sushi Rice | Sushi vs. Sashimi | Sushi Rice Substitutes

What is Sushi?

Sushi is created with smaller pieces of raw sushi-grade fish. Those fish are then wrapped in seaweed and rice. The type of seaweed is called nori which is collected by fishermen with bamboo-style nets that they submerge into the ocean. While mass-produced sushi is made by robots and machines, the best sushi is still made by hand and soy sauce or wasabi are normally used to flavor sushi rolls, which are the most popular way of eating sushi.

 History of Sushi

This is a close look at a chef preparing various types of sushi.

Sushi was first created in southeast Asia with the goal of increasing the shelf life of fish by placing it in fermenting rice.

There are several different types of sushi, including Nigiri sushi which is a fish topping that is served over top of sushi rice, A Maki roll, which is the fish surrounded by rice and seaweed and is the most popular version of sushi, Uramaki which is fish on the outside with the rice and seaweed inside, homemade sushi rolls that are made into cone shapes which are called Temaki, and sashimi with is just the fish without the seaweed or rice.

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There are many dishes that go very well with sushi. Check out our detailed list below of what goes with sushi.

Smoked Salmon

This is a close look at salmon sashimi, salmon sushi and salmon roe.

You can pair smoked salmon with sushi rolls or sushi rice for an amazing meal or opt to order a sushi roll that is encased with smoked salmon.


This is a set of tempura sushi roll and tempura on a dark platter.

Tempura, whether it is vegetable tempura or shrimp tempura, is excellent with sushi. If you want to make your own, you can do so by combining wheat flour with ice water then mix it into small batches using chopsticks. To make the dip that goes with it, use boiled water with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi then enjoy.

Miso Soup

Salmon sushi nigiri with a side of miso soup.

Soup is wonderful with sushi and is included in many Japanese meals. There are two types of Japanese soups that are normally served, including surimono or clear soup, and miso soup. Miso is created with miso paste and dashi stock along with two contrasting flavors: tofu and Negi or spring onion.  

Grilled or Roasted Eggplant

This is a set of fried eggplant tempura on a platter.

You can fry up or roast some slices of eggplant with olive oil and teriyaki sauce to create an amazing side dish that goes well with sushi.

Gari or Pickled Ginger

A serving of various sushi with a side of pickled ginger.

Gari or pickled ginger is not actually a dish that goes well with sushi but rather it is served as a palate cleanser in between the bites you take of your sushi. Its pink color comes from the baby ginger that provides a milder flavor to it.

Edamame Sprinkled with Sea Salt

A serving of sushi with a side of edamame.

Soy beans still in the pod are referred to as Edamame are soybeans and they will provide a crunchy contrast to your soft sushi. Simply blanch the soy beans in some saltwater then steam them until they are cooked.

Gyoza Dumplings

A close look at sushi and two kinds of gyoza dumplings.

Gyoza is a type of Japanese dumpling that is created with a minced pork filling and made into a shape of a half-moon. To go well with sushi, it tastes better if you choose gyoza that features a vegetable filling instead of pork, though, which goes very well with its seafood topping.

You can create the filling by using carrots, onion, minced ginger, cabbage, garlic chives, and shiitake mushrooms then wrap the filling in dumpling wrappers. You can then deep fry them or boil them.

Kani Salad

This is a small single-size serving of kani salad with a couple of sushi.

There are many salads that go well with sushi and Kani salad is one of them. It is made with Kani or crab meat mixed with lettuce, cucumber, Japanese mayonnaise, and carrots. If you want to sweeten it up, you can add in some mango slices or even some thin slices of avocado to give it a nutty flavor too.

Wakame Seaweed Salad

A close look at a serving of wakame nigiri seaweed sushi.

Seaweed salad goes extremely well with sushi and has many health benefits. Give your seaweed a nice dressing by combining miso, soy sauce, sesame oil, mirin, yuzu sauce, sesame seeds, chili, and salt. If you want to make your own dressing for this salad at home, simply head to an Asian store to pick up these ingredients.


This is a close look at a  platter of sushi and tamagoyaki.

Due to some mirin and sugar in this recipe, tamagoyaki is a Japanese egg roll that has a very distinctive sweet taste to it and can be served on the side with sushi or as part of the filling.

Brown Rice

A close look at a bowl of healthy brown rice.

You can opt for an order of sushi with brown rice instead of cooked rice if you prefer or you can order a side of brown rice to go with your sushi.

Tuna Fish Stacks or Tuna On the Side

A slab of fresh blue fin tuna on a plate.

You can order sushi wrapped in tuna fish, a tuna fish stack made with cucumber and mango, or even smoked tuna or opt to have it on the side to go with your sushi.

Green Tea

This is a close look at a platter of sushi and green tea.

When it comes to Japanese cuisine, green tea is served at basically every single meal, including breakfast, lunch, and supper, since it is so healthy and has many healing properties for your body. It is served hot or cold, depending on your preferences, and pairs very well with a plate of sushi.


Three sticks of sweet mitarashi dango on a plate.

And to go with your green tea, you will need some Dango, a mochi style dumpling, that can balance out the bitter flavor of the green tea. It is sort of a dessert but is normally served to balance out the green tea and is normally topped with a red bean paste along with some matcha and other mild sweeteners. Most of the time it will be served as three different dangos on a skewer that is normally green, pink, and white in color.

Matcha Ice Cream

A bowl of matcha ice cream with pieces of mint leaves.

And, of course, we had to include a dessert on our list that goes with sushi so I give you the very delicious matcha ice cream. It is a traditional part of Japanese cuisine that is amazing and delectable. While matcha has kind of a bitter, powdery taste to it when you mix it into ice cream, it becomes absolutely delish and is a refreshing treat with your sushi.

FAQs About What Goes With Sushi

Can sushi be cooked?

If you are new to eating sushi or a sushi dish or you’ve never tried it at all before, you may prefer one of the cooked types rather than raw. You can order a California roll which is made with imitation crab that is cooked and mixed with cucumber and avocado. Also, if you order sushi that is made with eel with eel sauce at a sushi restaurant, it is always cooked.

Can sushi make you sick?

You can get sick from sushi due to contamination by viruses or bacteria. It is more unlikely that you will get sick from sushi in the United States from a parasite in the fish.

Are there other sides that go well with sushi?

Sake always goes well with sushi and Japanese cuisine, as does unagi, ahi, kani, or ebi.

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