What Type of Salmon is Used for Sushi?

Sushi is one of the most popular foods in the world with a real cult following. This Japanese cuisine is now more popular than many seafood dishes. Despite being a Japanese dish, restaurants all over the world are now making their own sushi because of the large clientele for this food. 

The three types of Salmon used for sushi are King Salmon, Chum Salmon and Sockeye Salmon.

What is sushi? Essentially, sushi is made using raw fish, its’ primary ingredient. This fish is then wrapped with fermented rice, followed by a layer of seaweed. And that’s just the most basic way to describe this unique dish.  Over the years, sushi has evolved and has so many new variations.

Salmon Sushi and its’ History

Salmon is a type of fish that is widely used in sushi. Once upon a time in Japan it was completely unheard of to consume raw salmon. Today, salmon has become a sushi staple- thanks to the Norwegians. 

In the 1980s’, Bjørn Erik Olsson began marketing Norwegian-farmed salmon to the Japanese masses. He changed the perception of raw salmon as “untasty” among the Japanese, and promoted it as a healthy and delicious fish choice for their sushi. 

This campaign worked and by 1992, salmon was not just accepted in sushi but was highly demanded in restaurants all across Japan. People started to love its super soft texture and distinct taste.

Fast forward to today: salmon is the most popular and common choice of fish meat used in sushi in Japan. Salmon sushi is also a favorite in America, Europe and many other countries also use it in their sushi.

How is Salmon Sushi made?

Salmon sushi is made similarly to other sushi types. The raw salmon is wrapped with fermented rice and veggies and topped with delicious seasonings. The next step is to wrap it in seaweed. It may also be wrapped in slices of cucumber or rice paper.

Finally, it is cut into the mouthwatering signature sushi pieces we all know about. 

What Type of Salmon is Used for Sushi?

Basically, salmon is a common name for different species of ray-finned, saltwater fish. Salmon can be found in many parts of the world, but it is originally native to North Alaska and the Pacific Ocean.

There are many species of salmon that are consumed in different parts of the world. In fact, these different salmon types are used in sushi too.

Let’s take a look at the popular salmon types used in sushi:

King Salmon

King Salmon, also known as Chinook salmon is one of the largest sized varieties of this fish. In fact, it can even weigh more than 100 pounds. One important characteristic of the King Salmon is that it has the highest fat count. But it also has the highest level of Omega-3 antioxidants. 

The King Salmon originates from the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean from North California to Alaska, and the Okhotsk Sea.

This salmon is considered one of the richest, most buttery, thickest, and tastiest ones you could try. And having it in sushi makes it double the treat. The King Salmon is one of the expensive varieties but it’s a must-try for the real foodies and sushi lovers.

Chum Salmon

This Pacific Salmon called Chum Salmon is the most common variety. In fact, when someone says ‘salmon’, they’re typically referring to the ‘chum’. It is the most substantial and widely distributed salmon type.

The chum salmon is characterized by its’ lighter color. Plus, there is less oil and sodium content in this type. Hence, it has a mild taste. If you don’t like extremely intense flavors, you will love having chum salmon sushi. 

It is also an affordable salmon type which is its’ main plus point.

Sockeye Salmon

The Sockeye Salmon or Red Salmon or ‘blueback’ is another extremely popular choice among seafood and sushi lovers. It has an orange-red meat that is known to be delicious, and is also high in fat and protein. 

The Sockeye Salmon is famous for its strong flavor, noticeably firm flesh and silky texture, and is considered as one of the best ingredients for the finest sushi.

This is a highly prized salmon type and is also expensive, compared to other salmon types.

Is Wild Salmon Safe to Eat Raw?

While purchasing salmon to be eaten raw, you might be confused if ‘wild’ salmon is a good option for your sushi. 

You must always keep in mind that raw salmon, especially when wild, does come with some health risks. It may contain bacteria or parasites. If you have a choice, it is always better to opt for farmed salmon that is raised for the specific purpose of eating, and is guaranteed parasite-free. So, there are zero risks if you consume farmed salmon sushi.

If you do choose to eat raw salmon that isn’t farmed, you must minimize the risks. You should ensure that the salmon was blast-frozen at a temperature of -31 degrees. Plus, you should also look for other signs when you are buying the frozen salmon. It should not be discolored, bruised or have a distinctly off odor. 

Also remember that if the raw salmon feels tingly in your mouth or throat, this can be a sign of a parasite in it. You must immediately spit that out or cough it. 

While dining out, make sure you are eating at a well-reputed, authentic sushi restaurant. 

Alternatives for Salmon in Sushi

Sushi is extremely versatile and many other types of fish also taste amazing in it.

Other types of seafood that complement sushi well, without any risk of parasites include, scallops, shrimp, tuna, crab, and tilapia. 

Flounder is another fish choice that is commonly sold, but we don’t recommend this type. Even after being farmed, there is a high risk of parasites in flounder. 

If you want to try A-grade salmon sushi, our recommendation is for the incredibly satisfying ‘King Salmon’. Other types of sushi, especially with scallops and crab meat are also absolute must to try to eat.  We hope this guide was helpful and that you will enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth, aquatic explosion in your mouth that comes from tasty sushi.


The founder of Catch and Fillet, “Chum Charlie”, has been writing articles within the fishing community for over 9 years. He got his nickname due to his preference for chumming while he is fishing. Chumming is a common practice that is used in the ocean to lure various types of fish to the boat. Chum can consist of various fish parts that attract fish due to its overbearing odor.

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