Making Peace with Not-so-cooked Fish

Yes, sushi is, technically, cold fish, often raw. The actual term sushi refers to the sticky, vinegared rice used in most of the dishes. Believe me- it doesn't taste like most people's concept of "raw fish."
  • Properly made sushi is extremely fresh. Fish that's served at Yuka was always alive the same day- it's a matter of very few hours before it's used. The fish is quite safe to eat. It will have a very minimal 'fishy' smell, if any. Usually it has none. In North America, shellfish are served cold but cooked- it's not safe to do otherwise.
  • The flesh of some sushi, like tuna and salmon, is extremely tender. Most sushi tastes little or nothing like the cooked fish. I don't care for canned tuna, but raw it's one of my favorite foods.
  • The seaweed doesn't taste like seaweed. Nori is deep green kelp, pounded thin and roasted in textured sheets. It's a neutral, vegetable taste. Nigiri sushi have a thin strip of nori to hold the piece together, or none at all.
  • There are many tame 'beginner' sushi that are less exotic to Western tastes. A few: California roll (American sushi with avocado, cucumber, and imitation crab stick;) shrimp (cooked;) unagi eel (broiled in aged teriyaki sauce, I can't see anybody hating eel!;) tamago (egg;) crab salad, salmon and tuna. Pickled vegetable sushi are usually the most unfamiliar tastes.


 , my favorite irreverent how-to site, on enjoying sushi.
    Sushi 101, a more indepth reference.