What is the Best Sushi for Beginners to Try for the very First Time?

(so you won't get something Nasty or Disgusting on your first Sushi Experience...believe me, it does happen...)

Couple sharing sushi and eating with chopsticks

When you eat Sushi for the very first time, I think it is very important to be selective and try to pick the very best sushi for beginners.

But how can you do that, you say? Well, it can be difficult. Peoples tastes vary widely. Some people I know hate everything, while others, well, eat absolutely anything.

A wide variation in tastes between those two.  

And also a lot of opportunities for some bad sushi experiences. On both sides. 

But that's even more reason why I think you should be selective and also slightly reserved the first time or two that you try sushi so that you can give it a fair try.

Because given a fair chance, I believe that you can find something that you will at least like. More than likely though, given more chances and I think that you will find something that you will absolutely Love.

But...if you try the WRONG sushi the first time, then the experience just might snowball. You might quit. Give it up. Maybe even think that all sushi tastes bad...and never eat it again.

Soon afterwards, you might tell your co-workers that sushi tastes like crap and then move on to your family, friends, relatives, aquaitances and even illegitimate children.

And so now? You've made a mess. Everybody you know thinks that SUSHI tastes like CRAP. And...because of you...generations of your family tree will never try sushi...because it has a "sushi tastes like crap" family tree curse on it...


Ok. A little dramatic. But you get the idea. And that is why you really should be a little reserved (or even selective) and try to pick a sushi that lends itself to a good beginner sushi experience. 

I have seen it too many times. People try sushi, say they hated it, and then later on when I find out that they said they didn't like it, I ask them what they had.

9 times out of 10 they tried something I never would have recommended trying the first time out. And in many cases they named off something that I didn't even personally like and probably wouldn't even have given to my dog (some sushi that I have tried, given to a pet would have been viewed as animal abuse...yeah...).

It is true. Some Sushi, to me at least, is absolutely hideous. Yes. I said, "Hideous". Don't get me wrong. Most sushi to me is good. I'd say easily over 90%.

But sushi is like everything else. Not every variation of a food is excellent and equally good.

So what's a guy (or gal) to do? I thought you would never ask!

Let's work on slanting the odds in your favor for trying something good the first time. So if you at least find something not so tasty later on down the road, you have something good to go back to.

Best Sushi for Beginners -  First Time Sushi Recommendations

california roll

Play it safe with a California Roll your First Time Out

If this will be your first time, whether you like all kinds of food or not, I would recommend starting off with a Maki roll.

And a good one to start off with I think is a California Roll. This will be your best sushi for beginners recommendation # 1. 

It is usually made of crab meat (real or imitation), cucumber and avocado. This seems to be a good one to begin with because it has no raw fish and most people do like and have eaten crab before.

And for those adverse (or too chicken) to try nori (seaweed) for the first time, it is normally rolled up on the inside uramaki style so it is kinda hidden. If you are taking somebody else for the first time and you think they might be a nori wimp, don't tell 'em its in there!

Either way, the California roll should be a nice tasty introduction to sushi and should show you that sushi can be good.

And honestly, a lot of the reason why I like sushi so much is not only to eat a particular sushi, but to enjoy everything else that goes along with it.

The stuff you do when you consume it. Like dipping it in soy sauce or a soy sauce and wasabi mixture, taking a bite of the ginger (during or after your bite), and washing it down with green tea or a beer.

If you need some quick tips on how to eat sushi visit our How to Eat Sushi Page.

If you want to get the full details of the whole sushi experience then visit our Sushi Etiquette page.

Inari Sushi with black sesame seeds and ginger garnish

Try Inari-zushi for something Different (or if you are REAL apprehensive about eating Sushi...)

I don't know that you will ever see this one recommended as a good first sushi to try anywhere else, but I just have to mention it as your best sushi for beginners recommendation # 2.

As some of you may know, my mother is Japanese. Actually 80 years old now. And this one was one of my favorites when I was growing up.

The brown "bag" is actually tofu that is double fried and then boiled in a sweet like sauce (and don't freakout on the word tofu...or double fried...it really is good...and if you are freaking out, I have a suggestion...man up... :-)

Visit our Inari Sushi page for more details on this often overlooked favorite of mine...

And No...there's no meat or anything...just sushi rice and the brown bag...but it is absolutely delicious.

If you are new to sushi and more than a little apprehensive, see if they don't have Inari-zushi in the Sushi bar you are in and order it.

I will almost guarantee you, meat or no meat, you will LOVE it!

For your first Raw Meat experience try a Tuna Roll ("Tekka Maki")
Your Best Sushi for Beginners recommendation # 3

Tuna Roll or Tekka Maki Hosomaki roll ("Thin Roll")

If you were comfortable with the California roll and want to try something "raw", then I would recommend getting a tuna roll (or you can make it following our tuna roll recipe).

Tuna (or Maguro) is a nice, delicate, sweet, tasty meat and a very good one to try if this is your first time trying raw fish. And if you're worried that it will smell and taste like that "Chicken of the Sea" you have at home in a can, rest assured. It won't.

And if it does, you need to high tail it out of that sushi bar lickety split. Because fresh sashimi grade tuna should have NO smell.

Now, if you liked the tuna, then you are well on your way to becoming a sushi addict. You might want to try something a little more daring to round out your budding new addiction.

Some other ones that are popular with some of my American friends are Salmon and Eel. You might consider giving those a try too.

Moving on to Nigiri Sushi

Tuna (Maguro) Nigiri Sushi
Salmon ("Sake") Nigiri sushi
Eel ("Unagi") Nigiri sushi

Nigiri sushi (above) to me, is the next natural step in the evolution of a new sushi convert and it is your # 4 best sushi for beginners recommendation.

You may have tried some maki rolls that contain some raw fish by now and have gotten a smaller taste. Short of going straight to sashimi, this is the next best thing.

Hopefully, you found a meat that you liked pretty well during your maki roll experimentation and are ready to get that meat now "supersized".

If not, or you decided to skip the maki and go full head long into trying nigiri, again I'd recommend starting with the Tuna (or Maguro---the leftmost picture above).

Then experiment and try salmon (middle picture), eel (rightmost picture), or octopus (one of my favorites).

The meaty taste will now be more predominant since obviously, it practically covers the little oblong piece of rice.

If you want tips on eating nigiri, visit our How to Eat Sushi Page.

If you've come this far, you are moving quickly up the sushi ladder!

Sashimi - A step beyond Sushi

Mixed Sashimi Plate

While technically not Sushi, I felt obligated to mention it. 

If you've moved up and tried nigiri and liked it, then I'd recommend picking a couple of your favorite meats and getting them Sashimi style (as an appetizer) the next time you go out for sushi.

Sashimi is normally ordered as kind of like an appetizer when eating sushi. Visit Eating your sushi here for more info on this.

If you've come this far, then Congratulations!

(P.S. - You probably no longer need to hang around on a page meant to find the best sushi for beginners anymore...

But you can consider yourself a graduate and a real Sushi Addict though!)

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David Guthrie, EzineArticles Basic Author