Where To Buy Sushi Grade Fish in the UK (Are Supermarkets OK?)


If you’re an avid sushi lover but don’t enjoy paying the high restaurant prices for your favourite roll, you may be wondering how you can make sushi at home. But, where’s the best place to buy a fresh cut of fish, and is it even possible to buy sushi grade fish in the UK?

You can buy sushi grade fish in the UK from reputable fishmongers. Although some supermarket fish is suitable for sushi, you’ll need to ensure it’s been prepared and stored correctly before purchasing. Most of the time, it’s much safer to buy your sushi fish directly from a specialist fishmonger.

In this article, I’ll explore what sushi grade fish is and if it’s safe to purchase at your local supermarket. I’ll also recommend the best places to buy raw fish that’s ideal for making sushi. Keep reading to learn more.

Where To Get Sushi Grade Fish in the UK

You can purchase sushi grade fish in the UK from several fish specialists or at your local supermarket. However, the fish specialists will offer the highest standard of quality and ensure the fish is safe to consume raw. 

For the best sushi grade fish in the UK, I enjoy ordering from The Fish Society. This shop offers tasty cuts of safely-prepared salmon backs and tuna that you can use to create nigiri and sashimi.

fresh cut of tuna and salmon great to make sushi

Salmon backs are great for creating fine slices of sashimi because they’re much wider and slightly thinner than filets, making them easy to pick up with your chopsticks.

On the other hand, the tuna blocks are cut into thicker chunks that allow you to trim them down to the desired size. You can slice them thinly and easily layer them on your rice logs, creating the perfect nigiri, or you can grate them into slivers to roll into a spicy tuna roll.

The shop also offers fresh mackerel cut from the back or stomach, which can safely be eaten as sashimi. This cut is good for thin and even slices that you can fan out on the plate, which makes the sushi look more visually appealing as well. (It also gives off the impression that you’ve done this before – even if you’re a beginner like me!)

Source: The Fish Society

Another great place where you can get high-quality fish for sushi is Fine Food Specialists. What I like about this shop is the wide variety of fish you can get that you probably wouldn’t find in standard supermarkets, such as bluefin tuna and hiramasa.

These are pricier cuts but definitely worth a try. I particularly like the taste of the hiramasa sashimi, which has a warm, rich, and buttery flavour that goes so well with the pickled ginger – so don’t pass this one up!

sliced hiramasa ready to make sashimi

Also, if you’re based in London, this shop offers same-day delivery, and is super convenient, especially if you don’t want to carry your fresh fish on the underground. If you’re located a little further out, don’t fret – this shop also offers next-day delivery!

Source: Fine Food Specialists

The last shop I’ve had a great experience with is The Fresh Fish Shop. I like this shop because, if you’re a sushi-making newbie like me, you can purchase all the ingredients in bundles to make your favourite rolls. This makes it easy to get fresh fish and the right supplies. 

The salmon is also perfectly cut (straight from the fish’s side), so you can slice it into smaller pieces for sashimi, use it as strips on nigiri, or chop it finer to fit into maki rolls. Any leftover salmon strips can be used to make yummy temakis too. 

picking salmon sashimi using a chopstick

When I ordered my salmon, I asked the fishmonger to remove the skin. This made it really easy to handle the salmon cuts when I was making sushi and I was able to get more defined pieces for my rolls.

Source: The Fresh Fish Shop

Do UK Supermarkets Sell Sushi Grade Fish?

You may be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as “sushi grade fish” in the UK. The government doesn’t have regulations detailing what constitutes as sushi grade fish, but instead regulates how fish must be stored, cleaned, and sold to be safe for consumption.

According to the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA), salmon is prone to parasite worms if they aren’t cleaned and stored correctly. For these reasons, the government indicates that salmon must be thoroughly checked, sanitised, and frozen before selling.

Another alternative to treating wild fish from parasites is to use a heating method that kills the worms and lowers the risk of illness. 

However, according to the same source, you may be able to eat Scottish salmon raw because it’s been farmed, rather than caught in the wild. This is because salmon that’s been farmed usually has a lower risk of parasites.

UK supermarkets do sell fish that is safe for sushi. However, you’ll need to ask the fish-seller at the counter where the fish was sourced and if it was frozen or temperature-treated beforehand. 

If the fish-seller can’t confirm this information, you shouldn’t consume the fish raw. 

Source: UK Food Standards Agency, Salmon Scotland, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

fresh cut salmon to make sushi

Can I Use UK Supermarket Fish for Sushi?

You can use UK supermarket fish for sushi if the fish was previously frozen or is of high-quality and cleaned correctly. You should not make sushi with supermarket fish if it hasn’t been treated or if the fish appears spoiled. 

According to The Fish Society, there are a few ways to tell if fish has spoiled or isn’t suitable for raw consumption:

  • It has bruises.
  • It has grey, brown, or black discolouration.
  • It has blemishes.

If you do decide to get fresh fish from your local supermarket, such as Asda, Morrison’s, or Tesco, you should carry out a few checks first, to ensure quality. Refrain from purchasing any fish from the counter if the fish-seller doesn’t have information about where it was sourced, how it’s been cut, or how it was treated. 

You can further assess a fish’s quality based on how it’s being stored and displayed. For example, check if there is enough ice surrounding the entire fish, or if the ice bed seems drained and neglected. Check if the fish is labelled correctly, and if it’s touching other varieties of fish. You should also look out for any flies or bugs on the fish. 

These can all be signs that the fish may not be suitable for raw consumption. 

So, while you can get decent-quality fish from the supermarket, you may be better off paying a little extra and going to a high-end supermarket, such as Waitrose or Marks & Spencers, or a fish specialist. These shops charge higher premiums to ensure better quality, but it’s definitely worth the price to avoid getting sick. 

different types of sushi

The fishmongers even go the extra mile by giving you a selection of fishes suitable specifically for making sushi. And when you’re trying to make that perfect piece of sushi, you won’t regret paying those few extra pounds!

Source: The Fish Society, BBC Good Food, Marks & Spencers 

After going through this article, I hope you can find some helpful information on the kind of fish you can safely use for your sushi craving. When in doubt, always purchase your sushi fish from a professional fishmonger or specialist for ensured safety and quality. 

Gina

I'm an ex-BBC food co-ord and committed cuisine nerd. My specialties are travel (I've been to over 50 countries), food, drink, the outdoors, and any geeky tech!

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