What To Serve With Sushi: 26+ Sides, Condiments, And Drinks Options

If you just started eating sushi, welcome to a world of Japanese goodness. If you visited a Japanese restaurant, I guess you ate it with miso soup or tempura. That’s good too. But I want to introduce you to a list of many other delicious Japanese-inspired sides to serve with sushi.

A peculiar thing about Tokyo cuisine is the special way they prepare their foods and how they eat them. In this article, you will also learn how to eat sushi correctly when you visit a Japanese restaurant.

Get ready for a better dining experience the next time you are eating sushi at a restaurant or in your house.

About Sushi

what to serve with sushi - millenora

What makes sushi is the vinegar rice, not the raw fish, as many think. Modern recipes use cooked seafood and other meats instead of salmon or tuna, the more common options.

No matter the modifications you make, rice must be the core of your sushi recipe. Sushi is a core part of the Japanese culture, such that the native chefs undergo years of training to know how to cook the rice properly.

When they get this right, they progress into learning how to handle seafood and other parts of the recipe.

Sushi rice is usually a medium-grain rice seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar. White grain rice is commonly used, but some recipes use brown rice.

The traditional Japanese sushi recipes use a variety of rice called Japonica; Koshishikari cultivar.

Furthermore, there are different types of sushi – nigiri, maki, uni, and temaki sushi. Sushi is mostly eaten with chopsticks, but you can also use your hand if you don’t know how to use the chopsticks.

What sides can you serve with sushi?

1. Edamame

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Edamame are soft, young soybeans in pods. You can eat them fresh or boil them quickly in water, salt, and pepper. They pair well with sushi, complementing it with a sweet, juicy flavor.

2. Spinach

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Eat sushi with boiled spinach. You can have the spinach plain to fully savor the sushi flavors. You can also boil the greens with garlic, onions, black pepper, and chili for extra flavor.

3. Cheese risotto

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Cheese risotto is a blend of goat cheese, rice, spinach leaves, onion, garlic, lemon juice, and red wine/soy sauce. If you are looking to try a new flavor with sushi, this might just be it.

4. Fried pickles

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You can make spicy and savory fried pickles and serve them with sushi. They have a crusty exterior and soft interior that pairs well with the texture and flavors of sushi.

5. Tempura

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Tempura is a deep-fried side made with seafood, meat, and vegetables. You can have shrimp tempura, vegetable tempura, or assorted tempura. You can also coat your sushi rolls in the tempura batter for extra yumminess.

6. Japanese-style salad

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Some salads you can serve with sushi are quinoa, cold cucumber, kani, or seaweed salad. Quinoa salad is a combination of quinoa, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, apple, lemon juice, and other ingredients.

A bowl of cold cucumber salad is a mix of cucumber, onions, and vinegar. Kani salad is made with crab sticks, carrots, cucumbers, and a dressing made with fresh lemon juice and creamy mayo.

7. Cauliflower tots

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Cauliflower tots with sushi is a perfect vegan combo. This potato-cauliflower combo is soft, crunchy, and delicious. This side choice is not only healthy but also hearty.

8. Matzo ball soup

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This soup is rich and hearty. It is a combination of peppercorns, shallots, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and chicken breasts. It is perfect for a cold night dinner and pairs well with the exciting sushi flavors.

9. Cabbage soup

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Cabbage soup is delicious but lighter than matzo ball soup. It is a combination of green cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, sage, and vegetable broth. You can modify your flavor with other spices.

10. Tabasco sauce

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Tabasco sauce is spicy and can help take your sushi up a notch. It is made with aged red peppers, salt, and distilled vinegar.  This three-ingredient sauce is ready in 30 minutes or less.

Let me help you with this: make this sauce in large batches and store it in an airtight jar.

11. Miso soup

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Miso soup is a Japanese hearty soup made with miso paste, wakame seaweed, green onion, vinegar, and tofu. You can also add some greens to your miso soup to create a different flavor profile that still matches your sushi.

12. Rice balls

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Rice balls are crunchy and soft. They are very delicious too and pair well with sushi. Rice balls do not overpower your sushi flavors. So, they are perfect.

13. Gyoza

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Gyoza are Japanese panfried dumplings you can serve with sushi. They are one of the perfect choices for a complete Japanese dish.  

The traditional recipes use vegetable fillings. If you are making your dumplings at home, you can modify the flavors to match your sushi flavors.

14. Beef udon

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If you are looking to feed your guests to their fill but cannot make so much sushi, then you should serve it with beef udon as a side. Beef udon is a main dish, but it pairs well with sushi.

15. Tofu

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You can serve sushi with Japanese-style tofu – agedashi tofu or teriyaki tofu. Agedashi tofu is tofu coated with potato starch. It has a light crispy coating that melts in your mouth. Teriyaki tofu is crispy tofu covered in teriyaki sauce.

16. Kushiyaki

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Kushiyaki are skewers of pork, beef, offal, seafood, and veggies covered in teriyaki sauce and grilled or barbecued. You can keep some of your skewers and eat them later with edamame or red pickles.

17. Karaage

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Karaage is Japanese-style fried chicken. It has a crispy and crunchy exterior with a juicy chicken interior. It is a popular street food in Japan but is served in some restaurants. You can find the recipe and make it at home.

18. Harumaki

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Harumaki is a Japanese spring roll with glass noodles, veggies, pork, chicken, shrimp, and glass noodle fillings. These spring rolls have a crisp but delicate coating.

19. Chawanmushi

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This side is a silky, smooth, savory egg custard with Japanese toppings. It has a wonderful texture and irresistible flavor. Making chawanmushi at home could be a task.

So, I’ll advise that you have it at a restaurant until you are great at making it at home.

20. Teba Shio

what to serve with sushi - millenora

Teba shio is salted chicken wings. It is a delicious finger food that makes a great appetizer with sushi. Like chawanmushi, it is crunchy on the outside but soft and juicy on the inside.

21. Ohitashi

what to serve with sushi - millenora

Ohitashi is a meal of leafy greens marinated in a light soy sauce. The mild umami flavor makes it an exciting pair with sushi. You should try it soon.

22. Tamagoyaki

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This Japanese omelet roll is a tasty sushi accompaniment. This side can serve as a sushi stuffing too if you like. It has a subtle sweetness that comes from the sugar and mirin in the omelet mixture.

23. Osuimono soup

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This is one of the very light Japanese soups. It contains sake, kombu, and light soy sauce. It is a better alternative to miso soup if that is too heavy for you.

24. Eggplant

what to serve with sushi - millenora

You can serve eggplants with sushi in different ways. You can eat them as they are for a neutral flavor, torched over a naked flame for the smoky taste, or marinated in teriyaki sauce and fried. Whichever option you choose, you can never go wrong.

25. Deviled eggs

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I think deviled eggs pair well with everything. And yes they do. If you have not tried these eggs with sushi, you should do this for lunch.

26. Yakitori

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Yakitori is a lot like kushiyaki but the primary meat on the skewer is chicken.

27. Katsudon

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Katsudon is a rich rice bowl that contains tender pork cutlets, eggs, onions, and a rich sauce. It is very healthy, and you can make it at home. You can top this with sautéed veggies. Serving katsudon after sushi is very filling.

28. Japanese curry

what to serve with sushi - millenora

Need a rich, flavorful side for your sushi? It should be Japanese curry. You can make your curry to suit your dietary preferences. It could be a meat curry or a vegan potato curry.

29. Tsukemono

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Tsukemono could be pickled cucumbers, carrots, or cabbage. The fresh and salty flavor makes an excellent match with the sushi flavors.

Condiments to serve with sushi

  • Shoyu – soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Miso paste
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Hot mustard sauce
  • Chili flakes/powder
  • Spicy mayo
  • Cream cheese
  • Horseradish for sushi
  • Spring onion
  • Seafood (salmon, tuna, crab, shrimp, and even imitation crab meat)

Desserts to serve with sushi

Matcha ice cream

If you have never tried this combo, it’s about time you did. This rich, sweet, earthy ice cream melts well in your mouth and is a refreshing choice for the sushi flavors.

Chocolate peanut butter moose munch

This indulging dessert is perfect for conversations and games after a sushi meal. You don’t need a plate to serve this but you will need lots of napkins for your guests.

Lemon bars

If you have kids around, you can keep them busy with these bars while you carry on with your conversations. Adults can also jump on this.

Air fryer pineapple rings

These pineapple rings topped with a scoop of ice cream and whipped cream make an excellent dessert to complement your flavorful sushi meal.

Cherry lime pie

This no-bake pie is a combination of sweet and tart. It is easy to make and very delicious too.

Japanese Dango

These chewy sweets are made with sweet glutinous rice. They usually have beautiful colors and will catch the eye of everyone at your event.

Drinks to serve with sushi

  • Water
  • Sake
  • Japanese beer
  • Green tea
  • Ginger ale
  • Iced tea
  • White wine
  • Mimosa
  • Champagne
  • Prosecco
  • Pinot Grigio
  • Riesling

How to eat sushi correctly

Eating cold sushi

Sushi is best served warm. Eating cold sushi is against Japanese etiquette.

Do not bite into your sushi

Sushi is supposed to be made in bite-sized portions. You can tell the chef to reduce your portion if you feel it is too big. You will feel more comfortable eating a size you can pop into your mouth at once rather than biting into it. Japanese chefs consider this rude.

When you eat sushi, place the fish on your tongue to get the full flavor of the freshness of the fish.

Use chopsticks or your fingers

Sushi is traditionally eaten with chopsticks or your fingers. When you pick your chopsticks, fight the urge to remove any splinters you see. Japanese chefs consider this rude too. If you don’t know how to use chopsticks, pick it up with your fingers.

Using chopsticks also has its don’ts.

  • Do not point with chopsticks
  • Do not stab food with chopsticks
  • Do not pass food from one chopstick to another
  • Do not lick your chopsticks

Do not soak sushi in soy sauce

If you love soy sauce, when you eat sushi is not the time to smear your buds with the sauce. Do not dunk or soak sushi in soy sauce. Otherwise, the rice will soak up the sauce and suppress the exciting sushi flavors.

The sauce is supposed to complement the sushi flavor. Brush the fish in the sauce, not the rice.

Do not eat pickled ginger on sushi

Pickled ginger is a palette cleanser not a topping for sushi. Do not put it on the sushi. You should eat it between sushi bites instead.

Do not mix wasabi into your sauce

Another common mistake people make is adding wasabi to their sauce. The flavor of the wasabi will get lost in soy sauce if you mix it in. What’s the best way to eat wasabi with sushi? Add wasabi on top of the sushi with your chopsticks and eat.

How to preserve sushi leftovers

  • Your storage should start with knowing that homemade sushi and restaurant/supermarket sushi require different storage conditions
  • Refrigerating store-bought sushi is not advisable, but if you must, unwrap the sushi and wrap each individually. Put the sushi in an airtight container and refrigerate it for 2-3 days
  • Do not store leftover sushi in dirty containers
  • Do not store sushi with used chopsticks in the back
  • Also, keep packets of condiments away from the sushi
  • If you want to make sushi at home and preserve some for later, ensure you use the freshest ingredients
  • Sushi is made with perishable items. So, you should prepare it quickly and refrigerate or freeze as soon as possible
  • Do not refrigerate or freeze sushi that has been out for more than two hours
  • Always keep sushi in airtight wraps and containers
  • Keep sushi packs away from odorous foods in the fridge or freezer to avoid contamination


How long does sushi last?

Raw and cooked sushi should not exceed two hours at room temperature but you can refrigerate raw sushi for up to two days if you separate the fish from the rice.

Cooking can help extend the lifespan of your sushi meal. Cooked sushi can last up to 4 days in the refrigerator, as long as you keep it in an airtight container. To preserve your sushi longer, freeze it.

Can you eat sushi as an appetizer?

Sushi is a main course meal, but it is sometimes served as an appetizer on some menus. It is perfect for a solo or family dinner. You can accompany your sushi with tobasco sauce, cabbage soup, miso soup/sauce, or spinach.

Is sushi healthy?

Sushi can be a part of a healthy diet if you eat the healthy variations in the right portions. Keep your sushi healthy by leaving out deep-fried ingredients.

However, sushi is a low-calorie food that contains carbohydrates, lean protein, and fat. This makes it a weight-loss-friendly meal.

It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, iron, and antioxidants, which are beneficial for overall health and wholeness.


So, which of these accompaniments are you trying next? What you serve with sushi can help make a variety on your table.

If you are hosting friends, it can help you cut back on the time you would spend making more sushi. You just need to make some sushi and hearty accompaniments.

Moreover, it could enhance the nutritional value of your meal. Whatever you serve with your sushi, do not lose the wonderful sushi flavor.

Learn how to make sushi at home with this guide on how to cut salmon for sushi and this list of sushi mat substitutes.

Thanks for reading.