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Is it safe to consume raw fish purchased at the fish counter of a typical suburban grocery store? If not, do you have any tips for finding sushi grade fish.

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Not being aware of your location, some general tips:

1) Buy your fish from a fishmonger, and tell him/her what you are using it for. You want to do business with somebody who's business is selling fish and only selling fish. They are going to know what's been stored to eaten raw standards in a way that the just above minimum wage fish guy at your grocery store doesn't.

2) Don't buy it early. Buy it the day you mean to consume it or the day that you going to prep it. This question can help walk you through that

3) Take a cooler to get your fish. You have to maintain the freshness, that means not allowing it raise in temperature anymore than you have to.

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Or have them pack in ice if you're just heading straight home. – yossarian Oct 28 '10 at 13:54
And don't forget that the skin (if it's still there) makes a really nice filling for sushi rolls. I usually just crisp it up, and put some avocado in the roll with it. – Taeraresh Oct 30 '10 at 1:15

I wouldn't trust anything from a grocery-store fish counter to be fit for raw consumption. has a lot of info, and suggests . I've never bought anything from them, but it looks like they're probably a good source if you want to buy online. If you're in the SF Bay Area, there are a number of places to buy it. I usually go to Tokyo Fish Market on San Pablo in Berkeley.

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sadly the supermarket here has better quality fish than the fishmonger... And that doesn't mean their fish is good... – jwenting Apr 28 '11 at 7:55

Living far away from the ocean for much of my life- fishmongers and freshly caught fish are hard to come by.

Luckily that doesn't matter that much. The freshest fish are the ones that are frozen on the boat they are caught on.

Suburban grocery store fish counters can sell you frozen fish in small quantities. I buy tuna or salmon steaks in .5 pound portions. They make excellent and very fresh tasting sushi when thawed.

It will keep indefinitely when solidly frozen but as soon as you thaw it the normal rules apply- use it that day or it won't be fresh anymore.

So don't order the fresh or the fresher fish. At Finney's, if you're wise, you'll say, "Fetch me the finest, French-fried freshest fish that Finney fries!" (Sorry, I couldn't help it- I've been reading to the kids.)

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My kid has that same book :) – Beofett Oct 4 '11 at 19:19

I have used smoked salmon to make sushi rolls with success, I would not try it with nigiri as the difference would be extremely noticable. Depends on how authentic you want to be.

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Smoked salmon and cream cheese rolls are fairly common here in Toronto (and maybe some other places). About as far away from authentic as you can possibly get, but fairly tasty nevertheless. – Aaronut Oct 28 '10 at 16:36

I've used "regular" salmon for sushi once or twice, but the advice I received was to either buy it frozen or freeze it yourself to kill off any parasites.

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@Ward... I wouldn't freeze your own fish to kill parasites as home freezers don't get cold enough, you need industrial freezers to reach the temperatures under the FDA's parasite destruction guarantee. Taeraresh's link to has the info about that rule, but also, Catalina was recently fined/sanctioned for unsanitary conditions, so I avoid them now. I buy all my sushi grade fish from Sushi Nut now. Catalina's warning letter from the FDA if you are interested in seeing why they were – user11333 Aug 22 '12 at 20:02

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