I like Japanese sashimi better when partially cooked — partially grilled, blow-torched (see images under-neath), or seared.

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I plan to print this request in Japanese, and show printout to restaurants in Japan whenever no-one speaks English. I know many Japanese don't speak English, and I don't speak Japanese.

I input this in Google Translate:

I had this question written down, because I can't speak Japanese.

i don't like the taste of raw fish. So can you please partially cook the seafood on sushi: either by partially grilling, blow-torching, or searing? Many other restaurants have blow-torched their sushi for me.

Can someone please improve Google's translation beneath? Bold sentence is wrong — Google wrongly translated 'blow-torched' as 'baked'.



By the way, isn't the term 'aburi' too specific?

Aburi style refers to nigiri sushi where the fish is partially grilled (topside) and partially raw.

  1. I need all seafood (not just fish) and sushi (not just nigiri) partially cooked.

  2. But I don't care the cooking method. Wikipedia quote states "grilled".

Japanese Stack Exchange bans proofreading or translation questions.

  • 10
    Have you filled in your doctor on this plan and gotten his sign-off, or would you be embarrassed if he knew? A quick googling of the reasons to exclude raw fish for certain patients suggests to me that searing won't suffice, I could be wrong. Aug 25, 2019 at 18:07
  • 8
    why not just avoiding raw seafood recipes? there are plenty of cooked food choices in the japanese cuisine
    – Val
    Aug 26, 2019 at 7:43
  • 4
    Your doctor must have misunderstood. You are talking about seared seafood. I don’t believe this has any health-related benefits. The Reddit post you linked to talks about explicitly fully cooked seafood rather than just seared (which could indeed have health benefits if you don’t trust the freshness or quality of the fish). Do you want the seafood to be fully cooked, as in the reddit post? If so, just avoid sushi and sashimi and eat any of the rest of the wonderful Japanese cuisine. If not, just enjoy what the chef serves you and trust them to have the right stuff.
    – jcaron
    Aug 30, 2019 at 22:06
  • 1
    I appreciate that this doesn't answer your question (so I won't post it as such), but there is a lot of food to enjoy beyond sashimi in Japan. For example: curry, okonomiyaki, gyoza, karaage, ramen, udon, soba, donburi, takoyaki, teppanyaki, etc. so if you're worried that you might struggle to find something to eat, don't be. I dislike most fish (tuna and salmon are OK) and never struggle to find something to eat. Even most conveyor sushi restaurants will have options without sashimi. Aug 31, 2019 at 10:56
  • 1
    If you can't eat raw fish, why would you go to a sushi restaurant?
    – paullb
    Sep 6, 2019 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


I suspect you're not going to like this answer, but I think you're going about this the wrong way.

In Japan, the idea of "customizing" dishes like this is basically unknown: the chef makes dishes designed to taste good, and your choices are to order them or not order them. Handing over a card like that is going to cause confusion and bewilderment, and not only are they unlikely to comply, but you'll likely be seen as rude and entitled. (Especially with the current near-incomprehensible machine translation, where the last phrase comes off as almost accusatory, but that's another story.)

The second problem is that "grilled sashimi" is not a thing, pretty much by definition: once cooked, it's no longer sashimi. And in a sushi context, aburi is indeed a reference to a specific style of nigirizushi (not sashimi) usually quickly grilled with a blowtorch.

Instead, I'd recommend you find some existing Japanese dishes that match your requirements.

  • You're already identified aburi as an option, and if ordering piece by piece (not set courses) it's entirely possible to order just aburi at many sushi places. (Beware that not all sushi places offer aburi, particularly more traditional ones.).
  • Tataki (たたき) is another common style of quickly searing fish or meat on a grill so the inside is still raw, with bonito tataki (カツオのたたき katsuo no tataki) a particularly common izakaya staple.
  • 5
    "In Japan, the idea of "customizing" dishes like this is basically unknown" - Indeed, even at a burger restaurant chain, a friend who has celiac disease was turned down for a burger without the buns (he was a JLPT N2 holder at the time, IIRC, so he could certainly communicate what he wanted and why). I mean, some places might be willing to do it, but it's certainly not the norm, as you say. Aug 31, 2019 at 10:50
  • 2
    I would not limit this to Japan, but in most countries consider it rude to order food at a restaurant and tell the chef how I expect him to do his job. Sep 3, 2019 at 10:33

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