What Is the Pink Stuff Served With Sushi Called?

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Sushi roll pieces served with soy sauce and a small plate of pickled ginger and wasabi.
Sushi roll pieces served with soy sauce and a small plate of pickled ginger and wasabi. (Image: icetocker/iStock/Getty Images)

Most sushi comes with a garnish of pickled ginger that appears as a mound of delicate pink slices. Called "gari," the ginger serves as an artful accessory to your meal; presentation is as important as taste when it comes to a quality sushi meal. Use it as a palate cleanser between bites rather than as a topping to put on your sushi pieces or rolls. Conde Nast Traveler notes it is proper etiquette and beneficial to consume all the ginger you're served because it may aid digestion.

Taste and Color

Pickled ginger has a sweet-and-sour taste because of the pickling brine, which traditionally consists of rice-wine vinegar and sugar. Some Japanese restaurants serve "gari" that is pink in hue. This color comes from a beet-juice dye or artificial coloring. Sushi chefs may choose to use naturally colored beige ginger as garnish, depending on the color of the serving ware.

Beyond Sushi

If you're partial to pickled ginger, use it in dishes other than sushi. Toss it into stir fries, add it to marinades for meat or fish, or add it to an exotic fruit salad. Other Asian dishes such as Vietnamese summer rolls and banh mi -- a type of sandwich that includes pickled vegetables and roasted meats -- also benefit from the addition of pickled ginger.

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