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Tangy and Sweet: What Does Pickled Ginger Taste Like?

Sashimi and sushi fans are no strangers to pickled ginger.

However, for those who have only ever known the brown-colored, straight-out-of-the-soil (or the market) ginger, it can be a new experience.

But just because you haven’t tried them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

So, what does pickled ginger taste like? If the thought has ever crossed your mind, you’ve come to the right place.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the mystery and flavor surrounding pickled ginger.

Is it spicy? How can it be served? Stay tuned to find the answer to these questions.

What is Pickled Ginger?

Pickled ginger is exactly as it sounds.

It’s ginger that has undergone a pickling process.

And when it comes to pickled ginger, one country has popularised it for ages – Japan.

Also called “Gari” in Japanese, you’ll find that pickled ginger is often thinly sliced ginger that’s soft pink in color and marinated in sweet rice vinegar.

It’s predominantly known for accompanying Japanese dishes such as sushi.

However, there are other uses for it as well.

You can also make your own pickled ginger or purchase ready-made ones from Asian/Japanese grocery stores.

Usually, making your own pickled ginger is considered much healthier compared to store-bought ones.

This is because the homemade versions don’t really require artificial preservatives.

The soft pink color of pickled ginger (as mentioned earlier) is due to the marination process and the use of new ginger roots rather than mature ones.

What Does Pickled Ginger Taste Like?

The taste of pickled ginger isn’t as far off as raw ginger.

But that doesn’t mean they taste exactly the same.

Think of pickled ginger as an eccentric and simmered-down version of raw ginger.

When we think of raw ginger, it has an intense and spicy flavor.

But pickled ginger is more like a sweeter version with a reduced spice profile.

It’s similar to how raw ginger becomes mellow and softer when cooked.

If there’s one definite way of putting pickled ginger’s taste, it’s “sweet and sour”.

And as mentioned before, its appearance will also look closer to light pink thanks to the marination process consisting of vinegar, salt, and sugar.

The vinegar gives the ginger its signature sour taste, while the sugar delivers a hint of sweetness to balance the sour notes.

The salt also helps preserve the ginger while adding a touch of savory.

This combination of flavors helps create a unique taste that pairs with many dishes.

Texture-wise, pickled ginger is quite soft and blends really well with sushi.

The soft texture is attributed mainly to using younger ginger roots instead of mature roots.

Overall, pickled ginger offers a palate-cleansing and refreshing taste, allowing it to act as a great side dish.

It’s acidic, sweet, and soft and neutralizes any dish.

What more can you ask for? Well, you can also count on pickled ginger for some great health benefits.

Pickled ginger is known to be high in probiotics with little to zero calorie content.

This makes them not just tasty but also a healthy snack.

How to Serve Pickled Ginger?

Pickled ginger is a versatile side option.

Given its subtle yet compact flavor profile, it can be paired with many dishes.

So, how can we serve pickled ginger?

The first and obvious option is to serve it with a sushi plate.

Not only is this an option that lives up to its traditional values, but it’s also a great way to wholly experience its flavor and taste if you’re a first-timer.

And here’s why serving it with sushi works.

Pickled ginger can help cleanse the taste buds when paired with sushi, creating a refined eating experience.

Not a fan of sushi? Worry not.

You can also serve pickled ginger alongside some of your favorite dishes or simply serve it as an appetizer.

Moreover, you can also use homemade pickled ginger to elevate the taste and boost the nutritional value.

Making pickled ginger is also pretty simple, and you can try it.

To prepare your own pickled ginger, select young ginger roots and scrub them with rhizomes.

This way, you won’t have to go through the trouble of peeling the ginger.

Slice the ginger into thin slices, add vinegar, salt, and sugar (optional), and store them.

You can place them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for storage.

Usually, it’s best to keep them stored for about a month and then start using them.

You can incorporate them just about anywhere, allowing you to experiment with them.


Although pickled ginger may seem like a new creation that went viral overnight, it’s really not.

Pickled ginger has been present in Japanese cuisine for ages and even forms an integral part of some of the best sushi.

So, if you’re keen on trying out pickled ginger without purchasing or making your own, we suggest going to the nearest sushi restaurant and trying them.

Expanding your culinary catalog by incorporating simple yet rich items like pickled ginger is always a good idea.

With that, we hope you can make the best out of this delicious pickle.

What Does Pickled Ginger Taste Like? Does it Taste Good?

Curious about the taste of pickled ginger? Unsure if it's delicious? Discover the flavor profile of pickled ginger and whether it's considered good.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Food Taste
Servings 4 Servings


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