But this explosion of new food combinations and flavors has finally entered the realm of sushi. Yes, traditional rolls and handrolls are here to stay. But now, chefs are creating countless sushi trends that are leading sushi-lovers like me to scream with excitement.
However, not all mashups are equally incredible. I decided to indulge in all the sushi trends I could get my hands on so you can avoid the bad ones. Here's my take on the best (and worst) sushi trends out there.
1. Sushi Burrito: 11/10
Oh. My. God. There is nothing better than this. This sushi trend better stay here forever. Unlike sushi rolls, where you normally only get one protein and a vegetable, sushi burritos are PACKED with ingredients.
Tuna, salmon, shrimp tempura, kani, cucumber, avocado, oshinko, mango, lettuce, tobiko, masago, spicy mayo, eel sauce... the list goes on and on. Anything is possible in the world of sushi burritos. And they're the good kind of messy, granting extreme satisfaction as you lick the sauces of your fingertips.
2. Poké Bowls: 10/10
Poké bowls are incredible. Although this Hawaiian dish been around for centuries, this sushi trend is starting to pop up everywhere. It's like deconstructed sushi.
The bowl contains rice, cubed fish, and different veggies. Basically, a sushi burrito minus the mess, so it's perfect date food. Plus, they're pretty healthy (depending on what you put inside).
Poké bowls give you the flavors from sushi, but at a lower price point in a quick and affordable way. Most notably, restaurants such as Wisefish Poke in NYC and Sweetfin Poke in California have expanded from this trend.
3. Sushi Burger: 8/10
Redeye grill created this fine specimen: a burger with rice as the bun, filled with spicy tuna, seaweed salad, seaweed leaves, avocado and spicy mayo. The flavors are amazing, and the dish is beyond insta-worthy.
However, it is incredibly hard to eat. The rice bun doesn't hold up very well, so it completely falls apart. But the flavors are so good, so I have no problem picking up my fork/chopsticks to finish it (and licking the plate clean).
4. Crispy Rice & Spicy Tuna: 7/10
The texture contrast in this dish is insane. Crunchiness from the rice combined with the smooth spicy tuna creates an epic flavor profile. Everyone needs to try this ASAP.
Although I could eat a million of these crispy rice bites in one sitting, they are expensive and normally only served as an appetizer at sushi restaurants. You can find this dish at Koi, Nobu, Tao, or lesser known places like Sushi Lounge in NJ.
5. Sushi Sandwich: 4/10
So this sushi trend is good. Nothing wrong with it. Good flavor, good texture. But it isn't such a creative change from a sushi roll. Instead of a cylinder, the pieces are triangles. And instead of popping it in your mouth in one bite, the sushi sandwich needs to be bitten.
Also, it's hard to fit a ton of different ingredients in the sandwich, so it is very similar to a regular roll. If deciding between this trend and the traditional roll, go for the sushi roll. It's easier to eat and has the same ingredients.
6. Sushi Cake: 2/10
Ok, here's where I stop loving the sushi hybrids. This cake is gorgeous, and the quality of the ingredients is great. But it's a lot in one piece. Instead of tons of different ingredients, these cakes have layers of rice, the same fish, and the same vegetables. There is no variety in flavor in comparison to the other trends.
Also, the cake is extremely difficult to cut, turning the cake into a lumpy mess before even taking a bite. This trend is not served in many restaurants and instead is a DIY project. It's fun to make, but definitely could use improvements.
7. Sushi Doughnuts: 1/10
This one I just don't understand. It is basically just rice shaped like a doughnut. There is no fish on top, not even cucumber or other veggies. Just sesame seeds, mayo, wasabi, and ginger. Technically, this cannot be considered a sushi hybrid because there is no fish or vegetables (which a roll needs in order to be a roll). With some modifications, this dish could become a lot better. But still, it's a whole lot of rice and not a lot of other stuff.
There you have it, a ranking of the best (and worst) sushi trends. So now get up and go try them for yourselves! (Because sushi is amazing and everyone should be eating it right this second.)