If you’re anything like me, the thought of being farther than a 10-mile radius from your favorite sushi restaurant makes you a little uneasy. I’m aware it’s now an out-of-hand obsession, but I can’t help but dream about shrimp tempura and spicy California rolls at least a few times a week (read: a few times a day).
With almost all my fellow sushi-loving friends heading abroad this coming year, I started to wonder how my favorite rolls might differ in other countries from the classics in most American sushi restaurants. So, to all the lucky college students breaking out your passports soon, this one’s for you.
With a little help from Google translate and TripAdvisor, here’s a guide to the different types of sushi you’ll find in 13 popular study abroad destinations.
1. Barcelona, Spain
Restaurant: Sushi Fresh
What caught my eye: The menu lists a gouda roll, which is tamago batter wrapped in surimi and gouda cheese. Intrigued by the inclusion of cheese in a sushi roll, I investigated further and found rolls on the Sushi Fresh menu made with ham, chicken, lettuce, pine nuts, crispy onion and various tartars. If you want to stick with the basics, though, the restaurant has plenty of options, and there’s a whole section of the menu with combo meals perfect for checking out a variety of rolls at once, if you’re eating with a group.
What made me drool: Some honorable mentions on this menu include the ham tempura roll, surimi and avocado roll, cooked tuna and avocado roll, the crunchy roll and the Gunkan spicy salmon or tuna.
Location: Local 1, Via Augusta, 65, 08006 Barcelona, Spain
2. Copenhagen, Denmark
Restaurant: Sticks n Sushi
What caught my eye: Sticks n Sushi offers rolls full of unique and unusual ingredients and (listen up) a 20% off voucher for a lunch for two mentioned on page seven of their menu. The restaurant uses coriander, barbecue sauce, snow peas, soy almonds, lumpfish and artichokes in various rolls, and all of them sound so delicious I had to get myself a snack while reading the menu. If you enjoy spicy food, Sticks n Sushi has many options with chili sauce or spicy sauce. But if spice isn’t your thing, the menu offers a variety of mild (but still delicious) options like the pink Alaska roll, which has salmon, cream cheese, avocado and lumpfish roe.
What made me drool: The rolls that got me excited about this menu are the Hell’s Kitchen roll, rainbow roll, ebi panko roll, crunchy chicken roll, and (believe-it-or-not) the Sticks n Sushi California roll, which is made with shrimp, rather than crab or imitation crab.
Location: Founded in Denmark, this restaurant has locations across the country, as well as in the UK and Berlin.
3. Paris, France
Restaurant: Le Bar à sushi Izumi
What caught my eye: Le Bar à sushi Izumi boasts a wide variety of fish and a large range of sushi styles. The restaurant serves sashimi, chirashi, gunkan, maki, futomaki and tamake in rolls made with cuttlefish, sardines, brill, octopus, chuturo and lich. This restaurant is for the more adventurous sushi lovers who are ready to try new flavors and forms beyond the traditional seaweed-and-rice deal. The chef even teaches classes on how to make his special sushi for the more serious sushi lovers of the world.
What made me drool: Dishes that had me ready to book a flight to Paris are the mixed chirashi; shrimp and cucumber wakame salad; maki on salted plum and shiso; japanese pumpkin maki; and natto tamaki.
Location: 55 bd des Batignolles Paris 75008
4. Rome, Italy
What caught my eye: The sushi rolls at Hari are made with zucchini, lobster, pineapple, prawns, puff cheddar and arugula (which many in Europe call “rocket”). They even have a roll wrapped in crunchy noodles, which honestly sounds like a dream come true.
What made me drool: The dishes on this menu that I can’t stop thinking about are the lobster maki, malibo roll, hari maki, nido maki and cheddar maki.
Location: Via Acaia 39, 00183, Rome, RM, Italy
5. Bangkok, Thailand
What caught my eye: Mugendai’s maki rolls surprised me, thanks to a variety of unique meats in addition to the expected fish. We’re talking wagyu beef, french goose liver and pork cutlets, to name a few. Also noteworthy is the use of lotus root chips, carrot, amberjack, green onion, quail egg and white truffle oil.
What made me drool: The stars of this menu include the Manhattan, hot Bangkok maki, wagyu roll, cheese tonkatsu roll and winter roll.
Location: 693 The EmQuartier 9th fl,. The Helix Quartier Unit 9A02 Sukhumvit Road Klong Tan Nuea Wattana Bangkok 10110
6. Prague, Czech Republic
Restaurant: Yami Sushi
What caught my eye: Yami Sushi is a great option for travelers looking to try something new, while also remaining within reach of their comfort zones. Yami has all the classic sushi ingredients in jam-packed rolls, often topped with even more deliciousness. Case in point: the Geisha roll has spicy salmon, cream cheese, avocado, cucumber and crab stick inside, with shrimp, fish roe, teriyaki and snow sauce on top. Many of the rolls are simply the rolls we all know and love here in America, just amped up—like sushi 2.0. For those on the search for more adventure, check out a few of Yami’s unique options made with spring onion, mushrooms, lotus root and jalapeño.
What made me drool: This restaurant has some real winners, like the yami yummy roll, kamikaze roll, unagi maki, ebi philly maki and red moon roll.
Location: Masná 1051/3 110 00 Praha 1
7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Restaurant: Paru Inkas Sushi and Grill
What caught my eye: A few days into my international sushi research, I still had to pinch myself after seeing this menu. Paru offers stunning rolls and ceviches with crunchy quinoa, mango, lemon, grated parmesan, passion fruit sauce, olive oil and cress sprouts. Although these veggies and toppings are out of this world, a majority of the rolls are made with either salmon, shrimp or whitefish. The restaurant is pricey but they have a 15% off takeout coupon for the Paru Deli location from 8 pm to 11 pm.
What made me drool: Practically everything was noteworthy, but if I had to pick, the parma roll, tropical roll, teriyaki maki, mosqueta maki and tiradito oriental look particularly tasty.
Location: Lucky for us, there are six different locations throughout South America with three in Buenos Aires, and one in Peru, Uruguay and Rio de Janeiro.
8. Sydney, Australia
What caught my eye: Sokyo offers more sashimi and nigiri options than regular maki rolls. Their sashimi and rolls have some interesting additions like karubi short ribs, baby cos lettuce, feta cheese, carmelized peanuts, potatoes, pickled grapes, chestnut puree and tarragon. Each nigiri option is listed alongside the nearby country where the fish is from. You could say it’s an ocean-to-table experience.
What made me drool: Stand-out dishes on the Sokyo restaurant menu are the tuna crispy rice, kingfish miso ceviche, tai goma nori, Queensland roll and Japanese barbecue roll.
Location: 80 Pyrmont Street Pyrmont NSW 2009 Sydney, Australia
9. London, England
Restaurant: Sasa Sushi
What caught my eye: Sasa Sushi has many of the classics, like the salmon roll, spicy tuna roll and Alaska roll. But don’t be tricked by this selection of “normal” choices. The restaurant’s signature options boast barbecue sauce, pickles and arugula, and the oh-so-common California roll is made with prawns instead of the usual imitation crab.
What made me drool: The crunchy yellowtail roll, dragon roll, fantasy roll and lobster karaage tempura are absolute must-try’s.
Location: Sasa Sushi Restaurant, 422 St John Street, London – EC1V 4NJ
10. Beijing, China
What caught my eye: Hatsune’s high praise reviews on TripAdvisor piqued my interest, and after seeing the menu, I completely understand the hype. The restaurant offers beautifully presented rolls with fresh ingredients like shiso leaf, caviar, yellowtail, sweet potato, gobo, albacore tuna and edamame. Hatsune also has many options for spicy food lovers, such as the wasabi challenge roll—the name speaks for itself.
What made me drool: The 119 roll, lumdimsum roll, G rollin’, south beach roll and maguro kabuki dream dish jump out as particularly delicious.
Location: Hatsune has many locations across Asia.
11. Cape Town, South Africa
What caught my eye: Kitima is another restaurant with options for both adventurous and more traditional sushi lovers. Some of the rolls are filled with duck, prawn, tartare, carrot, pickled radish, quail egg and homemade fish crackers, while others, like the rainbow roll, feature at-home favorites like salmon, tuna and avocado.
What made me drool: The salmon roses, spicy crispy duck tamaki and yellowfin tuna tartare had me adding Cape Town to my list of international destinations to visit.
Location: Kronendal Estate, 140 Main Road Hout Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
12. Tokyo, Japan
Restaurant: Sushi Dai
What caught my eye: It was difficult to pick just one restaurant in the very country where sushi began, but I settled on Sushi Dai for its high praise, personalized dining experience and appealing, authentic menu. Be wary as TripAdvisor reviewers note a 2-3 hour wait, but even so, many commenters call this the best sushi of their life. Most order the omakase course, which features 10 pieces selected by the chef. Read more about this particularly unique dining experience here.
What made me drool: This restaurant adjusts the menu to the fresh catches of the day (and what the chef feels like serving), which almost guarantees an incredible meal.
Location: 5-2-1 Tshukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo located inside Tsukuji Market, building name: Tsukiji Oroshiuri Shijyo 6 Gohkan
13. Tel Aviv, Israel
Restaurant: Ze Sushi
What caught my eye: This menu offers a wide variety of mouthwateringly unique options, sometimes complemented by lemon flavoring or almonds. There is a section of sans-rice rolls, some of which are wrapped with (even more) fish in place of seaweed, like the salmon cream roll. Yam tempura, kanpyo and chicken are featured on this menu, and there are sections of special inari with more than just tofu and rice inside, as well as sushi sandwiches.
What made me drool: I only hope I get the chance to visit Tel Aviv soon to try the spicy salmon triangular sandwich, red tuna wrapped with avocado, golden ginza, colored futomaki and lemon mint roll.
Location: Ashtori HaFarhi St 14, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
Now, get excited for your sushi-filled travels. Or if you’re like me and don’t already have tickets to go abroad, start saving up for the ultimate sushi adventure. Happy eating, safe travels and may your love of sushi grow to be as big as Andy’s.