Tik Tok is obsessed with influencer Emily Mariko’s salmon-rice bowl. Her short, ASMR style Tik Toks capturing her daily tasks are enticing. But why did her salmon and rice bowl video get over 13.4 million views? It seems to be simply putting an ice cube in rice, adding salmon, and microwaving it: leftovers.  


Even if it's just leftovers, the rice bowl is still delicious. Emily doesn't include measurements in her videos, but here is the recipe (loosely): 

1. Microwave leftover salmon and white rice, putting an ice cube on top to retain the moisture

2. Remove the ice cube

3. Add soy sauce, Sriracha, and Japanese mayo

4. Mix it all up

5. Eat with roasted seaweed snacks and (optional) avocado and kimchi

The resulting product should look something like this:

For a more specific list of ingredients and methods, check out Delish's take on the salmon rice bowl recipe.

A Closer Look

While Emily’s microwave methods and condiment choices are no doubt admirable, why has this bowl of leftovers taken the internet by storm? 

There are many factors that could play a role in its popularity. Firstly, the bowl. Not only is it delicious as is, but it's also adaptable. People have changed the recipe in so many different ways to fit their dietary and flavor preferences. Take a look at the tofu rice bowl version below. There are even copy-cat Tik Toks of college students trying to recreate the bowl using what the dining hall has to offer, as well as comedic copies of people making their own bowls with rice crispy treats and Swedish fish.

The style of Emily's video may also play a role in the salmon rice bowl's sudden popularity. Her quick, clean cuts with an added ASMR factor from the microwave beeping to the crunching of the seaweed snacks make her short Tik Toks so satisfying to watch. 

More importantly, however, it seems that Emily and her bowl are combating much of the diet and wellness culture that seems to suffocate social media. Nothing in her recipe is measured. She uses white rice and real mayo. 

While Emily is still categorized as a lifestyle influencer based on her social media output, her presence is a little different. Yes, she is still a 20-something-year-old woman who appears to live a pretty ideal life and yes, there are still unrealistic expectations in her content (my fridge could never be as organized as hers). Yet, her Tik Tok reflects an image of health that many other lifestyle influencers on these platforms do not share.

So frequently, I see influencers promoting "healthy living" through their 10-minute workout routines, chickpea cookies, or zucchini noodle dishes. Don't get me wrong, trying these new recipes and workouts can be a fun, new way to incorporate health into your life. However, that's not the only thing to focus on, and Emily Mariko and her Tik Tok display that balance. She enjoys her time with friends and family (like in the hot pot Tik Tok above) and explores new places and foods (like in her farmers market pastries Tik Tok below). She's living by what makes her happy, and that's the healthiest. 

It seems the Internet has spoken. In a time where everyone seems to be focused on perfecting their physical and mental health, people want balance. Emily's food adventures, organization methods, and relaxed presence reflect that balance. She doesn't follow toxic wellness culture and instead is showing the internet a new, refreshing way of living healthily.