As sushi becomes more and more popular, enterprising chefs are constantly on a quest to make it as crazy and ridiculous as possible. And from bugs to blowfish, we’ve tracked down the 14 wildest sushi preparations in America.
You can find sushi rolls everywhere these days, from gas stations to grocery stores. And from the ubiquitous California Roll to rolls filled with smoked salmon and cream cheese, sushi has certainly become “Americanized,” just like Chinese food. It’s everywhere, and more people than ever are eating it — and they’re not afraid to get a little more adventurous with the wilder variations.
So how did sushi turn into something you could buy at the grocery store? Turns out, Los Angeles was one of the first places in the U.S. to truly embrace sushi, with the opening of Kawafuku Restaurant in Little Tokyo in 1966. Kawafuku served traditional nigiri sushi (the kind with just a lump of sushi rice and fresh raw fish draped on top), and it was so successful that the sushi gospel soon spread from Little Tokyo to Hollywood, New York, and Chicago.
As it spread, the popularity of maki rolls, or what most Americans think of when they think of sushi, increased. Maki is rice wrapped up with nori (dried seaweed) and a filling, and then sliced into small pieces. The huge success of the easy-to-customize and portable rolls has pushed sushi to continuously evolve and has produced some of the creative forms and ingredients that are so popular in America today.
American sushi is anything but traditional these days, now involving crazy ingredients like smoked meat, Spam, feta, and a whole melting pot of other cultures’ ingredients. From pork belly and clams to sushi burritos, read on to learn about the most ridiculous sushi in America.
#14 Haru Sushi, New York, NY: Broadway Roll
At face value, the Broadway Roll at Haru Sushi in New York City doesn’t seem too crazy. Tuna, cucumber, and avocado are pretty standard, right? Maybe, but this roll is topped with gold leaf and caviar! Ridiculously fancy! You can eat your golden sushi roll in the lights of Times Square, safe in the knowledge that your sushi is the fanciest of them all.
#13 Aloha Cafe, Los Angeles, Calif: Spam Musubi
Spam Musubi is a beloved snack and lunch in Hawaii, made by placing a slice of grilled Spam on top of a block of rice, wrapped together with a strip of dried seaweed. Whether it’s sushi or not is a contentious issue, but since it mimics the shape and some of the ingredients, we count it. Also, it sounds amazing. You can find it in L.A. at the Aloha Cafe if you can’t make it out to the islands, and you can also make it yourself.
This post was originally published on August 14, 2014.