Is Whole Foods' New Sushi REALLY Sushi?
This article originally appeared on CookingLight.com.
Vegetarians and vegans rejoice, because Whole Foods Market has added a new plant-based sushi to their menu. Faux-tuna, called ahimi, will be used in the nigiri, California roll, and a nigiri and roll combo, starting November 1 in select New York and Los Angeles locations, according to a Whole Foods press release.
The name ahimi comes from the word "ahi" meaning tuna and "mi" meaning spirit in Japanese. The faux-fish is made from peeled tomatoes that are marinated in a mixture of water, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. The pieces are then cooked down at a very low temperature for a long time, though the exact method is kept a company secret, the Los Angeles Times reported. The result is a very meaty, umami-rich taste and texture akin to ahi tuna.
The tuna replacement was developed by Ocean Hugger Foods, a company that set out to create the world's first plant-based alternative to raw fish. Chef James Corwell was inspired to start the company after learning about overfishing and the need for a sustainable seafood alternative. Beyond sushi, the product can be used in ceviche, tartare, poke bowls, salads, and wraps.
This plant-based option will join other veggie-forward rolls already available at the sushi counter. If the faux-tuna sushi does well in chosen test markets, Whole Foods may expand to other cities across the country, USA Today reported.
Ocean Hugger Foods is currently developing two other fish alternatives that they plan to release in 2018. Sakimi will be a salmon substitute made from carrots and unami will be an eggplant-based alternative to eel. All of the plant-based fish products are safe for vegans, vegetarians, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.