Australian-Style Sushi Is Not What You'd Expect, But It's Definitely Worth A Try

Sometimes you have to take lunch on the go, and Americans are particularly familiar with wolfing down sandwiches and French fries while driving from one meeting to the next. But why not nosh on a portable sushi roll, instead? Thanks to the Australians, it is possible; thick, uncut sushi rolls can be easily gripped, bit, and swallowed without having to sit at a restaurant or pick up a set of chopsticks. Surprisingly, however, when Australian-style sushi pieces first arrived in the United States, folks were less than impressed. Unsliced sushi rolls, while more conical in shape, are served in Japan, so what was so special about these sushi rolls that claimed origins Down Under? 

For one, these sushi rolls are often displayed vertically, like sturdy blades of grass waiting to be plucked. Similar to other types of pre-made sushi, standard flavors such as spicy tuna and salmon avocado are tightly rolled and served, and Australian sushi fillings can also include fried chicken, Peking duck, sweet and sour pork rolls, and teriyaki beef and cucumber. And, of course, instead of pieces, these burrito-like seaweed-wrapped pieces are ready to be grabbed and gulped. 

You next picnic could look different

We have an Australian lawyer to thank for bringing Australian sushi to New York, but her entrepreneurial effort didn't come without hiccups. Alex Mark was accused of cultural appropriation, yet The Sydney Morning Herald's Adam Liaw writes, "What the whole 'discourse' managed to avoid is that 'Australian sushi' is very much a thing and anyone who thinks it isn't simply hasn't done their homework." Law recognized that Australians aren't the only ones to have put modifications to sushi recipes. California lays claim to California rolls, New York has a recipe roll of their own, and in Hawaii, sushi rice is crowned with pieces of teriyaki Spam in a dish called musubi.

We're grateful Mark's persistence paid off. For moments when the lunch hour doesn't seem long enough or the weekend picnic calls for something besides the usual peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Australian sushi rolls can be just the ticket to a convenient meal-time destination filled with flavor. When it comes to a long piece of seaweed wrapped around gummy rice and whatever kinds of ingredients you like, what's not to love?