Photos from The Kitchen MNL, Sushi Bake MNL, Aburi Mama, Oomori
Sushi bake. Baked sushi. Sound familiar?
Browse through your Facebook and Instagram feeds and any of these terms just might ring a bell; they are, after all, the latest "food trend" of the lockdown home culinary universe, quite possibly giving dalgona coffee and the ube cheese pandesal a run for their money.
Tins of torched, cheesy, bright-orange goodness, hands holding a bite-sized nori wrapper stuffed with rice, kani, salmon, and mayo – these photos have been making their social media rounds, and for good reason.
Sushi bake seems to be here to stay – at least for a good while – and both Japanese restaurants and small home businesses are definitely not doing it half-baked.
But, what is it, really?
The anatomy of a sushi bake
Just like most food trends, we're not quite sure where exactly it originated, or who first started the trend. All we know is that it rose to popularity mid-ECQ (April-May 2020), and it's been on a (sushi) roll since.
But it's not a regional invention – a quick Google search will tell you that recipe blogs and foreign websites have been in on the Japanese-inspired casserole trend since 2015.
But word of mouth has it that celebrity nail artist Mimi Qui Reyes sparked the craze in Metro Manila, delivering her "original baked california roll" to celebrity friends as early as 2015.
View this post on Instagram The Original Baked California Roll By @mimsqiu A post shared by Original Baked California (@theoriginalbakedcaliforniaroll) on May 9, 2020 at 1:47am PDT
Many owners and businesses followed suit, and foodies were more than happy to latch onto the "deconstructed sushi roll" mania – especially now that we all have extra time to spare in both the kitchen and the dining room.
Aside from it being a fun, do-it-yourself activity with family and friends, it's also got the creamy, savory taste many Pinoys love about maki rolls.
It's not a sushi roll, but it's not just a rice casserole either – essentially, it's got all the elements of a typical maki. There's nori (seawood), sushi rice (white rice mixed with Japanese vinegar), and your choice of toppings – either salmon, kani (crabstick), Japanese mayo, tobiko (fish roe) cream cheese, and even sriracha for a spicy kick – all served atop one another on a tray.
There are different spins to it – some bake it with more kani and mango and roe, like a California Maki, or Salmon Teriyaki style with cream cheese and torched salmon – but ultimately, it's a creamy, savory, and slightly tangy explosion of flavors in one nori-wrapped, rice-stuffed bite.
All you have to do is scoop a hefty amount of the sushi bake (rice and toppings, the whole shebang) onto your square sheet of nori, fold it like a roll, and enjoy it in one go.
Where to find it
Home business Aburi Mama serves up just one specialty: its Cheesy Baked Salmon Kani Aburi Rice (both the dish and the name is a mouthful), available in small (P980) and large (P1,700) sizes.
Atop the sushi rice is a creamy mixture of fresh salmon cubes, kani strips, mayonnaise, cheese, and tobiko, torched, Aburi Mama-style, for that slight smoky char. It's ready to eat, comes with slices of crunchy nori, and is as addictive to binge on as it is appetizing to look at.
Japanese restaurant Oomori, located in Banawe, Quezon City, pivoted its menu to board the sushi bake train, serving up an adventurous version to the basic dish – well, 3 versions to be exact.
Their sushi bake is available in 4 tastebud-tingling flavors: California Sushi (P1,450), the typical kani-based mix, Salmon Truffle (P1,300), which has slices of salmon sashimi and cheese, the Wasabi Cheese Melt (P1,200), with slices of tuna sashimi, cheese, and crunchy wakame (seaweed), and the Salmon Teriyaki (P1,300), which has slices of torched salmon, cream cheese, and teriyaki sauce – a personal favorite.
Or better yet, why not get all 4 in one? You can get the 4-in-1 All Flavors Sushi Bake for P1,450 – a good choice for the unsure. You can also opt to have your tray already torched in their kitchen.
Sushi Bake Manila
Sushi Bake Manila takes pride in their Kani Mango Sushi Bake, available in round tray size (P1,000) good for 4-6 people, or the rectangular tray size (P1,800), good for 7-10.
You can choose from either pure kani or pure kani and mango – or you can also have it half-in-half. It's served with 3-5 packs of seaweed (you can order extra if you wish), and can come to you either raw or already baked.
MeatSumo Premium Panay
The samguypsal-slash-Japanese restaurant MeatSumo has shifted its expertise to sushi bake, too – or rather, sushi cake, topped with crunchy tempura flakes and fresh leeks.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by MeatSumo Premium (@meatsumopanay) on May 17, 2020 at 10:57pm PDT
Taste and Tell
Taste and Tell’s Kani Aburi Sushi Tray has Japanese rice underneath a mixture of kani, tobiko, sweet mangoes, cream cheese, and its secret sauce, blow-torched just right.
Its medium size (P1,200) comes with 3 nori packs, while the big size (P1,500) comes with 5.
Taste and Tell's also got a new item up their sleeve – the new Scallop x Salmon Aburi Sushi Tray, available starting May 29, featuring the usual culprits, plus scallop bits, and then topped with unagi sauce, crunchy garlic, and tempura flakes.
It costs P1,500 for the small, P1,950 for the medium, and P2,400 for the large.
Mia and Co. Specialty Food
Mia and Co.'s sushi baked rolls are made California maki-style – bright-orange, creamy, and topped with tobiko – and are available in small (P450), medium (P800), and large (P1,500) size.
You can get up to 4 packs of seaweed, depending on the size.
Mirin Baked California Maki
"Baked to perfection," Mirin’s Baked California Maki comes with free mangoes, nori, and your choice of wasabi paste or chili powder per order. In each Mirin sushi roll there's nori, rice, wasabi bits, tamago (sweet egg), and masago (small fish roe), all in one bite.
The tray is available in solo mini size (P250), small (P400), medium (P850), and large (P1,250).
Sushi Fix Manila
Simplicity is key for Sushi Fix Manila – they deliver just the Baked California Maki, available in either original or spicy.
You can get it in medium for P500 or large for P900, with two or 4 packs of nori included.
We're still not sure what the Japanese sushi chefs have to say about this trend (no comment, so far!), but Pinoys seem to love it, sushi-lover or not – it's tasty, filling, and fun, with the just the right amount of umami, making one bite far from enough.
Baked Sushi by Madam Rose
Located in Quezon City, Madam Rose sells her version of the popular California Baked Roll in 4 sizes: small (P300) good for 1-2 people, medium (P450) good for 2-4 people, large (P850) good for 6-8 people, and the extra large (P1,300).
You can also opt for extra nori sheets for P50, as well as sliced mangoes for P50. To place your orders, you can message Madam Rose's Instagram page.
Makati-based kitchen Only Pans PH sells 4 kinds of baked sushi: the baked ebi kani (P649) with a signature sauce and cheese, baked chagi with cheese (P529), baked cali maki (P549), and a mix of chagi and cali (P549).
You can book your own courier via Lalamove, Angkas, GrabExpress, Joyride, Happymove, Mr. Speedy. You can place your orders via Only Pans' Instagram page.
Nama Baked Sushi
The homebaked sushi bake business brings to the table a handful of creative baked sushi variants. They have two sizes: the small tray, which is good for 2-3, and the large, which is good for 5-6.
Their menu includes a tuna or salmon baked sushi with eel sauce (P500, P950), the ebi baked sushi with wasabi mayo (P600, P1,150), a half tray of salmon and tuna (P1,000), and a "taste of everything" trio (P1,200). For orders, you can message their Instagram page.
We're still not sure what the Japanese sushi chefs have to say about this trend (no comment, so far!), but Pinoys seem to love it, sushi-lover or not – it's tasty, filling, and fun, with the just the right amount of umami, making one bite far from enough. – Rappler.com
If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.