Who says sushi has to include fish? Not Sushi Maki. At least not anymore.
The South Florida-based chain has officially released three vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free rolls — dubbed "kenko" (which means "health" in Japanese) rolls — including the 24 Carrot, the Sweet Tato, and the Mighty Shroom.
"All of them feature our special multigrain purple rice, which is a combination of four types of rice, including brown, mahogany, and black, also known as forbidden rice," Sushi Maki's founder and CEO, Abe Ng, says. "It has a beautiful deep-purple color and is high in antioxidants. It’s like eating a handful of blueberries."
The Sweet Tato includes purple rice, mango, avocado, cucumber, sweet potato purée, and wasabi mayo ($9.50); the 24 Carrot features purple rice, carrot mix, cucumber, avocado, and sriracha mayo ($10); and the Mighty Shroom contains purple rice, spinach, shiitake mushroom teriyaki, avocado, radish sprouts, and sriracha mayo ($10.50).
As far as how the plant-based rolls were developed, Sushi Maki's culinary team was inspired in part by national and local sushi spots, including Planta South Beach and Beyond Sushi (a New York-based all-vegan sushi chain recently featured on Shark Tank).
The rolls were first launched at the Coconut Grove location April 15 and are now available at the other Sushi Maki restaurants in Coral Gables, South Miami, Palmetto Bay, and Kendall.
They're also available at the Sushi Maki inside Whole Foods South Beach and will hit the chain's other Whole Foods locations within the next two weeks.
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"Healthy eating is a trend that just keeps getting stronger and isn’t going away anytime soon," Ng says. "Our loyal guests have been asking for vegan and gluten-free options, and we wanted to give them what they’re asking for. Additionally, many of our own team members, including myself, are personally pursuing plant-strong eating. Sushi Maki is about spreading goodness, and we developed these recipes to provide delicious, healthy, plant-strong options."
Ever since the rolls were rolled out, they've been popular with guests, Ng reports.
"What people tell us again and again is that our rolls don’t taste the way they expected a vegan roll to taste," he says. "The kenko rolls have a rich and luxurious texture, with surprising flavors. It’s a lot more than crunching on veggies. Our guests are really loving vegan culinary options that are just as delicious and inspired as anything else on the menu."
Sushi Maki. Multiple locations; sushimaki.com.