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vegetarian sushi? OC or LA?

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  • a. caron Oct 10, 2001 02:07 PM
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hi all,

i have a hard time finding places that will even serve me vegetarian sushi beyond a cucumber roll (kappa maki). they seem offended when i ask. on sunday i went into a sushi restaurant and asked the chef if he could possibly do any kinds of vegetarian rolls, say, avacado and cucumber, etc-- and he acted offended and said "no vegetarian sushi except kappa maki!". the veggie roll at wolfgang puck's is good.. but it's wolfgang puck's.

i'm thinking of great stuff i've had before like popeye roll (spicy mayo with spinach and mushroom), and those sorts of things.

anybody seen a reasonably priced sushi restaurant with veggie selections, in OC (preferably) or LA?? email me at happy_grapefruit@hotmail.com or post here and you will have my undying gratitude.

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  1. Try Asakuma-in Los Angeles Barrington/Wilshire Blvd.310-826-0013.Whether you sit in the dining room or at the sushi bar, they are always accommodating and have a good selection off the menu for vegetarian rolls and dishes(plus the food is always extremely frsh). Also,try the spicy tuna salad w/o the tuna.

    5 Replies
    1. re: andrea

      Thanks so very much. I will definitely give it a try.

      1. re: a. caron

        Wow, some of you guys are a little unfriendly. As a Japanese-American who has traveled a lot in Japan, I have often heard it said that if you want to test the quality of a sushi chef, ask for vegetable sushi, and see what arrives. Traditional Japanese cooking includes MANY vegetarian options that are properly called sushi, even if some of those Americanized creations (Philadelphia roll, with cream chese, etc.) are not.

        Some things to inquire about, that are often included in veggie sushi, include kampyo -- a VERY traditional sushi ingredient, made from dried gourd; umeboshi (the sour plums), well paired with shiso (the pungent fresh leaf often found in sushi); oshinko (the pickled daikon, often bright yellow); there is a very "fat" vegetarian roll called "futomaki," which traditionally includes tamago (egg) but can be ordered without it.

        Some sushi places serve natto, the fermented soybean item that some Japanese hate and others love (I think of it as the vegetarian equivalent of uni, since both would remind someone with a junior-high mentality of snot).

        At any rate, I raise a glass of unfiltered SAKE to the original inquirer, and gently suggest that those of you who opined that sushi is never vegetarian should take a longer trip to Japan next time.

        1. re: Nisei

          fwiw,
          even though Hide does not serve natto, they DO serve kampyo
          also, k-zo DOES serve natto, even though it is not listed on the menu.

          (even though i'm not a vegetarian, i usually order both those items whenever i'm in a sushi bar.)

          1. re: westsidegal

            Should be noted that some natto can contain some fish ingredients, so worth checking if you're careful about that kind of thing.

            1. re: will47

              Any fish ingredients in natto would have to be added by the chefs themselves. Natto is only fermented soybeans, although some commercial natto has a very small "tare" sauce packet in it which is made mostly of soy sauce as well as a bit of stock derived from dry fish.

    2. I don't blame the sushi chef for getting offended at your requests. I don't mean to come off as rude, but it is 'not' sushi if there is no raw fish and any serious sushi chef (especially Japanese) would scoff at someone asking for these 'California' vegetarian friendly rolls. I mean come on now. Popeye Roll? Yeah okay. The only place that will serve these kind of absurd concoctions are faux sushi (and I use that term very loosely in this respect) bars. If you must eat decent vegetables rolls or vegetables atop rice (let's not call it sushi from now on) go to a more American inspired place such as Sushi Roku or the like.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Liver Boy

        Foie gars, have you ever heard of a thing called "tamago sushi"?

        1. re: Samo

          I think you meant foie gras and tamago sushi is sweet egg. And is there a point? Even that wouldn't agree with a vegan's standard, although it may for a lacto-ovo vegetarian. So are you suggesting someone go to a sushi bar and order tamago all night? Pickled ginger is served with sushi as is miso soup, wasabi and various vegatables in certain hand rolls. Are those correctly classified as 'sushi'? I think not. All I'm saying is that when one sits at a traditional and authentic sushi bar, they should not expect the sushi chef to always agree to cater to their special needs. Just because someone had a cucumber, avocado, papaya, pickled jalapeno roll with a side of chutney at some Americanized place is no reason to expect them to have their frivolous requests granted at a place that takes their cuisine seriously.

        2. re: Liver Boy

          Liver Boy, you say you can't have sushi without raw fish, but doesn't the term 'sushi' just refer to the rice? You can have sushi with cooked fish, egg, veggies or other things. You can't have sashimi without raw fish or meat, but sushi just means vinegared rice, no?

        3. I know this thread is extremely old, but in case anyone comes to this page looking for vegetarian sushi, I recommend Shojin. This downtown L.A. gem is the best vegetarian Japanese restaurant I've ever been to. Even my carnivore friends leave here happy and full.

          All of the appetizers, salads, sushi and desserts are amazing. The Lemon Eryngii Mushroom & Asparagus is my absolute favorite dish here; it's so buttery and divine. The Shiitake Mushroom Tempura is another favorite. I would skip the orange "chicken." If you are not a vegetarian, the fake chicken won't be up to par, although my vegan friends liked it.

          If you ask for "just water," you get a free bottomless jug of Fiji bottled water (I saw them refilling it) with sliced strawberries, citrus wedges or mint leaves in it.

          http://www.yelp.com/biz/shojin-los-an...

          http://www.theshojin.com/

          Full menu with gorgeous pictures:

          http://www.theshojin.com/menu_details...

          3 Replies
          1. re: atarunomiko

            +1 atarunomiko
            shojin serves top flight vegetarian sushi

            1. re: atarunomiko

              I came here to mention Shojin. Been with many carnivores and they don't miss the fish or meat at all.

              This place is actually Vegan, I believe.

              1. re: wanderlustre

                Shojin is Ok. I just wish it were better, especially at their prices.

            2. I can't guarantee that they will have a variety, but San Shi Go on Balboa Peninsula is very accommodating and creative. My wife does not eat a lot of carbs, so when he was making some of his sushi presentations for our Omakase meal, he substituted Japanese eggplant fr the rice as a base. I would call them up and ask if they can do a vegetarian sushi meal for you.

              1. I am veggie and I love the vegan sushi at Shojin, it's all vegan there. Also we go to Crazy Fish on the westside and they have a few vegetarian options. Still you can't beat sushi made for vegans.