Monday, June 29, 2020

Food Trend : Sushi Bake and Where to Get this in Manila

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to guest in the one and only podcast that I religiously listen to. It's called Sini Gang and it's by my friends and foodie idols -- Chef Edward Bugia, Chef Sharwin Tee and The Pickiest Eater in the World, Richie Zamora. For many nights especially during this quarantine season, I would find myself working till midnight and I would always have Sini Gang playing in the background as I listen in to their various episodes that mostly revolves around food.

sini gang
So when Richie approached me and asked if I can be their guest for one of their shows, despite having a hundred butterflies in my stomach, I said YES. I'd be crazy to pass up an opportunity to join a fun discussion with my foodie friends. We talked about the top food trends that has hit our country since the start of the ECQ and this includes the Dalgona Coffee, the Ube Cheese Pandesal (where I shared about Twin Beans Kitchen) and of course, the ever famous -- Sushi Bake.

Link to the Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/trypodnetwork/videos/311165149915483/

So what is it? 

sushi bake alvin
Sometime a month ago, my brother in law sent over a huge pyrex dish of deconstructed sushi. I saw him made one for his girlfriend N and finally after much prodding from me, he sent us one too. Thank you A! It was delicious. Rice at the bottom that's sprinkled with furikake and topped with a thick layer of kani-mayo-cream cheese combination, a layer of nori sheets acted as a divider and its finished off with a generous amount of tobiko. It's really your California Make made in a pan and baked or torched to perfection. I also think that since we're still fighting the virus, we have always been warned against taking raw food so this is such a brilliant solution to satisfy your sushi craving but still staying on the safe side.



Apparently, Sushi Bake originated in the US sometime in 2015. That was 5 years ago that someone, somewhere out there (beneath the pale moonlight hehe) was already making this delicious dish.

Since then, more and more food entrepreneurs started offering this "deconstructed sushi" creation. Apparently, it has a name -- Sushi Bake. I don't know how it originated as the name alone sounded grammatically wrong but hey, it works and so let it be. I got so intrigued by this Sushi Bake that I started doing my research and I even made a grid to help me see how much each brand is selling their Sushi Bake as there were a lot of options to choose from. The size, the toppings, the layers of ingredients and more. My brother-in-law is not selling his Sushi Bake yet. So we're just so lucky that he has been making for the family to enjoy.

For those who has been wanting to try this out, here are 3 other brands that I've tried and loved just the same. Sharing them in no particular order:

1) MeatSumo Premium Panay 

sushi bake meatsumo
Perhaps one of the restaurants that came out with the Sushi Bake first as the pioneer ones were from home businesses. One thing that we love about MeatSumo's Sushi Bake is it's very reasonably priced that have been ordering from them to give as gifts to my friends and family. It's not because it's cheap but it's one that I don't mind paying for because I am assured that I'm giving a delicious sushi bake that's consistent in taste, with good quality ingredients and it doesn't cause much dent on our bank account too. One rectangular platter which is good for 3-4 pax and comes with 2 packs of nori sheets is worth P480. Not bad as all other Sushi Bakes are close to the P1000 price range. There's just one size though so if you're planning to enjoy this with a big family then you might have to order more than one.

sushi bake  meatsumo panay
Given that I've had several Sushi Bakes from MeatSumo already, what I love about it is that that I find kani mixture to be just right, I love the addition of mango slices which breaks the creaminess of the entire dish. I also love how it comes with crispy tempura flakes and spring onions which you add in every scoop. It's served in a separate container so you don't have to worry about getting the crunchy flakes soggy.

2) Kamikalu 

sushi bake kamikalu
One of the pioneer sellers of the Sushi Bake was Kamikalu. I first saw Kamikalu on Instagram and was drawn towards its tobiko covered Sushi Bake. Indeed it looks very premium but mind you, the price is very competitive in the market especially for home businesses with ebiko-topped sushi bake. In fact, one of the things my brother in law told me about him making the Sushi Bake is that the ingredients are not cheap especially when you really want to give a good quality product.

I got my Kamikalu Sushi Bake for my birthday as this was given by my friend Jass. One thing that I love about Jass is how well knows me. Indeed, this was one of the best presents that I've received for my birthday this year. I love how generous the amount of tobiko was yet it didn't make the whole thing too salty nor does it have a fishy smell or taste. It's rice topped with furikake and layered with a thick chunk of kani cream mixure. It also came with a heating requirement which most brands tend to forget to include.

sushi bake 8
After that delightful can of Kani Sushi Bake, they recently released the Kani Sushi Bake Overload with Unagi (Php. 2,200). This is indeed your crème de la crème of all sushi bakes. It has double the amount of ebiko and the entire top layer is covered with unagi slices. OMG! Thinking about it is enough to make my mouth water and crave for more. It's priced slightly higher than your usual sushi bake but come on, unagi and ebiko are indeed very premium Japanese items so I'd say it's definitely worth every single bite. If you wanna impress somebody or just want to be impressed yourself, then you know where to order your Sushi Bake. As my Papa would say, life is short so indulge and treat yourself once in a while. This belief of his I live by every single day. ♥

3) 205 Kitchen

Slightly late in the game but hey, better late than never right? 205 Kitchen recently launched their Crazy Jurassic Duo which is part unagi and another part crunchy tempura flakes with kani. I noticed that despite having a lot of brands selling this very popular trend, I also have come to believe that there are no two Sushi Bake as it differs from the size, the toppings and more.

sushi bake 205 kitchen
I got to fully disclosed that the talented people behind 205 Kitchen are my food-loving cousins but I really am impressed by their products and I think I should tell you all about it too. Why keep a good and delicious food find secret after all? This is the brainchild of my two younger cousins as they began selling frozen and roast meats sometime last year. Since then, their product line has grew and I'm so lucky that they live within the neighborhood and ordering is such a breeze. I first discovered their pork barbecue (Php. 300/10 sticks) which I find to be so flavorful and tender. They also have melt-in-your-mouth Black Angus Shortplate which the entire family loved.

Just recently, they launched their very own Sushi Bake. This is perfect for those who wants to have a taste of both types. The regular sushi bake that's topped with crunchy tempura flakes, kani and ebiko and the premium side with unagi slices too. It's available in two sizes : sampler (P650 / good for 2-3 pax or 1 very hungry person haha) or family (P1800/6-8pax).

sushi bake 205 kitchen
I think 205 Kitchen's Crazy Jurassic Duo is best if you want to alternate between two flavors or you plan to serve it during a family meal so everyone gets to choose a "side". ;)

4) The Weekend Sushi

Now, this is the perfect sushi bake if you want some heat into your creamy kani mix. This is probably the most interesting sushi bake that I've tried so far. Each bite gives you a generous amount of scallops and kani like I can't imagine the number of scallops that's added in one small pan. As you enjoy your first spoonful, you'll immediately get that spicy kick and oh wow, it was delicious! This was my mom's personal favorite as she said the spicy notes cut through the creaminess of the kani/scallop topping so it wasn't cloying (nakakaumay) at all.

sushi bake kani scallop 2
One 8x4 pan of the Scallop Kani Sushi Aburi (Php. 1100) is said to be good for about 2-3 pax but my family of 4 was still able to enjoy it and we still have a few more left for dinner. Given the amount of good ingredients that you can find in here, this is definitely a good deal and the spiciness will make you keep going for more.

5) The Bakerists

I always believe that one can do anything he/she desires to do for as long as he/she do this from the heart. Our skills and capabilities have no boundaries and if you put your heart into it, then it is indeed possible. This is exactly what Tintin of The Bakerists did at the start of the ECQ. A super momma of 3 kids, she started selling two baked items namely Baked Macaroni and the famous Sushi Bake. Their sushi bake is probably one of the most budget friendly (starting at P350) in the market but mind you, it has all the ingredients needed for a Sushi Bake. Rice, kani mayo mixture, tobiko and nori sheet. I also love that the kani mayo had a mild spicy kick thus bringing out more life and flavor from the Sushi Bake. 

sushi bake bakerist 1
The ratio of topping to rice is just right. After having a number of sushi bake, I really do not like those that has a very thick layer of rice and barely there toppings. I'm quite impressed that The Bakerists was very generous with the kani and tobiko toppings and it even has one layer for the nori sheet. 

There are a lot of home brands and restaurants offering sushi bake out there and I'm sure that by now you have found your favorites too. Please share them with me in the comment section below as I'd love to try them as well. Among all the food trends that came out this year, this is definitely my favorite and I hope it's here to stay for a longer period of time.
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