You'll never believe what they use in place of fish.
Vegetarians and vegans rejoice, because Whole Foods Market has expanded their plant-based sushi. The faux-tuna, called ahimi, originally launched on November 1 in select New York and Los Angeles locations, according to a Whole Foods press release. The supermarket giant recently announced the plant-based alternative to sushi is now available at 40 Whole Foods stores across 10 states within the U.S.
The name ahimi comes from the word "ahi" meaning tuna and "mi" meaning spirit in Japanese. The faux-fish is made from peeled tomatoes that are marinated in a mixture of water, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. The pieces are then cooked down at a very low temperature for a long time, though the exact method is kept a company secret, the Los Angeles Times reported. The result is a very meaty, umami-rich taste and texture akin to ahi tuna.
The tuna replacement was developed by Ocean Hugger Foods, a company that set out to create the world's first plant-based alternative to raw fish. Chef James Corwell was inspired to start the company after learning about overfishing and the need for a sustainable seafood alternative. Beyond sushi, the product can be used in ceviche, tartare, poke bowls, salads, and wraps.
This plant-based option joins other veggie-forward rolls already available at the sushi counter. The vegan tuna is used in an Ahimi California Roll ($8.99) and an Ahimi Sushi Combo ($11.99), according to Veg News. You can try the futuristic fish with the store locator.
Whole Foods has previously awarded Ocean Hugger Foods with a Whole Foods Market Supplier Award for outstanding innovation in April 2018. In addition, Whole Foods included Ocean Hugger Foods Ahimi vegan tuna as one of their plant-forward predicted food trends of 2018.
Ocean Hugger Foods is currently developing two other fish alternatives that they plan to release at the end of 2018. Sakimi will be a salmon substitute made from carrots and Unami will be an eggplant-based alternative to eel. All of the plant-based fish products are safe for vegans, vegetarians, pregnant women, and nursing mothers.