Sustainable sushi challenge

illustration by MARK STIVERS

Modern sushi rolls, dripping with as much chili-mayonnaise sauce as trendiness, have become predictable, boring and unsustainable. Should we really be eating all that eel, shrimp and tuna, knowing that each roll is rapidly depleting the number of fish in the ocean?

Most fish farms are just as environmentally harmful, often resulting in high-mercury fish and poisonous runoff. But people want the popular, tasty fish they’re so familiar with, and they want it slathered in avocado.

Arctic char, sardines and most farmed shellfish, such as clams and oysters, are just some of the tasty, sustainable options available. But without a starring roll on a jalapeño-laden maki, their chances of being picked up by the public are slim.

Sushi chefs, in order to preserve their business and encourage their patrons to eat responsibly, should attempt to make lesser-known fish, such as mackerel and abalone, alluring to diners. So Billy Ngo, Taro Arai and every other sushi chef in Sac, I offer this challenge: Make a phenomenal sushi roll using those sustainable but unpopular fish. I want to see what you guys can do. Then, let me know. I’ll be there.