RIO DE JANEIRO – “Temaki” hand-rolled sushi is proving popular among Brazilians looking for a quick bite. But some of the ingredients used by local chefs, such as tropical fruits, would be sure to raise eyebrows in Japan.
Low-cost sushi restaurants known as “temakeria” in Portuguese are on the rise in Brazil, and have even sprung up in London and New York.
Many ingredients in the hand-rolled sushi offered at a downtown restaurant in Rio de Janeiro, the second biggest city in Brazil, would be unheard-of in Japan.
Alex Moura, a sushi chef at the restaurant, prepares hand-rolled sushi that contains ingredients including mango, kiwi and garlic chive fried in butter.
Moura, 28, was surprised to hear there is no mango in hand-rolled sushi served in Japan.
“I was taught to put fruits inside the hand-rolled sushi as if it were a normal thing to do,” said Moura, a sushi chef for nearly 10 years.
Very popular among locals is the restaurant’s hand-rolled sushi with cream cheese and salmon, served deep-fried in a tempura style.
Brazil’s franchise association said Japanese restaurants are increasing compared to restaurants featuring other types of cuisine. There were 674 chain restaurants in the country in 2013, up 16.6 percent from the previous year, with many of them offering hand-rolled sushi.