This Smart Hack Makes Grocery Store Sushi Taste Better

published Nov 15, 2017
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Grocery store sushi is extremely convenient, and it’s way less expensive than sushi from a restaurant. Some grocery store sushi is even quite tasty, although in general everybody understands that the $10 plate of sushi from the grocery store is not going to be quite the same quality as the sushi you pay $30 for at your friendly neighborhood sushi restaurant. But now there’s a new game-changing sushi hack that promises to make grocery store sushi taste restaurant-quality in just 30 seconds, and it sounds almost too good to be true.

This week the reporters at Japanese website Sora News 24 investigated a tip that microwaving the grocery store sushi for just 30 seconds could make it taste as good as restaurant sushi. And it works! This could be as much of a game-changer as the trick where you can revive a flat bottle of sparkling wine by putting a raisin in it.

Grocery store sushi tends to lack the texture and flavor of fresh sushi from a restaurant, because even when the grocery store starts with good fish and rice, the sushi rice gets hard and starts to separate after it spends a little time in the refrigerated display case. The toppings also lose a bit of their softness and flavor when left in a fridge for too long.

To test the theory, they put a tray of sushi for two in a microwave for 30 seconds at 500 watts. When the sushi came out, it tasted just like it had been made fresh by a chef. The heat did not make the vinegar on the sushi rice too bitter or overpowering, and it revived the cold rice so it was soft and fluffy, as it should be.

The toppings benefitted from the microwave, too.

“All the neta toppings were twice as delicious, regaining their freshness and becoming juicy and soft,” Sora News 24’s Oona McGee wrote. “They might not have transcended to quite the same level as a handmade morsel from a high-end restaurant like Sukiyabashi Jiro, but the flavours were well and truly out of the supermarket and competing with the likes of good quality servings you’d find at any Japanese sushi train restaurant.”

You don’t want to microwave too much, or it could cook the sushi. Thirty seconds at 500 watts is just enough to take the chill off the rice and fish.

Putting this trick to work means you’ll have to check the output on your microwave, and then adjust your power level for cooking. According to Lifehacker, many U.S. microwaves let you adjust the power level from one to 10, and those levels are approximate percentages. So if you have a 1,000-watt microwave, you’d microwave the two-person sushi tray for 30 seconds at power level five to duplicate this experiment.

My microwave is 1,100 watts, so to get to 500 watts I’d need my power level set to 45 percent. The microwave settings mean I’d have to choose between four and five, though, so I’d round down and microwave at level four on the grounds that it’s better to undercook than overcook in this situation. It might require a bit of experimentation to get the timing and power level exactly right for every microwave, but if it makes grocery store sushi taste like restaurant sushi, it’d be more than worth it.