Sinaloa style sushi is a type of sushi that originated in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. It combines elements of traditional Japanese sushi with ingredients and flavors from Mexican cuisine. Sinaloa style sushi has become popular in recent years, both in Sinaloa and in other parts of Mexico.
What are the key features of Sinaloa style sushi?
There are a few key features that distinguish Sinaloa style sushi from other types of sushi:
- Use of Mexican ingredients – Sinaloa style sushi incorporates ingredients like avocado, cilantro, corn, chipotle chilies, beans, chorizo, and queso fresco.
- Large rolls – The rolls are often made very large and cut into bite-sized pieces. This contrasts with the delicate bite-sized pieces seen in traditional Japanese sushi.
- Vibrant colors – Ingredients like red and green chilies, roasted corn, and salsa give the rolls a colorful look.
- Crunchy textures – The rolls have a crunchy texture from ingredients like fried beans, tortilla chips, jicama, and chicharrón (fried pork rind).
- Strong flavors – The Mexican ingredients impart bold, intense flavors compared to subtle flavors in traditional sushi.
What are some popular styles and ingredients?
There are many creative variations of Sinaloa style sushi. Here are some popular styles and ingredients used:
This style uses avocado, cucumber, crab meat, chili powder, and mayo. It resembles a California roll but with Mexican twists.
Includes grilled chicken or steak fajita meat, onions, peppers, cilantro, guacamole, and salsa.
Uses braised, shredded pork carnitas, beans, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, and sour cream.
Contains ground beef picadillo, tomato, onion, garlic, chili powder, raisins, olives, and cheddar cheese.
Made with achiote roasted suckling pig (cochinita pibil), pickled red onions, avocado, and habanero chilies.
Includes your choice of meat like carne asada, chorizo, chicken tinga, or carnitas layered with beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, guacamole, and crema.
Filled with cheese, sauteed mushrooms, poblano peppers, corn, and cilantro.
Made with tempura fried shrimp, avocado, cucumber, chili mayo, and chipotle sauce.
Uses grilled fish like mahi mahi or tilapia, shredded cabbage, mango, avocado, and chili lime vinaigrette.
Contains chicken mole sauce, sesame seeds, queso fresco, and onion.
Includes sauteed strips of poblano pepper and onion (rajas), corn, cotija cheese, and cilantro.
What are the origins of Sinaloa style sushi?
Sinaloa style sushi originated in Culiacán, Sinaloa in northern Mexico. The invention of the style is credited to Japanese-Mexican chef Yoshi Ansho who moved to Sinaloa from Japan in the 1980s. Chef Ansho began experimenting with combining Japanese and Mexican flavors and created unique sushi rolls using Mexican ingredients. His creations became very popular in Culiacán and were the genesis of Sinaloa style sushi.
The style has its roots in the large Japanese immigrant population that lives in Sinaloa. Many Japanese immigrants moved there in the early-mid 20th century and made significant contributions to agriculture. Sinaloa has the third-largest Japanese population in Mexico after Mexico City and Baja California. The merging of Japanese and Mexican food cultures led to inventive forms of sushi like the Sinaloa style.
Where can you find Sinaloa style sushi?
Originally found only in Sinaloa, Sinaloa style sushi is now served in sushi restaurants throughout Mexico. Some restaurants to try it include:
- Yoshi Ansho – Chef Ansho’s original restaurant in Culiacán, Sinaloa.
- Asahi – Upscale sushi restaurant chain with multiple locations across Mexico including Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Cabo San Lucas, and Mexico City.
- Samurai – Sushi restaurant group started in Sinaloa with locations in Culiacán, Mazatlan, and Los Mochis.
- Sushi Itto – Popular sushi chain serving Sinaloa style items at their branches across Mexico.
- Tacos Takos – Taqueria in Mexico City known for sushi tacos with Sinaloa twists.
- Izakaya La Roca – Hip sushi bar in Mexico City’s Roma neighborhood offering Sinaloa-inspired special rolls.
- Kinoya Mazatlán – High-end restaurant in the coastal city of Mazatlán, Sinaloa with a broad Sinaloa-style sushi menu.
In the United States, some Mexican restaurants and sushi spots in areas with large Mexican populations like Los Angeles and Phoenix also offer variations of Sinaloa sushi.
What are some signature sushi rolls of Sinaloa style sushi?
Some of the most iconic and inventive rolls of the Sinaloa style include:
Named after Sinaloa’s capital city, this roll contains tempura shrimp, avocado, mayo, rolled in a soy paper tortilla and topped with masago (smelt roe) and spicy chili salsa.
Features shrimp and avocado inside, topped with thin slices of fresh mango and drizzled with habanero pepper sauce.
El Quelite Roll
Includes fried pork chicharrón, avocado, cream cheese, and salsa verde inside, topped with masago.
Stuffed with marinated carne asada, cilantro, onion, and guacamole, served with a side of jalapeño salsa.
Playa Norte Roll
Loaded with ahi tuna, jicama, cucumber, and serrano chili slices inside, garnished with roasted sesame seeds.
Tacos de Carnitas Roll
Layered with carnitas, salsa, guacamole, beans, tortilla chips, queso fresco, and green onion.
Camarones Chipotle Roll
Contains tempura fried shrimp, cream cheese, and chipotle chili sauce, topped with avocado and cotija cheese.
Spicy roll with shrimp, avocado, chile de arbol salsa, and Sriracha inside, topped with habanero masago.
How does Sinaloa style compare to traditional sushi and Mexican sushi fusions?
Sinaloa style sushi stands out from both traditional Japanese sushi and other Mexico-Japan fusion styles in several ways:
vs. Traditional Japanese Sushi
- Bolder, more complex flavors compared to subtle, delicate Japanese flavors
- Emphasis on big textures like crunch vs. smooth, tender textures
- Large, elaborate rolls instead of delicate bite-sized pieces
- Unconventional, inventive style vs. focus on tradition
vs. Other Mexican Sushi Fusions
- More authentic incorporation of Mexican flavors compared to many US-based fusions
- Doesn’t shy away from hot chilies and strong Mexican flavor profiles
- Features more seafood vs. lots of beef/pork in Mexican-American sushi
- Incorporates real Mexican ingredients like huitlacoche and nopales vs. just guacamole and salsa
The Sinaloa style stands out for its boldness and creativity in blending Japanese tradition with authentic Mexican cuisine.
What are some tips for making Sinaloa style sushi at home?
Making your own Sinaloa style sushi rolls at home can be fun and delicious. Here are some tips:
- Gather Mexican ingredients – Shop at Mexican markets or the international aisle for items like chorizo, queso fresco, avocados, pickled jalapeños, beans, salsa, etc.
- Cook meats and veggies – If using things like carne asada or fajita veggies, be sure to marinate and cook them first before assembling rolls.
- Use soy paper – Rolling the sushi in soy paper tortillas makes it easier to incorporate non-traditional ingredients.
- Add textural elements – Incorporate crunchy items like fried beans, chicharrón, or tortilla chips.
- Make the rice Mexican style – Flavor it with lime, cilantro, and chili powder.
- Layer the flavors – Aim for a mix of textures and flavors in each roll – creamy, crunchy, spicy, cool, etc.
- Garnish with flair – Top it off with items like avocado, mango salsa, Mexican crema, and masago.
With the right ingredients and some creativity, you can make tasty Sinaloa style sushi rolls at home to enjoy with family and friends.
What are some key tips for ordering and eating Sinaloa style sushi?
Here are some useful tips for enjoying Sinaloa style sushi:
- Expect bold flavors – The sushi typically has intense chili heat and robust Mexican flavors.
- Embrace the unfamiliar – Be open to unique ingredients like huitlacoche (corn fungus) and salsa macha.
- Skip the chopsticks – Sinaloa style rolls are thick and best eaten by hand.
- Eat each piece in one bite – Don’t try to slice the huge rolls into small pieces, just eat each whole.
- Load up on salsas – Take advantage of the variety of salsas served alongside to customize each piece.
- Cool your mouth – Have a cold drink ready to tame the heat if a roll is really spicy.
- Share with friends – The large rolls make Sinaloa style sushi perfect for sharing family-style.
- Save room for dessert – Indulge in creative fusion desserts like sushi-shaped churros.
With an adventurous attitude, you’re sure to enjoy the full experience of authentic Sinaloa style sushi.
Sinaloa style sushi is an inventive fusion cuisine that merges the techniques and presentation of traditional Japanese sushi with the vibrant ingredients and bold flavors of Mexican cooking. Born in Culiacán, Sinaloa but now popular across Mexico and beyond, signature Sinaloa sushi rolls load up sushi rice and seafood with avocado, chilies, beans, salsas, and more to create a fun and flavorful food tradition. Fans love Sinaloa sushi for its big textures, eye-catching presentation, melding of Japanese and Mexican cultures, and amped-up flavors that pack a satisfying punch. Trying creative rolls at restaurants in Mexico or crafting your own Sinaloa style maki at home is a great way to experience the fusion of Japanese precision and Mexican gusto.