Tempura fried or soy paper wrapped? That is the question.
What is bite-sized, beloved, and sometimes buried in a bento box? We’re talking vegan sushi! And while sushi is a modern muse in kitchens around the world, one thing remains—classic, vinegared, sticky sushi rice. Fill that ramekin with soy sauce, push a pile of ginger to the corner of your plate, and decide on chopsticks, a fork, or your hands! We’ve rounded up the best vegan sushi in the United States.
1. Beyond Sushi
New York, NY
Your vegan sushi dreams will come true at Beyond Sushi in New York City. The Manhattan chain consists of four storefronts with menus that draw inspiration from far corners. The Spicy Jackfruit Crab Roll adopts its heat from toasted cayenne, and the Ube Crunch is bright, smoky, and salty. After selecting a few rolls, focus on the dumpling and sushi piece menu! These classics have made a comeback and are the perfect addition to round out your meal.
2. Blue Sushi Sake Grill
When you visit Blue Sushi Sake Grill Monday through Friday from 2-5:30pm, you can order vegan sushi from their happy hour menu. Dine in or carry out for snacking. Try their Vegan Black Dragon Roll filled with bbq eggplant tempura, Cowgirl Roll with sriracha-fried onion rings, or maybe the Charred Edamame seasoned with spicy garlic and togarashi.
Los Angeles, CA
Hiroshima-born executive chef Jun Matoshiro’s plant-based visions are realized behind the curtains of this ambient sushi house. Marinated mushrooms are thinly sliced before doubling as vegan wagyu atop the Aburi Nigiri. To top it off, the nigiri are seared tableside! For fewer flames but just as much flavor, order the Shojin Dynamite Roll or several other rolls with fillings anchored by mushroom, avocado, eggplant, and asparagus.
San Francisco, CA
Each of the components in Shizen’s vegan sushi rolls tells a story. The story is of a restaurant trying to mirror delicate, nuanced flavors of traditional sushi without harming an animal. Smoked tofu displaces cured salmon in Shizen’s Philadelphia Roll, and the Open Invitation marries the flavors and textures of pumpkin, spiced burdock, and avocado crema.
5. Tomo Sushi
Tomo Sushi gets its name from Tomodachi, which translates to “friends” in Japanese. It also chronicles the lives of chefs Andy and Steven, who tested their friendship when opening Tomo Sushi in Philadelphia. You will feel all the love when your table is a tasting menu of spicy tuna, Oshinko (pickled radish), and the sweet potato-based Harvest Roll.
6. Vegan Castle
Long Beach, CA
Once you encounter an electric blue single-story building with orange monarch butterflies painted on the side, you know you’re here. Once inside, enjoy all the rolls you’ve come to know and love at your favorite sushi joints. Shrimp tempura and dragon rolls? They’ve got it! They also have a Santa Fe and a Long Beach Roll created in honor of the iconic California county.
7. Chef Kenny’s
Las Vegas, NV
Handrolls are underrated! Check out Chef Kenny’s in Las Vegas if you’re willing to give them a shot. They’re what would happen if a sushi roll rebelled and became an open-faced sandwich instead. Your options here include spicy tuna, jackfruit, and eel—all vegan, of course! Add the coconut, rainbow, and sunshine rolls, and you’re in business!
Westminster & Yorba Linda, CA
You will find exceptional vegan sushi many places in Southern California, and sometimes that includes a strip mall. That’s where you’ll find Kenshō—in the Westminster Shopping Center right off the 405 freeway. Don’t miss their new DaKine Roll! It’s stuffed with plant-based crab, jalapeno, and cream cheese, and topped with avocado and torched vegan spam.
9. Ma-Kin Vegan
Los Angeles, CA
There are 32 reasons to visit Ma-Kin Vegan in Thousand Oak, and they all involve a specialty sushi roll menu. You can order a Valencia Roll wrapped in soy paper, the Sexy Lady drizzled with eel sauce and chili oil, or the Red Dragon with fried oyster mushrooms. Most items are gluten-free, and you can easily modify most of those that aren’t.
10. The Yasai
San Diego, CA
Chefs Junya Watanabe and Hajime Matsuoka are visionaries with vegetables. Their Little Italy and Convoy restaurants have been coined ferment factories in honor of their delicate treatment of an array of veggies. Find them in specialty creations like the Hanzo Sword. On the outside, you’ll find candied jalapenos and lemon zest, and on the inside, green onion, vegan shrimp, and fermented mushroom.