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Sushi Dilemma: Seafood vs Meat vs Vegan

3 weeks ago

Sushi Evolution

When most people hear the word ‘Sushi’ they will no doubt imagine the classic fish or seafood based Japanese dish. This would not be a mistake as Sushi began life as a quick yet protein filled snack served up by street vendors in Edo Japan. The original dish being fresh fish or seafood is served atop vinegared rice. But oh how times have changed.

Sushi Counter sushi platter

The new breed of Sushi has taken that simplistic original idea apart and put it back together in a wide variety of ways. Sushi’s popularity has risen rapidly in the years since it first made its way over from Japan. In that time, there have been various other food ‘revolutions’ that have all at one time or another crossed paths with Sushi, and in doing so have changed the ingredients used.

One of the biggest shifts in the world of Sushi has come about due to a new focus on dietary requirements. People are now looking much closely at what they eat, which means that in order to enjoy certain types of food, some ingredients may need to be substituted or removed completely. This is not a bad thing though as the outcome has been a fresh and innovative way of creating the same dishes for a new market.

So Sushi, which was once solely a seafood and fish based dish has become so much more. The variations of classic Sushi recipes now include those that use meat as the protein base as well as the even newer vegetarian and vegan sushi Dubai restaurants now serve.

But why so many sushi varieties?

The traditional Sushi as we know served up in Sushi restaurants Abu Dhabi wide, catered to those who loved seafood or fish in one of its purest forms. As the popularity of the cuisine grew, it began to include these different variations in order to cater to the growing number of Sushi lovers who either do not or cannot eat seafood due to dietary requirements. For some, the ability to enjoy a favourite food of so many came in the form of meat-based substitutes. The Sushi restaurants Dubai diners flocked to now offer Sushi with fish, seafood or meat varieties. This new way of serving Sushi using Chicken or Beef in the place of the original seafood or fish in the recipe allowed for more people to enjoy this quintessential Japanese cuisine.

Vegetarian Sushi has been available for quite some time as it is often as simple as removing the fish or seafood from the recipe. Sushi minus the seafood or fish is a perfect meal choice for the vegetarian diner as its rice base is a good source of much needed protein. As more and more vegetarians became lovers of Sushi, the vegetarian Sushi menu grew to include more tailored vegetarian substitutes. This shift and variation of styles of Sushi was not finished yet though as there was still one type of diner that hadn’t been taken into account; the Vegan Sushi lover. One of the largest emerging ‘foodie’ markets to date though would have to be the Vegan food lover. Being Vegan means that a person chooses not to use any type of animal product, and this choice becomes strongly focussed on when it comes to diet. The average Vegan diner is no stranger to being denied foods or cuisines that they love due to ingredients that don’t suit their requirements. And whereas the Vegetarian diner is generally catered for in most restaurants nowadays, the same could not be said for the Vegan diner.

While Vegetarians have been able to enjoy Sushi for some time, before the recent appearance of Vegan Sushi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai diners would have been out of luck. This has meant that in order to cater to a Vegan market, the Sushi restaurants Dubai and Abu Dhabi are becoming famous for, now even offers Vegan Sushi. Now, the choices are almost endless.

Seafood vs Meat vs Vegan or Vegetarian Sushi

With there now being such a wide choice available when it comes to Sushi, it can be hard to see the Vegan Sashimi from the Chicken California Roll. That is why we have put together a list of some of the Vegan Sushi Dubai’s Japanese restaurants are now offering their diners. In this list, we will be looking at the original Seafood Sushi dish and then see what Meat, Vegan and Vegetarian options are now available.

Let’s look at some of the Sushi dishes available at Sushi Counter today:

Hand Rolls

Seafood Option:panko shrimp avocado hand roll sushi

Panko Shrimp Avocado Hand Roll

The ingredients: Panko shrimp, avocado, creamy spicy sauce and white sesame seeds (Wrapped in Seaweed)

This traditional hand rolled Sushi (also known as Tamaki Sushi) is made using a cone of seaweed which is rolled around rice and the various fillings. Hand rolls can be found in most of the Sushi restaurants Abu Dhabi is now famed for. In the Panko Shrimp Avocado Hand Roll, the ingredients are a classic mix of seafood (in this case shrimp), avocado which is a great source of healthy fats, rice and a creamy spicy sauce. The added sesame seeds create a slight crunch for some added texture. Altogether, the effect is a smooth taste and great mix of flavours and textures.

Vegan or Vegetarian Option:

Vegetable Hand RollVegetable Hand Roll

The ingredients: Carrots, cucumber, avocado and bell pepper with or without rice (Wrapped in Seaweed)

Sushi Counter has managed to recreate a classic with this Vegan and Vegetarian friendly version of the Hand Roll. Much like the Seafood alternatives, this hand roll uses simple ingredients to put across a full flavour and great taste. With the cucumber serving as the cooling alternative to the creamy sauce and the carrot substituting the shrimp, you still get the good fats from the avocado and a smooth yet crunchy bite. This is a great option for those diners who want all the filling freshness of a hand roll with no seafood. Proof that the Vegan Sushi Dubai and Abu Dhabi is becoming well-known for is far from boring.

Meat Option:

Chicken Sushi Burger

The ingredients: Slow cooked chicken breast, lettuce, Hijiki salad, tempura crisps, guacamole, Anticucho mayo, mix sesame seeds and Cheetos crackers

Okay, so this meat option is not a hand roll so to speak but it does offer a similar sensation of taste and texture as well as a similar mix of ingredients. The Sushi burger is fairly new to the market and capitalises on a more healthy way of looking at the classic burger. With rice patties instead of buns and added Cheetos crackers for crunch, the Chicken Sushi burger sees avocado guacamole add good fats to the chicken’s protein. The salad and tempura crisps add an extra crunch and the mayo finishes it all off.  


Summer Rolls sushiSummer Rolls

Seafood Option:

Thai Crab Summer Roll

The ingredients: Fresh Crab Meat, avocado, black sesame seeds, creamy spicy sauce and iceberg lettuce

The summer roll has been a main feature on any Sushi menu since the very beginning. This traditional seafood variety uses fresh crab meat as the source of its protein. We again see avocado appearing as a means of adding good fats to the dish. Black sesame seeds and iceberg lettuce add crunch and altogether, it creates a classic dish that encapsulates the Sushi experience.

Vegetarian Option:

Vegetarian Summer Roll

The ingredients: Avocado, bell pepper, cucumber, omelette and iceberg lettuce.

This option is a great example of the difference between Vegetarian and Vegan dietary requirements. The Omelette used in the Vegetarian Summer Roll serves as a great source of Protein. But it is this omelette that makes this unsuitable for a Vegan diner. Vegetarians though can enjoy the smooth creamy texture of the omelette and avocado with the crisp crunch of the iceberg lettuce and the bell pepper, with cucumber for added coolness.

Vegan Option:

Moutabel and Cucumber Summer RollMoutabel & Cucumber Summer Roll

The ingredients: Moutebal mix, cucumber, black sesame seeds, blue flowers and iceberg lettuce

Here we see a truly Vegan variation of the classic Summer Roll. Instead of seafood or omelette, Sushi Counter has used Moutebal as the main protein source. Moutebal is a hummus like dip that is made using eggplant (aubergine) and it is not only great tasting but an excellent source of nutrition for a Vegan diner. Although Moutebal may be available as a side or a dip in some restaurants, it can also be added in your favourite Vegan Sushi.



Meat Option:

Chicken Avocado Summer Roll

The ingredients: Chicken, avocado, creamy spicy sauce and iceberg lettuce

Using just four simple and fresh ingredients, Sushi Counter offers a great meat alternative to the seafood and Vegan or Vegetarian Summer Roll. The high protein levels of Chicken are again in this recipe added to the healthy fats of avocado and the cool taste of cucumber. Some added flavour here coming from the creamy spicy sauce.

California Rolls

Seafood Option:

Salmon Mustard Miso California Roll

The ingredients: Salmon, green apple, spicy miso sauce, wholegrain mustard and white sesame seeds

A great variation on the classic California roll sees Salmon take pride of place instead of the original crab. This Sushi Counter exclusive also uses green apple for a tart crunch and wholegrain mustard and spicy miso sauce for extra bite. The flavours and textures of this California Roll may echo the original but give it a whole new twist.

Vegan Options:

Black Veggie California RollBlack Veggie California Roll

The ingredients: Avocado, carrots, cucumber and black rice mix

The Black Veggie California Roll has just four simple and fresh ingredients which come together to create a great Vegetarian choice which is perfect for Vegan diners as well. The good fats from the avocado and the protein from the rice are accompanied by the crunch of the carrot and the cool of the cucumber.

Sweet Garden California Roll

The ingredients: Avocado, carrot, cucumber, crispy onion and sweet chilli sauce

Another great California Roll that shows how much exciting the Vegan Sushi Abu Dhabi restaurants are offering can be is the Sweet Garden California Roll. This twist on the classic California Roll has a filling of avocado, carrot and sweet chili sauce and is topped with sliced cucumber and crispy onion. Texture and taste come together to create something new and amazing.

Mango Chutney California Roll

The Ingredients: Mango chutney, pistachio, almond, cucumber, mango and sushi rice.

One last Vegan variety of the California Roll shows just how passionate Sushi Counter is about their Sushi. This Vegan California Roll makes great use of the taste of mango chutney and the textures offered by a mix of almonds and pistachio. And the whole roll is then wrapped in mango Sushi rice. These fresh flavours and the subtle crunch of nuts make for an amazing Sushi experience. This is a great option for anyone considering Vegan Sushi in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Vegetarian Options:

Spicy Veggie California Roll with Dal

The Ingredients: Avocado, cucumber, carrots, Dal, fried onion, chilli sauce, chilli powder and black rice mix.

With a flavour base of Dal and chilli, this Vegetarian California Roll is the product of a fusion of Asian cuisines. The carrots, cucumber and avocado will be familiar to those familiar with the California Roll but the fried onion and the chilli are brand new additions, giving it a fresh new take on this much loved classic.

Black Garden California RollBlack Garden California Roll

The ingredients: Black rice, avocado, asparagus, carrot, cucumber and creamy spicy sauce

Black rice gives this California Roll a whole different look and taste. Though the familiar ingredients such as avocado and carrot will mellow the taste, the addition of asparagus brings it to a whole new level. The creamy spicy sauce is what puts this California Roll in the Vegetarian options instead of the Vegan but even if you love meat or fish, this is still a must try for any California Roll enthusiast.

Meat Option:

Chicken California Roll

The ingredients: Chicken, cucumber, creamy spicy sauce and white sesame seeds

The classic California Roll sees Chicken take the place of Crab and a creamy spicy sauce replace avocado to create a similar balance of tastes and textures. This meat version of the California Roll utilises chicken for protein and sesame seeds for crunch. A great choice for those who are looking for a meat alternative to the seafood version.

Classic Sushi Rolls 

Seafood Option:

Salmon Sweet Spicy Roll

The ingredients: Salmon and spicy miso

A blissfully simple ingredients list is one of the things that make this traditional Sushi Roll stand out. The addition of a spicy miso to the fresh tuna in the recipe makes the filling of this roll both intense and interesting. If you are a lover of seafood Sushi dishes, then this is a must try. Why not add some spicy Togarachi Powder for an extra kick?  

Vegetarian Option:

Cucumber Yoghurt Roll

The ingredients: Cucumber, mint, yoghurt, chilli powder and Sushi rice

A great Vegetarian version of the traditional roll is the Cucumber Yoghurt Roll. The pairing of cucumber and yoghurt has long been used in cooking all over the world as seen in dishes such as the Indian Raita. Here we see it wrapped in Sushi rice and Seaweed then served with chilli powder for a touch of spice which is perfect alongside the cool cucumber and creamy yoghurt.

Vegan Option:

Sweet and Spicy Veggie Hijiki RollSweet and Spicy Veggie Hijiki Roll

The ingredients: Hijiki mix, avocado, cucumber, carrot, crispy onion and sweet chili sauce

Wrapped in a delicious Hijiki mix, this roll is not exactly the classic or traditional Roll and is in fact much more similar to a California Roll. The mix of tastes and textures though makes it a great Vegan option for those wanting a crunchy and full flavoured dish. Avocado provides good fats and the protein comes from the Hijiki mix while the familiar taste of cucumber and carrot serve as a great foundation – a favourite of those ordering Vegan Sushi in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Hummus and Cucumber Roll

The ingredients: Hummus, cucumber, coriander leaves and yuzu juice

One of the most simple lists of ingredients when it comes to traditional rolls, yet what Sushi Counter have accomplished with the Hummus and Cucumber Roll is nothing short of amazing. The Chickpea based Hummus serves as the source for protein as well as healthy fats, plus the Cucumber and coriander leaves for a full hit of flavour. The use of Yuzu juice in this recipe is truly inspired as the taste of this Japanese citrus fruit is powerfully subtle.

Black Veggie Roll

The ingredients: Avocado, carrots, cucumber and black rice mix

With a mix of black rice wrapped around the classic carrot, cucumber and avocado combination, it is no wonder that this roll has become a favourite amongst sushi lovers. Simple yet elegant and filling at the same time.

Meat Option:

Sushi Counter Chicken PokeChicken Poke

The ingredients: Rice, ginger, edamame, almond flakes, chicken, cucumber, carrot, black and white sesame seeds, avocado, tonkatsu sauce, white radish, palm hearts, tempura flakes and cherry tomato

Okay, so this meat option is not a Traditional Roll so to speak since the Chicken poke is more like a full flavoured salad in a bowl. It does however, borrow some of its flavour combinations from traditional rolls and hand rolls. The rice and chicken serve as the protein base and the carrot, cucumber and avocado remind almost of a California Roll. The entire dish is brimming with subtle spices and hints of herb.

Other Vegan or Vegetarian Sushi Options

Baby Eggplant Sushi Square

Baby Eggplant Sushi Square

The ingredients: Baby eggplant, donburi mix, blue flowers, basil and black and white sesame seeds One of the more decadent options for Vegan Sushi Abu Dhabi and Dubai restaurants are now serving are sushi squares. The Baby Eggplant Sushi Square is a particular favourite amongst Vegetarian and Vegan diners due to its complex taste and distinct lack of meat or seafood in the recipe.
Avocado Sushi from Sushi Counter

Avocado Sushi

The ingredients: Avocado and Sushi rice

This dish is as vegan as they come and is a great choice for any diner, not just those who cannot eat seafood or meat. Using the tried and tested composition of Sashimi but replacing the fresh fish with avocado atop a block of rice makes Avocado Sushi perfect for any diner and any meal.



Ordering your Favourite Sushi

Sushi Counter has managed to create Vegan or Vegetarian versions of your favourite Sushi dishes in many possible ways.  

Remember that the Vegan Sushi Dubai restaurants are becoming famous for is not just for those who do not eat meat. Vegan Sushi is a great option for when you are having a gathering of any type. When throwing parties or events you will no doubt have guests with all manner of dietary requirements. You can now even opt for vegan sushi catering in Dubai and Abu Dhabi so nobody will be left out and everyone is able to enjoy this amazing food.

So, if you are planning a Sushi feast, why not stop by Sushi Counter where you can enjoy our amazing menu. Or if you don’t feel like leaving home, why not order online and have it delivered to your door. If you want to enjoy some of the best Vegan Sushi Abu Dhabi and Dubai has to offer, then call us to enquire about our Vegan options today.

Sushi Dilemma: Seafood vs Meat vs Vegan

Sushi EvolutionWhen most people hear the word ‘Sushi’ they will no doubt imagine the classic fish or seafood based Japanese dish. This would not be a mistake as Sushi began life as a quick yet protein filled snack served up by street vendors in Edo Japan. The original dish being...