No Fishy Taste

Sakura serves spectacular plant-based sushi. Really!

Where’s the fish?

Most Americans hear sushi and think raw fish, but largely Buddhist Japan has always had a rich tradition of plant-based sushi. Some U.S. cities with big Japanese ex-pat communities, like San Francisco, even have stand-alone vegetarian sushi restaurants. Minnesota doesn’t have such an eatery, but if you dine where many native Japanese do, at Sakura in St. Paul, you’ll find a wealth of fascinating, artfully prepared vegetarian options.

Soybean Paper Roll

Top right: The pretty, pliant pink wrapper is made of soybeans. Vegetarian sushi uses rare seaweeds, unusual tofu preparations, and other exotic ingredients to provide depths of flavor.

Vegetarian Nigiri

From the top. left: marinated daikon sprouts; pickled burdock root; avocado; seasoned, preserved gourd; salted cucumber; and pickled daikon.

That’s not all

Lower right: Sakura offers a world of vegetarian options to pair with your plant-based sushi, like vegetarian tempura, gyoza, hot noodle soups, salads, and even vegetarian sukiyaki. Oh, and the fish-based sushi is great, too.  Sakura Restaurant, 350 St. Peter St., St. Paul 651-224-0185,