Sushi bake for Noche Buena

Published December 20, 2020, 6:00 PM

by Jules Vivas

It’s something fun to consider adding to your Christmas feast

SIMPLY DELICIOUS The Truffle Salmon-Kani Aburi

A balanced diet is a sushi roll in each hand. The year saw that Filipinos would not only hold a roll in each hand, but a full tray as sushi bakes entered the picture. The food trend is just as strong as ever after almost a year has passed since the new sushi goodness surfaced amid the pandemic. Some people even consider the quarantine period in the Philippines also as sushi bake season.

To date, the baked casserole version of the good old maki has had several varieties and takes from so many online shops offering this food craze. Entrepreneurs have become more creative with their reinvention of the deconstructed Japanese cuisine. Take Leiana and her sister Debbie Go with their brand Sushi Lab PH.

LAB SISTERS Brand co-owners Debbie and Leiana Go

“Sushi Lab PH was an unexpected discovery during the quarantine period,” says Leiana. When the global lockdown started, the siblings would recreate recipes from TikTok and other social media platforms to pass the time. The kitchen became their laboratory, an avenue to experiment on different flavors from sweet to savory, and they became mad sushi scientists. “When the sushi bake went viral, we tried making one on our own. It turned out to be so good that we decided to share it with others!”

To keep up with the pioneers of the sushi bake trade, the business partners decided to put a twist on the hype by innovating based on uniqueness and on the taste preference of other people. Thus the experimentations began.

“Sushi Lab PH has challenged my creativity. Every product is built from scratch. Product planning to ads, trial-and-errors, failures and successes, it’s all part of it. Sushi bake is an open pan (book) where I can let my creativity put to work and share it with the people,” Debbie intimates.

Beyond commerce, the sisters want to share their craft to more people while being sustainable. “At Sushi Lab PH, we create sushi bake that is inspired by Japanese tradition but revolutionized for modern tastes. Attracting families and young professionals, we are known for making fresh, flavorful yet affordable food,” explains Leiana. “If we can be described in one word it would be ‘fresh,’ because we only serve our dishes on the day we make them. We only use the finest ingredients from trusted suppliers.”

WHAT’S IN THE LAB Items offered by the online shop this Christmas season

True enough, food items from Sushi Lab PH are fresh from the oven. I had the chance to partake of the Christmas Bundle, a special treat to their beloved Sushi Labbers—yes, that’s what they call their patrons.“With the scare of the pandemic, we want you to have a hassle-free gift-giving idea this Christmas,” the De La Salle University student says. Each bundle is wrapped in a minimalist box, enveloped in a sleek, black sleeve with a tag. Inside is a family tray, whose flavor is chosen by the customer, together with two refreshing beverages from Ersao, which has partnered with Sushi Lab PH this season. The flavors available are Premium California, Truffle Salmon-kani, Combi, and Supreme Steak Bake.

For the Christmas Bundle, I had the Combi, which married the Premium California and Truffle Salmon-Kani Aburi flavors into one pan. The first thing I noticed was that they did not skimp on ingredients. The tray was packed with bonito flakes, crabstick strips, truffle, and salmon chunks topped on the Japanese rice. Because it was a combination of two flavors, a lot was happening with this dish. And while there was a generous amount of seafood, cream, and seasonings, the taste was clean and subtle.

Other variants are the Premium California, a harmony of sweet and savory filling with the right amount of crunch. The crowd favorite, Truffle Salmon-Kani Aburi, promises to give those who try it a one-of-a-kind mouth-watering experience with its extraordinary creaminess, contrasted by the smokiness of the torched salmon chunks. Last, but definitely not the least, is the chef’s special, the Supreme Steak. It is imported butter-aged ribeye steak in a sushi casserole, best enjoyed with El Papi Chili Garlic that comes with every order.

Each bundle is wrapped in a minimalist box, enveloped in a sleek, black sleeve with a tag. Inside is a family tray, whose flavor is chosen by the customer, together with two refreshing beverages from Ersao, which has partnered with Sushi Lab PH this season.

This festive season, Sushi Lab PH has a 12.12 to 12.25 promo fitted for customers ordering in bulk. Perfect for Noche Buena, the promo gets purchasing a family tray or every order of two sharing trays free gift packaging, which includes a sleeve and a holiday card. Meanwhile, every Christmas Bundle comes with an extra free Ersao refreshment. For five family trays, there will be a free sharing tray, while five sharing trays will get you five additional nori packs.

Leiana also wants to give back to the community and help those who are in need in her own way. After typhoon Ulysses struck the country, the young entrepreneur donated a portion of their sales to Animal Kingdom foundation and De La Salle University (DLSU) Bangon Ahon, in a fundraising event called Lab for a Cause. As for her current charity drive, she tells us, “With the Christmas spirit upon us, for every order of the Christmas Bundle, ₱50 will be given to the orphans and elders at Hospicio de San Jose.”

Order through Sushi Lab PH’s Facebook or Instagram account or call 0917 301 5457. Same-day deliveries are accepted, but it’s best to order a day ahead of time to ensure slots.