On my first trip to Australia, I expected to have lots of new culinary experiences, but to be honest, I expected them to be along the lines of kangaroo sausage and lamingtons. I certainly didn’t expect to come all the way from Japan and discover a new kind of sushi roll, but in the food court of the Cairns airport, there they were: black rice sushi rolls.

Black rice, for those of you who might not have encountered it yet, is a term used to refer to a range of heirloom rice species with a black hull. The hull is high in fiber, iron and antioxidants and the black color fades to a beautiful dark purple when cooked, making it a healthy and colorful ingredient. It’s hard to come by and expensive, but is currently enjoying a faddish popularity.


Image: Wikipedia

Anyway, as I was waiting for a flight, I decided to grab a bite at the food court. It had been almost three weeks since I left Japan and I was craving a little taste of home, so I decided to check out Aussie chain Hero Sushi.

▼ Or should that be Hiro Sushi?


Right away, the black sushi rolls jump out at you. It’s hard not to notice that deep purple when you are expecting white.


Most of the rolls were available in both black and white rice, stuffed with common westernized combinations like avocado and tuna. I went for the black rice crab roll and I also got a white rice version to compare. And a salmon roll because I was hungry. Don’t judge.


I was immediately smitten with the soy sauce container. It was shaped like a fish. Clearly, I am easily entertained.

▼ Look! It’s a small plastic version of a real life thing! Wow!


Anyway, now for the moment of truth. First I tried the white rice version to get a baseline. Then I tried the black rice version.


It was… about the same. Maybe a little bit sweeter. There was a perhaps a hint of beet flavor, though given the color and how recently I’d encountered the shocking aberration of beet(root) on a hamburgerwhy, Australia, why!?maybe my brain was playing tricks on me.

Of course, it also looks like Hero Sushi is using a blend of white and black rice, so perhaps it’s not surprising the difference would be subtle. Still, it was just a good as the regular version, and supposedly healthier, so I guess that justifies the higher price tag.

If you aren’t in the mood for something healthy, Hero Sushi also has this surprising variation.


Silly, Hero Sushi. What’s next, kangaroo rolls?

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