The evolution of vegetarian sushi stalled a long time ago. I love kappa maki, avocado rolls, inari, futomaki and tomago as much as the next vegetarian, but after years of eating these monotonous platters over and over, I’ve grown completely disenchanted. So whenever I come across ANY vegetarian sushi innovation, my attention is piqued.
During my college years, I found a beacon of hope. Scrawled on a sheet of paper and taped to the wall at Manpuku, the Tropical Roll stood out like a cosmic singularity. This clever roll, with crunchy tempura asparagus and fresh sliced mango, awoke me from my sushi coma. Adding fruit to sushi is pure genius—perhaps not entirely “authentic”—but then again, neither is spicy tuna!
Whenever I return to Berkeley, I insist on visiting Manpuku. To my delight the Tropical Roll is now a standard menu item, and like so many things in Berkeley, I hope it stays that way for a long, long time.
2977 College Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94705-2215