Vegans and vegetarians have their fair share of meatless selections (although not the tastiest): bland veggie patties in shapeless lumps, flourless cakes and muffins in various dehydrated states, crudites and too many baked beans. And no fish.
Luckily, Whole Foods' "faux fish" will give meatless-eaters a sushi alternative that will offer what "The Impossible Burger" did for vegetarians seeking a "bloodier and rarer" substitute for the usual veggie burger. Or what scientists did with lab-grown chickens.
The brains behind pseudo-tuna is the New York City-based company, Ocean Hugger Foods. Pictured below is the company's faux tuna, called Ahimi. It looks like the real deal and comes very close to the slightly fatty "umaminess" of tuna -- only it's made with raw tomatoes.
CEO David Benzaquen will not reveal the company's process (it is assured under "intellectual property"), but Eater reports that the tomatoes are rid of their grassy tartness, then combined with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil and water. The resulting mash is a passable tuna sashimi made perfect for meatless dieters, eco-conscious consumers and sushi eaters worried about mercury poisoning.
James Corwell, certified master chef and partner in Ocean Hugger Foods, claims Ahimi does taste a lot like sushi when paired with nori and sushi rice but lacks tuna's distinct umami flavor. The flavor and overall texture are otherwise similar and a healthier alternative to raw tuna found to contain some fat, mercury, PCBs and toxins.
Ahimi is already being served and eaten, as we speak, in the cafeterias of Google, Twitter, VMware, SAP and LinkedIn. According to Eater, Ocean Hugger Foods raised $600,000 in investments so far and is expected to expand into Whole Foods.
In partnership with Whole Foods, faux tuna will be sold as nigiri and roll combos for $11.99 and as California rolls for $8.99. Soon to follow, poke Ahimi and more faux fish dishes.
Ocean Hugger Foods is focused on reducing the effects of overfishing and has additional faux fish alternatives in the works -- an eggplant-based unagi and carrot-based salmon called "unamiTM" and "sakimiTM," respectively.