Sushi burritos and sushi donuts have already laid their claim to fame as new forms for the classic Japanese item. Whole Foods is now expanding on that success and testing their own version of a popular Japanese item: sushi sandwiches.
Known as onigirazu in Japan, these on-the-go meals feature your typical sushi ingredients wrapped up in seaweed and presented like a sandwich. They've been gaining popularity on Instagram as of late for the visual contrast of the sushi ingredients and the rice. Whole Foods appears to be capitalizing on that for this brand new product.
The sushi sandwiches are being produced by Genji, a sushi manufacturer that operates in over 200 Whole Foods stores. The items have been around since about early January, and The Washingtonian reports that the Logan Circle, Pentagon City, Rockville, and Vienna stores in Washington, D.C. are currently carrying the onigirazu.
Whole Foods is currently pre-making and packaging the sushi sandwiches ahead of time, making it easy for a grab-and-go option. It does lose on some textural contrasts and desires since it is pre-made (the rice can apparently be quite dense, for example). Thus, while it's a novel convenience option right now for Whole Foods, I wouldn't mind seeing this as a dope made-to-order option, right next to the teriyaki bowls you can get built fresh in multiple stores.
Genji Sushi has confirmed to Foodbeast that the onigirazu are testing in Philadelphia, DC, and Virginia. A 4-piece sushi sandwich featuring spicy tuna, however, just launched nationwide last week. Any Whole Foods where Genji Sushi operates is now carrying that item.