Brazilian Hand Rolls

By Rob Packer

It almost goes without saying that sushi will be available wherever you go. Standards might vary (wildly), the preferred variety might be different (in Colombia, it seems to be mostly futomaki, for example), you might not want to eat it; but there it will be. With its large Japanese population (see this blog), Brazil is no exception, even though I think this probably has more to do with global trends in places like Florianópolis. And there are two things about sushi-eating here that seem particularly Brazilian: the rodízio and the temakeria.

The rodízio de sushi, or all-you-can-eat, is something I doubt I’ll be doing again. It conflicted with a certain bias of mine towards the paramount importance of the freshness of the ingredients—as I’ve mentioned before, seeing the staff pack the nigiri in the fridge is something that no-one should see. Added to that, different prices depending on whether you eat maki, nigiri or sashimi just seems plain wrong.

On the other hand, the temakeria is a lot more to my liking: these places serve mainly or entirely hand rolls, or temaki. In Hong Kong or the UK (I’ve never been to Japan), for example, temaki always seemed hard-to-come-by and relatively expensive: in Brazil, it’s a key part of the menu and is normally decent value for money. People have told me that in pre-temakeria days, sushi was too expensive for most people; a Brazilian temaki is just about meal-sized (so is far bigger than any I’ve ever seen in other countries) and available for about the price of a burger.

It’s not all that authentic, it’s certainly not gourmet and borders on fast food, but it’s definitely tasty.

 

The everything temaki.

The tuna one.

Well, yes, it is a bit like fast food.

Temax Temakeria, Germano Wendhausen #190, Florianópolis

Food: We had two temaki. The Max Temax was a bit overloaded with too many types of sashimi, as it included pieces of salmon, tuna, prawn, kani and octopus; the Atum especial, on the other hand, was pieces of tuna with cream cheese and a touch of tabasco. Neither included much rice at all, so were low on authenticity, but the food is good overall and I’ve been told that other places aren’t nearly as good.

Price: Where the temakeria wins is on price: each temaki cost R$14 (US$8, £5).

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