Cinco de Mayo Maki: A Foray into Jap-Mex?

Cali-Mex cuisine, the fusion of California "Healthy Eating" culture and Mexican food is one thing; Tex-Mex is another – but Jap-Mex?!?

Yep, what you see above is an uramaki known as a Cinco de Mayo Roll from Teriyaki Boy‘s Crazy Rolls menu. This is just one of a twelve-item roster of maki that blends elements of Western and other Asian cuisines with traditional Japanese maki-rolling to create a new set of tastes and textures that diners can enjoy.

This particular maki contains fresh red peppers, cream cheese, and cilantro. The roll is then rolled in goma-shio (salt with a mix of toasted black and white sesame seeds) before being sliced into managable portions. While this comes with a mayonnaise-based dip with a rather peppery tang to it, I prefer to dip the roll into the usual shoyu-wasabi combo.

The flavors are startling at first: the cool and flowery flavor of the pepper tempered by the faintly salty creaminess of the cheese which also pumps up the fresh and earthy flavor of the cilantro. The shoyu and wasabi, on the other hand, throw off the blandness of the rice (which, alas, is a tad too thick for comfort) and play up the nutty taste of the goma-shio.

While I don’t think I’ll have this again – the other items on the menu are quite intriguing, to say the very least – I have to give kudos to the people at Teriyaki Boy for having the guts to cook up something as unusual as this.