You usually have to travel to a foreign country to encounter a new dish that captures your taste buds and imagination, but yesterday I stumbled upon a narrow little hole in the wall called Sunny Blue along Venice’s Main Street.
“First Omusubi Store in Southern California”, caught my attention, and at first glance I had no idea what type of food to expect, but the minimalist interior piqued my interest and reeled me in for a closer look.
A trio of customers huddled together at the only available counter seating, and were tucking into their Omusubi, which was a triangular rice ball the size of a plump burger, encased in a Nori (edible seaweed) shell.
These rice balls are stuffed with a choice of vegan, fish and meat fillings, and the menu selections are written in Japanese and English on wooden paddles hanging behind the counter.
I opted for the Kara Tuna Omusubi, which is albacore tuna with diced cucumber, onion and a spicy mayo sauce, and I watched as the chef made my selection to order.
Warm white Onigiri rice was flattened onto a plastic sheet in his cupped hand, then my Tuna Salad mixture was added and the rice was molded around it to form the Rice Ball shape.
It was like eating a Japanese version of a sandwich, and easy to eat as I wandered down the street to continue my window shopping. The mixture of warm rice and chilled filling, encased within a crispy and light Nori shell, was a more-ish combination of textures and flavors. I only ordered one, which was perfect for a grab-and-go snack, but next time I visit, I’m making a meal of it and ordering two!
Sunny Blue’s menu also include various side dishes like Edamame, Kimchee, Pickles, Salads and extra sauces – next time I’m ordering a side of the Godzilla Sauce, which is garlic, anchovy and red chili pepper sauce to dip your Rice Ball in. To finish your meal off, they offer vanilla, chocolate, plain tart or flavor of the month frozen yogurt with a overwhelming selection of toppings. The lady in front of me ordered their Sunny Blue Yogurt Special, which is the Plain Tart Yogurt with cornflakes, agave syrup and fresh fruit.
My first foray into Omusubi was delicious, and I’ll be coming back to Sunny Blue for a second taste. I did a little research to see how easy it would be to make these myself at home, and they don’t look too difficult, as long as you have the right rice to start with.
- Link to Just Hungry website for making basic Japanese rice
- Link to Just Hungry website for making Omusubi
[important]Information Block for Sunny Blue
2728 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-8pm, Fri-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-7pm