Friday, September 28, 2012

Kitchen Product Review: Plastic Sushi Mat

I love sushi. I do not love bamboo sushi mats.

Yes, there is something lovely about the color and feel of a bamboo mat, and they work so beautifully at making nice tight rolls. However, they just don't clean up very well. Of course, part of the problem is that my kids like to use seasoned laver (instead of sushi laver), which has oil on it. Naturally, some of that oil gets transferred to the mat. But I can't throw the mats in the dishwasher, and if I wash them by hand, they absorb dish soap until sushi eventually starts tasting like Palmolive.If I just give it a rinse and wipe, it starts to build up a nasty sticky residue, but I'm too lazy to put a piece of plastic wrap on them every time I pull out at mat.

Once, I was so disgusted with a sushi mat that I drowned it in boiling water to see if that would get it really clean. What a disaster! I think it must have had some kind of waxy coating because a filmy mess started floating to the top of my pot and... well, it was gross. So now that you have some history, you'll understand why I feel my latest find is so noteworthy.

This white one is available on Amazon.
I've also seen similar products in
other colors if you're looking for
something more fashion forward. :-)
A few weeks ago, I was shopping in a Vietnamese grocery store and found this plastic sushi mat (shown to the right). Reasonably priced at under $2, I figured it was worth trying out.

Pretty much what you see in the photo here is what you get. The entire sushi mat is made of plastic, which is both good and bad. The downside is that it's a little hard to roll up because the plastic is kind of stiff. Also, instead of being composed of round horizontal skewers like a bamboo mat, these horizontal pieces are flat. So from a tactile perspective, it's just not as nice for some reason.The completely awesome upside of it, though, is that I can toss it into the top rack of the dishwasher when I'm done. No mess. No fuss.

My final verdict? I'm not completely in love with this product. However, it is so easy to clean up that I think it's worth spending a little time squeezing and rolling the mat to see if I can make it more pliable. If you have an Asian grocery store near you (or if you feel like spending 5 bucks on Amazon), maybe you could try it and let me know what you think.


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