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Grub Spy Alan Kelly dishes the goods on Ireland’s tastiest dining destinations

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The delicious burritos from Sumaki.

The delicious burritos from Sumaki.

The delicious dishes from Sumaki.

The delicious dishes from Sumaki.

The delicious dishes from Sumaki.

The delicious dishes from Sumaki.

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The delicious burritos from Sumaki.

Regardless of any grand claims made by creators and purveyors of fusion food, it’s very often a hit-or-miss affair with diners. Sometimes it’s hard to see the taste benefits of raiding the global larder and mixing it all up.

SUMAKI
36 Parliament Street, Dublin 2
4.5 Stars
Food €9.95; Drinks €1.60

Blending Asian traditions can and do work, and the mingling of Mediterranean traditions can also be fun. And for me that is what makes the difference – the ‘fun’ element. I mean think of what we do with burgers, sandwiches, pasta and pizza toppings. And provided you’re not too much of a purist, adding fun to a dish is so often the best ingredient. I remember having Korean tacos in London once and they were great craic – it was like they were meant to happen.

But what about Mexican Japanese? If you asked me last week to imagine a Mexican-Japanese-fusion dish I might have said its what would happen if Speedy Gonzales and Godzilla spent a night of passion together. And for readers too young to remember, Speedy Gonzales was a cartoon mouse.

All that brings me to Sumaki burrito counter on Parliament Street. Imagine a green norimaki before being sliced into those heavenly little sushi bites. Now imagine a giant green unsliced norimaki the size of a burrito – and that’s what these guys are getting up to.

Like any burrito counter, you decide what you want – a Poké Bowl, a Salad Bowl, or a Sushi Burrito (go sushi, you won’t regret it)

Next up is your protein: salmon, beef, grilled chicken (my choice) tempura shrimp, boiled shrimp or tofu. Veg then: I have purple spuds, jalapeño and spinach. Kimchi and diced mango is my toppings, and some garlic crisps for the ‘crunchie’ effect. Finally there’s the sauce: I decide on the fiery sounding wasabi mayo.

Fully tooled-up with my hybrid Burrito I head out back to Sumaki’s tiny eating space.

Me, I’ve always loved sushi. I could spend all day grazing at a sushi conveyor belt. Besides being healthy it’s also a great way to soak-up a night’s drinking. And along come’s this fusion jobbie. I have to say the flavour combinations are unabashed in-yur-face gorgeous. There’s that proper vinegary wallop from the sushi rice, a hint of the sea with the crispy nori, and the jalapeño-kimchi-wasabi-mayo combo providing a wonderful chili kick: all agreeably evened-out by the sweet mango. It’s almost impossible to resist. A word of warning though – nori is not as secure as corn tortillas, so handle with care or risk a severe (but delicious) leakage problem. Also, if I’m being honest, in future I would omit the purple spuds – really doesn’t get along with the rice.

Still, I could eat a ton of the rest. It’s like the ultimate fusion snack. Who knew that spicing-up and bigging-up a norimaki could result in such a winner. I went from a doubting Thomas to being bowled-over by this scene-stealer of a dish. Fans of Japanese-y fusion food will be titillated by the very idea of a sushi burrito – as will old-school fans of rudimentary Tex-Mex burritos. For me, burritos were always a culinary game of chance. This crossover is the perfect fusion compromise.

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