Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Fusia Frozen California Rolls - Aldi

Fusia Frozen California Rolls - Aldi
I was both intrigued and slightly horrified by this product when I saw it in Aldi's circular last week. A few people tried to talk me out of it after I posted it on Instagram, but I decided to go ahead and do it anyway. ('Cause I'm such a rebel.) That's right, I'm about to review frozen sushi from a low-budget grocery store. Fingers crossed that this goes well and I don't get food poisoning!

So, I freaking love Aldi, and I love sushi, but I'm still not sure about this one. I mean...it's frozen sushi. From a grocery store. None of those things sound like a good idea, and yet, here I am!


The packaging is very minimal for this product, which I really like. We have a cardboard box that's held together with folded tabs, not glue, and inside that is a vacuum sealed plastic bag. Both the cardboard and the plastic are recyclable, which is awesome, so (other than the wasabi and soy sauce packets inside) there's no waste. As for the design, it's pretty rough.

Aldi's Fusia product line always looks cheap...and a little racist-y. It's kind of like Aldi is going through that bad middle school anime-phase. They like Asian food and culture, but don't fully understand it, so the logo and imagery always feels really out of touch. For the most part, the design is very European looking, it just has Asian imagery and symbols slapped onto it. As much as I pick on it, I love the bright wasabi-green color of the box, and the food imagery is probably as appetizing as frozen sushi could ever possibly be. So it's not terrible. Just a little flat and disjointed.

So, how does one thaw this sushi? Well, we have three options, and I honestly found the first suggestion to be absolutely horrifying.


Microwave + Sushi = NOPE. They actually suggest microwaving sushi. I..I get it, it's frozen, but I just can't do it. Even though California rolls are totally not traditional sushi, microwaving this just feels so...wrong. So nope, not doing that method.

Next up, room temperature. Now they don't specify if you leave it literally out on your counter to thaw, or inside your fridge. Whenever I thaw frozen meats I take it out the night before and pop it into my fridge so it's chilled, but thawed when I get home from work to cook it. So I would assume fridge, but is that wrong? I feel like sitting a seafood product on my counter for 2 hours to thaw and eat is...risky. Firstly, I have cats, and if any of you have cats, no counter anywhere is safe regardless of the food being covered or not. Secondly, it's summer. I don't like the idea of letting seafood sit in my kitchen even with the AC on. It just sounds like a one way ticket to food poisoning city. So I'm iffy about this one.

Lastly, place the bag in a bowl of water and let thaw. Okay, not horrible, but where am I going to safely have a big ol' bowl of water. I have the same cat-based counter dilemma.

After a few minutes I decided to go with the second method of letting the product thaw for 2 hours. I opened the bag, removed the sushi, arranged it on a plate, covered it with another plate, and put it inside my microwave, but didn't turn it on. (I tend to use my microwave as a way to protect food from my cats, so if I'm having chicken or something for dinner, after I make my plate, that chicken has to get hidden in the microwave or the oven to be cat-safe.)


Two hours later, some of the sushi was still frozen, but there were enough thawed pieces to plate up and review.

You know what? With my snazzy little plate and my pile of wasabi, this looks pretty good. The veggies look a little oxidized, but still, not the ugliest sushi I've ever seen. (That honor goes to my college cafeteria that served sushi/food-poisoning-bombs sometime around 2009.)


I'm right handed, and I need my dominant hand to operate the camera, so I grabbed my chopsticks awkwardly in my left hand, picked up a piece, and gave it a try as-is.


Surprisingly, this is not the worst sushi I have ever had. It's definitely not great, but it's pretty okay, and far better than what I expected.

I know I picked on Aldi earlier for their "bad middle school anime-fan-like packaging," but that was a phase I definitely went through myself. (Don't worry Aldi, you'll grow out of it.) When I was a young (and horribly obnoxious) anime fan, I used to eat sushi and drink ramune whenever I saw it, because I loved the idea of it so much. So I've had my fair share of cheap grocery store sushi, and you know what? This is better.

The overall flavoring is very sweet, way sweeter than sushi you would get at an actual restaurant, and I think a lot of that is coming from the crab and artificial crab in the center. Whatever they do to that Alaskan Pollock to try and make it taste like crab must involve a lot of sugar. So this tastes sweet, but it's really not that bad. The texture of the rice and sesame seeds are far better than I ever expected, and this is no where near as bad as the Trader Joe's California rolls. (That's right, I'm calling out out Trader Joe's, your sushi is bad, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.)
So my final verdict is that this was better than I expected, but I don't know if this is something I would really recommend. You get 15 pieces of sushi for about $5.00, which is pretty awesome as far as pricing, but it's slightly above grocery store quality. If you buy it and appreciate it for what it is, it's a good product. It's filling, enjoyable, and it comes with wasabi and soy sauce ready to go. I think younger consumers who might not have the ability to go to sushi restaurants on their own would appreciate having this option, but sushi snobs will undoubtedly hate it.

Now just to make sure I didn't get food poisoning, I ate this a day or two ago, and only now am I writing the review, and I am BEYOND happy to report, I didn't get sick! (Horray!) There were two different flavors in the freezer section, this California roll, and a shrimp-based roll. I bought both to review, but I thought this would be less potentially food-poison-y than the shrimp variety, so now that this one has proven itself to be safe, I'll move on to the next flavor.
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16 comments:

  1. I know everyone has his/her own perspective on food safety and risk, but it seems like there's a common misconception that sushi = raw fish. Shellfish, including shrimp and crab, are cooked before being used in sushi rolls, at least in the U.S. So while all fish is fairly perishible, the fish in these rolls is by default cooked - probably why they offer crab and shrimp.
    I do ❤️ Sushi, cooked and raw! Thanks for the review of an interesting product!

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    1. I'm glad you liked the review! Also, thank you for the interesting food safety info! (I wish I could add a little The More You Know... rainbow image here in the comments. I'll have to settle for this 🌈)

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  2. I'm glad to hear it's good. I thought it'd be the same as TJ's since Aldi owns it.

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  3. Years ago, I bought some dome-shaped hard metal mesh things sold for picnic use. One of them fits over a dinner plate, another one over smaller plates. Perfect for protecting food against bugs and kitty paws. I've seen softer little tents sold for picnics, but the heavy metal ones are much better as anti-cat guards. Mine wouldn't be stopped by the soft ones. One flick of the paw and off it would go. Not sure if seafood would encourage more experimenting, though.

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    1. Tents are great if the only concern is bugs, but if you're worried about cats like you said, it's just a paw-swipe away from a feeding frenzy. Those domes sound like a good idea. You need something heavy and solid to keep their little paws off your food.

      (I'm sure chicken or seafood would be especially tempting for my furry little darlings, but one of my three eats mangoes, the other likes tomato sauce, pretty much no food item is safe. Once they even worked in cahoots with the dog to gte chicken bones out of the trash. They're crafty little things.)

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  4. I can tell you that the fusia shrimp and avocado rolls were actually pretty good. As you pointed out, this is not on par with even a moderately good sushi bar, but it is a vast improvement over some of the prepackaged sushi being sold at places like Publix. And I did, (I know, horrors) Use the microwave to thaw them. I put the whole package on a plate, MW'd for 30 seconds, flipped them, and did it again, then left them in the MW for anther 10 minutes or so while I got a drink and salad put together. They still had that slight sharp chill from being frozen, but the avocado held up to be nicely green, the shrimp mix was actually really tasty, and except for one or two grains of rice that got a bit dried out ( and I really do mean a very few, probably loose from the flipping) it was completely enjoyable. I think it would be a great thing to take to work for lunch, and definitely more reasonably priced than grocery store sushi.

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    1. I think you were smart to do the microwave method for the avocado rolls. I did the same 2-hour thaw method for those as I did with these California rolls and my avocado oxidized. Which was oh-so appealing. Plus, the 2-hour thaw method left my rice really glue-like in consistency this time around. I think a bit of drying from the microwave method would have made them a lot better.

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  5. I just tried some last night, and I loved it. Much better than the HyVee sushi. I'm thawing out the rest of them for a treat tonight, and will go buy more before they run out!

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  6. I've bought this several times - I like it - true it's not great restaurant quality - but for the price it's pretty good. I've let it thaw on the kitchen counter - covered with a paper towel - (no cats to worry about) going to cover with plastic wrap next time as the paper towel sticks to the rice. I don't use the soy sauce in the package as I prefer low-sodium soy sauce so that's what I use. I seem to find it in the "center" freezer section, so I am wondering if it is an item that they may be discontinuing - sometimes it there and sometimes it not. I do like Aldis - there are many items that I purchase there and compared to other stores their prices are great and many of their brands are as good as the major brands at a better price...

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  7. Your review and comments are retarded!
    The Aldi California and avacado shrimp roll are both great! $5 for 15 pieces is a great deal and if you actually use a microwave instead of being a crybaby about it then you will see it's the best way to thaw the meal! You are such a whiny baby it's unreal ppl listen to you!

    You put all the pieces on a plate, microwave for 1:30 then flip them and go another 1:30... That's it, no oxidation or time wasted! It tastes amazing and this is a proper review NOT this moron OP!

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    1. We're all entitled to an opinion and this was mine. I personally felt like the California roll was much better and have since repurchased that flavor on three separate occasions.

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  8. Recently tried both shrimp and crab sushi from Aldi. Very good! Prefer the shrimp, both excellent. Don't approach with preconceptions!

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  9. Spicy crab was delicious. I bought a box at my local aldi and went back but they were sold out. My husband found some at and aldi across town and bought the remaining 5 boxes. I microwave 4 or 5 at 30 sec intervals. No issues. Ill continue to buy this rather than spend 10 dollars on san antonio roll from HEB

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  10. I bought the shrimp avocado and brought it to work and let it thaw on my desk in the container....it was soft cold and almost perfect for "decent" sushi...Don't hesitate to purchase if you are really craving sushi without the $$$$$$$...

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  11. Sitting here eating some of the shrimp variety right now. I'm not a sushi guru or anything close to it but these are quite acceptable. Tasted a bit better than the sushi that my local "pretty good" Chinese restaurant has on it's buffet. For the money these are okay!

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  12. This is way better than the food they sell in the machines at work! Talk about food poisoning eating to happen.
    It's good stuff for the price, and perfect to take in as lunch. My kids take it to school in an insulated container(don't use a good one unless you thaw first, learned that the hard way😃)

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