So, my BFF took me to this sushi place in Liberty Village and I had to blog about it. Why? Because they use purple rice aka “the forbidden rice” in their sushi! And it’s one of the really good sushi places around with an awesome price and most importantly – delicious, fresh and beautiful sushi. I can’t gush enough about this place! Let me show you what we ordered.
We both started with this. Perfect miso soup ($1.50) – hot and flavourful. Service was fantastic right off the bat.
I ordered the age dashi tofu as my starter ($4.95) and was pleasantly surprised. Perfectly crunchy on the outside but buttery soft on the inside. the broth wasn’t overpowering either. I’d say this is a pretty large portion, easily shareable between 2 people (these cubes are bigger than they appear in the photo.)
Mia got an avocado salad ($5.95) and it looked so pretty! The homemade dressing was a vinaigrette – I didn’t try it (I was occupied with my age dashi tofu), but since she’s been here before and she knew to get this right away, I’d say it was good.
We both ordered a special maki roll (ranging from $7.95 – $15.95). And in true BFF fashion, we order almost the exact same thing (unplanned) except one of us got the salmon and the other got the tuna. I wasn’t sure who got which, because we ended up eating both and sharing anyway.
A closer shot of the Mountain roll ($10.95) – you can see that they use purple rice at Koji – so good. The taste wasn’t that much different from white rice (since rice is bland in general) but the texture was very different. Think of it like a bigger, “stickier” version of brown rice – don’t worry, that’s a good thing! I loved it.
The purple rice is more visible in the Fire Fire ($15.95) – the most expensive of the special maki rolls and it was amazing. It wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be, but I eat a lot of spicy food so if you’re sensitive to spice, this might be enough for you.
A close-up of the Fire Fire – these rolls are HUGE! Koja uses so much of the fresh ingredients for these special maki rolls that very little rice is used, which we like. Healthy sushi at its yummiest.
Purple rice (source):
- It’s a black rice that comes out as purple when cooked
- Known as “forbidden rice” in ancient China because nobles kept every grain for themselves, due to its rarity and high nutritional value
- is now being hailed as a super food because of its unique health benefits
- black rice is gaining ground as a tasty and healthier alternative to brown rice
- Black rice has much higher levels of nutrients and amino acids than regular rice varieties
- In addition, this rice has minerals, iron, fiber, and a nutritional profile somewhat similar to brown rice.
- Moreover, it is especially rich in anthocyanins, which give black rice an edge over brown rice.
Overall, amazing experience. Koja is a very tiny space and we went just after lunch on a weekday so it wasn’t busy at all. It’s very well kept and it’s a very cute, authentic Japanese atmosphere. I actually can’t wait to go back to try more of the special maki rolls! Highly recommended and is already one of my favourite sushi spots around.
Would you ever try purple rice sushi? Or maybe you have before? Know any other sushi spots in the city where they use it? Share in the comments!