Austin's How Do You Roll? is no stranger to grabbing attention, whether it's with a unique take on making quality sushi available with fast, casual service or by impressing billionaires on ABC’s Shark Tank. Now the local sushi franchise is showing that it isn't afraid to make your skin crawl with unorthodox ingredients.
How Do You Roll?'s co-founder and executive chef Peter Yung has created a sushi roll using bugs as the main ingredient. The "Spicy Insectopia Roll" was recently featured in a video series for the health magazine, Prevention.
In this roll, crickets and mealworms are the key ingredients. Yung marinates the crickets in a sauce blend that includes sesame chili oil and teriyaki, rolling them up with cucumber and jalapenos. And, since many customers crave extra crunch, Yung tops off the roll with cooked mealworms and tempura flakes for added texture.
The Prevention video notes that insects are a great source for protein and omega-3 fatty acids. They also require much less water, land and feed to cultivate, compared to cattle.
Insects for the roll were provided by World Ento, a local company that aims to make Austin the hub of entomophagy, or "insect eating," in the United States. Sustainability is the key for World Ento's founder Harman Johar.
"We focus on supplying the U.S. with edible insect ingredients that are safe and sustainable. You don't have to go through shady, overseas dealers. Everything is made right here in Austin," Johar says. "And insects are much more efficient that cattle. For example, for every 10 pounds of feed you get one pound of meat from cows, compared to around seven pounds of meat from insects for the same amount of feed."
While customers aren’t able to walk into any How Do You Roll? and expect to order a Spicy Insectopia Roll at this time, Johar has collaborated with the company on other unique rolls and will continue to do so.
"It's very possible we may try a special scorpion sushi for Halloween at How Do You Roll?," says Johar. "That's the great thing about Austin: everyone is willing to try something new."