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A New Delivery Service Brings the Sushi Bake Trend From the Philippines to Austin

Baked Sushi ATX’s offerings are basically deconstructed sushi rolls

The half-and-half sushi bake tray from Baked Sushi ATX
The half-and-half sushi bake tray from Baked Sushi ATX
Baked Sushi ATX [Official]
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

There’s a new food delivery service focused on sushi bake — layered sushi casseroles — in Austin. Baked Sushi ATX is run by Rosselle and Mark Mercado. The couple is currently taking online orders for arranged pickups in the East Riverside area.

“It is a trend now in the Philippines,” Rosselle Mercado explains of sushi bakes, “and we wanted to bring something new here in Austin. We think that our baked sushi is unique and delicious. It brings a new twist to an old tradition of eating sushi.” Vice reports that this sushi style has become popular in the Southeast Asian country during the novel coronavirus pandemic, a la bread, where people started to make and sell their own sushi bakes during shelter-in-place orders.

Sushi bake is, again, basically a large deconstructed sushi roll that is baked in a pan. There are layers of sushi rice; a creamy topping made up of shredded crab, a sauce, and green onions; and then studded with roe and fried seaweed. People can either eat the baked sushi on its own (heated up or at room temperature), or they can scoop up the baked sushi with accompanying nori sheets.

“Our baked sushi is more interactive and fun to eat than the typical sushi roll,” says Mercado. “You just have to scoop, eat, wrap, repeat.”

Baked Sushi ATX’s sushi bake version, dubbed the Bake California Maki, adds mango, cucumber, and furikake. There’s also a spicy version with customizable spice levels available, plus an option that offers half of the spicy version and half of the original one. Each 8-by-5.5.-inch tray is $12 and the larger 8-by-8-inch tray is $20, and both come with nori sheets. There are plans to offer additional flavors as well.

The Mercados moved to Austin from the Philippines to join the Fairmont Hotel as part of its internship program three years ago, and then joined the staff, Mark as a cook and Rosselle as a pastry cook. They started Baked Sushi ATX in mid-August after she was laid off because of the pandemic. Mark recently left the hotel to join Chicago hospitality group Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises’s first Austin restaurant, the Mediterranean spot Aba, which is aiming to open this year on South Congress.

Currently, the Mercados work out of their home, and are strict about following novel coronavirus safety measures, from sanitization to wearing masks and gloves while cooking the food and delivering orders.

Since launching Baked Sushi ATX, sales have been “steady,” says Mercado, and they expect it to get busier with the approaching of the holiday season.

Sushi bake orders are placed online, with preset pickup days and times. The current pickup area is in the East Riverside area, but they will expand with designated locations to be found in north and south Austin, plus they’re working on offering free downtown deliveries.