Move over, cold plates — Labrador sushi is booming – Newfoundland & Labrador

Stacked beside the usual cold plates and sub sandwiches on shelves at Woodward’s Gas Station in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, there are clear plastic containers of a new option: sushi.

When it’s not sold out, that is.

Doris Patey, owner of Gem Catering, is the creator of what she’s been marketing as “Labrador sushi.” The dish has the usual sticky rice and seaweed, but what gives it a local twist is the main ingredient: Labrador smoked char.

Doris Patey says her lunch packages of Labrador sushi are flying off the shelves. (Caroline Hillier/CBC)

“Of course it’s got the Labrador twist. It’s gotta have the Labrador twist,” said Patey. 

“It’s a wet smoke, so it’s almost like still the raw fish, but it’s got the smoked flavour to it.”

Something different

Patey sells meals and snacks at the gas station and — in an attempt to serve something unique — came up with sushi. 

‘I thought, what’s something different I can do?” she said.

After watching YouTube tutorials, she learned the basics of how to prepare and roll sushi and used her son as a taste tester. She perfected the recipe by adding char, which Patey says is smoked and packaged in Nain. 

Asked if char is commonly used in sushi, Patey said, “Never heard tell of it until I started it. I think it’s something I came up with.”

Sold out sushi 

Labrador sushi has quickly become Patey’s bestselling lunch option. Customers often prepay for the sushi to reserve it, she said.

She’s been approached to make larger quantities for events around town, but says because it’s so time-consuming to make, she’s only focused on the lunch-sized packages — which have been flying off she shelves, she says.

Patey wanted something different to offer lunch customers, so she settled on sushi with a Labrador twist. Just don’t ask her to try it — as popular as it is with customers, she doesn’t like it herself. (Caroline Hillier/CBC)

“Everyone is loving it,” she said. Everyone except Patey herself.  “Me myself, I don’t like it … It’s not my thing.” 

Not a fan of the texture and taste of seaweed, Patey doesn’t eat the sushi, but is happy others in town are enjoying it. 

Next on the menu

Always thinking of what tasty food she can prepare next, Patey is already thinking up her next new meal option, but it’s a little more local. 

“We’re thinking we’re going to be trying baked beans and toutons,” she said. “That’s the next adventure.”

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