Brown rice has long been lauded as a healthier alternative to white rice. But it’s just never nearly as tasty — especially when it comes to sushi. And now we finally have the scientific proof to back up our taste buds.
According to Michelin-starred chefs, making an ideal sushi roll means balancing the taste and texture of every ingredient involved, from the rice and fish to the vegetable and sauces. NPR reports there are two chemical reasons that explain why brown ricesushi rolls are subpar in both the taste and texture categories.
Because it contains large amounts of fiber and other nutrients, brown rice tastes too earthy and ends up overpowering the delicate, nuanced flavors of sushi-grade fish like tuna and salmon.
In terms of texture, brown rice is lower in amylopectin starch than shorter-grain white rice, which means it remains much firmer even after it’s boiled. This is obviously not desirable.
“Brown and long-grain rice are a disaster for sushi,” Ole Mouritsen, a biophysicist at the University of Southern Denmark, told NPR. “If you’re using brown rice, the fish is gone and the brown rice is still chew, chew, chew.”
Meanwhile, many Americans continue to order brown rice rolls as a smarter diet option. However, others argue the only filling that can stand up the strong grain is tempura-fried shrimp doused in spicy mayo, thereby ruining any health benefits. The choice is yours, though it’s hard to pass up an excuse to go all-in on white rice—at least in this one instance.