It may seem that a water-to-wine level miracle would need to occur to transform a sweet, crunchy, crisp watermelon piece into a tender, steak-like strip of tuna. However, the process is actually quite simple given these star ingredients’ properties. Of all the common sushi proteins, tuna is one of the mildest. Its non-fishy flavor makes it appealing to even the pickiest raw fish tasters, and the perfect vessel for the umami and spicy flavorings we know and love. This might be why tuna rolls are among the top 10 most popular sushi in the United States as of 2023.
In the same vein, watermelon has a sweet, mild flavor perfect for pairing with contrasting flavors, like a salty soy sauce or spicy wasabi. When cooked, its juiciness stays intact, but its texture goes from crisp to chewy, closely emulating the mouthfeel of a fresh tuna sashimi slice. And, of course, watermelon’s signature red hue makes it visually indistinguishable from a typical piece of tuna.