Umeboshi (plum) with shiso
Season: All year
The other beauty on my two-roll maki mount rushmore, Ume-maki subverts expectations from start to finish. First, it may seem simple – pickled plum with shiso leaf – but it takes skill to prep the skin of the umeboshi plum (which becomes bai-naku). Once served as maki – alongside wasabi, shiso and sesame – your first bite will likely be bitter. It’s a complete left-turn from the pleasant, umami-filled taste of virtually everything else on most menus. Stick with it, even if you can’t see the plum (that’s normal, a small amount packs a big punch).