Attention Pregnant Women: You CAN Eat Sushi

Categories: News

Happy Roll Redfish.jpg
Photos courtesy of Carl Rosa
Enjoy a Happy Roll from Redfish Seafood Grill.
As we all know, pregnant women typically abstain from certain foods throughout their pregnancy -- specifically, foods which could harm a growing fetus. Many types of fish, for example, have high levels of mercury -- which can cause a liver infection in a pregnant woman -- while others foods, such as soft cheeses, have long been on the "avoid" list but are actually quite safe.

Pregnant women are especially advised not to consume raw fish, due to the parasites that are naturally present in the fish and that could potentially cause a parasitic infection.

Carl Rosa, president of the Sushi Club of Houston, was recently asked by a pregnant woman if she could still eat sushi despite her doctor's warnings. The answer is yes, and Rosa helped the woman create a list of sushi items she could eat -- because none of them contain raw fish.

For all of the pregnant women who love sushi, here is Rosa's list of sushi items you can eat while pregnant:

Kata Shitake Mushroom Nigiri.jpg
Shiitake mushroom nigiri from Kata Robata is a perfect choice for expecting moms.
"When considering sushi, would-be moms merely need to avoid raw fish or seafood to avoid the rare and regrettable grasp of most food-borne parasites," Rosa said. "And although raw fish is considered a hallmark of sushi, there are dozens of delicious options available for pregnant sushi lovers."

Whenever you visit a sushi restaurant, simply ask your sushi chef or the manager to give you a list of cooked sushi options. You can still consume nigiri, vegetable rolls and fusion rolls.

"In fact, three of the most traditional forms of sushi are actually cooked: unagi (freshwater eel), anago (saltwater eel) and tamago (sweetened, cooked egg)," Rosa said.

If you enjoy nigiri such as these, Rosa suggests trying shiitake nigiri or boiled king crab leg nigiri. Avocado rolls and cucumber rolls are excellent vegetable-only sushi rolls, while caterpillar rolls, spider rolls and California rolls are also wonderful fusion roll choices. Rosa advises, however, to always ask your sushi chef or restaurant manager, as they will know the food best and will be able to provide safe sushi choices.

Rosa worked with Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill, Kata Robata, Zushi and Redfish Seafood Grill to create a list of rolls and other sushi options pregnant women can consume. As a result, each of these restaurants has special rolls and sushi that are safe recommendations for pregnant women.

Zushi Jack William Roll.jpg
Zushi offers the Jack William Roll.
Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill

Try the Kubo's Roll (fried shrimp and spicy mayo) or the Alaskan King Crab Roll with king crab, asparagus and avocado. But remember to ask your chef to make both of these without tobiko, which are fish eggs.

Kata Robata

Kata Robata offers the Longhorn Roll with fried shrimp, freshwater eel, avocado, spicy mayo and a sweetened unagi sauce. Remember to ask your sushi chef to not include those fish eggs.

Zushi

Order the Jack William Roll at Zushi for a safe sushi roll filled with tempura vegetables, avocado and snow crab. It's topped with peppered rib eye, leeks and a citrus soy sauce.

Redfish Seafood Grill

For a pregnancy-safe roll, try the Happy Roll, which includes tempura shrimp, masago, jalapeño, cream cheese, mayo and an avocado, kani and seaweed salad topping. Again, ask for the chef to remove the masago.



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Location Info

Kubo's Sushi Bar & Grill

2414 University Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Zushi Japanese Cuisine - CLOSED

5900 Memorial, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Zushi Japanese Cuisine - CLOSED

5900 Memorial, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Redfish Seafood Grill

19550 State Highway 249, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
27 comments
therese29
therese29

great post! I like that you cited safe restaurants to go to since that is a huge part of the safety in eating sushi---a reputable place that can prepare it safely. 


I still see a lot of women out there who are wary of eating sushi and i'm glad your article helps dispell the common myth. Here's some more myths about pregnancy that also turns out to be false

LosNix
LosNix

Good article, if nothing else for the sake of reminding people that sushi isn't "just raw fish". So much of what's mainstream sushi is cooked rolls with crab (real and imitation) and shrimp, so I wouldn't even hesitate to pass this article along.

TL;DR: +1 for breaking food myth and fear.

Aplatanada
Aplatanada

This is all assuming that the sushi with cooked ingredients is prepared on different surfaces than the sushi with raw ingredients. 

omitanaka
omitanaka

This is a helpful story.  My wife and I are often asked about this myth.  Women in Japan eat sushi all the time when having a baby.  Women do not have to deprive themselves when pregnant.

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

Excellent - An article that educates and provides local options.  Thank you Houston Press!  Well written too. 

vonEggers
vonEggers

My wife is pregnant and a sushi lover. Recent rave included the Portabello roll from Michiru.

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

Who is my wife going to listen to, her Doctor or a "president" of a local food club, let me think, mmmmmmmmm......

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

I'm certainly not qualified to estimate our tolerance to parasites within raw fish, but I am assuming that if a pregnant woman would contract any illness merely because the same cutting board was used, then she would likely have the same susceptibility to leukemia by walking outside and taking a big whiff of air.  Give our immune systems a little credit for keeping us alive 24/7.  Also, I can only imagine how sick you'd assume we would get if you looked inside most restaurant kitchens from time to time.  Just saying.

skiibumsnowmass
skiibumsnowmass

@Aplatanada Lighten up a little, Francis. Humans are fairly evolved organisms. We used eat all our food uncooked, before inventing fire and jerky.

Glenda88
Glenda88

@vonEggers Best thing I've had at Michiru are the Kumamoto oysters, but I'm guessing raw oysters don't make the list, right?

DominicWalsh
DominicWalsh

Yeah, I don't think you read the article at all.  The sushi club president wasn't going against standard medical/physical concerns.  In fact, he was supporting them but providing sensible alternatives.  Maybe you need to read the article again.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

@texmex01 She's not contradicting doctor's advice, just offering suggestions that fall within those guidelines.

Aplatanada
Aplatanada

@DominicWalsh I would be surprised if City of Houston food codes don't require raw meats to be prepared in a different location than foods served raw.  (USDA guidelines suggest keeping separate cutting boards for raw meats.) And you make my point exactly:  with the stuff that goes on in kitchens, you never know if codes are being followed. Just saying. 

Aplatanada
Aplatanada

@skiibumsnowmass @Aplatanada  Hmm. And what was the infant mortality rate back then? ;)  I actually have no idea how sushi is prepared in most restaurants.  I'm just saying that the one of the main causes of concern for pregnant women (bacteria) may not be avoided by just ordering a cooked/vegetarian option.

I'm perhaps sensitive to it now because I am incubating 2 tiny humans in a high-risk pregnancy. I would never judge what another woman chooses to do, but in discussing issues such as these with my OB, the difference is not as clear cut.

CarlRosa
CarlRosa

@Glenda88 @vonEggers Regrettably, any raw seafood might be considered a risk due to food borne parasites.  But Kumamoto oysters are fantastic, I'd have to agree.  They come from the island of Kyushu, Japan.  Quite a 'catch' (forgive the pun) in Houston.

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

@DominicWalsh I read it and this stands out: "Carl Rosa, president of the Sushi Club of Houston, was recently asked by a pregnant woman if she could still eat sushi despite her doctor's warnings"


Despite her doctors warnings, maybe it is you that should re-read the article....

fidelio
fidelio

@Aplatanada @skiibumsnowmass Well sure, but you can also pick up the listeria bacteria from soil, uncooked veggies and fruits, milk, processed foods and some other ways, including cooked and uncooked meats and seafood. I feel you are going to be a very solitary and pregnant woman if you allow this fear to dominate your life. It's far more likely you'd be killed in an auto accident than succumb to this stuff.

Aplatanada
Aplatanada

@skiibumsnowmass @Aplatanada Listeria is a bacteria commonly found in raw foods, especially meats and seafood, so while it may not be the stated concern of this article, it definitely is a concern. It can be ingested by "normal" people to no effect, but it can be deadly to pregnant women.  

skiibumsnowmass
skiibumsnowmass

@Aplatanada @skiibumsnowmass I don't think bacteria are the issue, but maybe I'm wrong. I think it's parasites. Bacteria capable of harming a pregnancy would probably alert you with a rancid whiff of fish gone bad, which would signal to your brain: don't eat me.

CarlRosa
CarlRosa

No, to the best of my recollection, there's wasn't a gentleman who spoke a word to me that night other than my group, so perhaps you're thinking of someone else entirely. 

Irena28
Irena28

@CarlRosa My husband also referred to you as young that night,  but more in the 'young twerp' vein if you recall. He wanted to kick your ass far and wide out of that restaurant because of your ego-puffery and pontificating. Guess we can agree that food was pretty good, however.

CarlRosa
CarlRosa

Entirely possible.  We did host our final event of the year at Michiru on 12/26, about 24 members.  And if it was me that you are referring to, thank you for identifying me as 'the young fellow.'  At the age of 46, I'm delighted to be referred to as young.  :)

Irena28
Irena28

@CarlRosa @Glenda88 @vonEggers Wait, aren't you the young fellow I met recently at Michiru Sushi? With a group of sushi eating fiends? Talking about this and that and this and that....

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

@CarlRosa Carl, this was the only line in the article I had issue with: "despite her doctor's warnings" , , I never doubted that the article correctly stated what took place.....

CarlRosa
CarlRosa

Actually, the article speaks the truth about what happened but there's a hint of clarifying that should be made.  A sushi club member walked up to me and gave me the great (and bad) news.  She stated that she was expecting...and was told by her doctor to avoid eating sushi.  I told her that IF the doctor was referring to raw fish as sushi, he was absolutely correct.  I merely mentioned a variety of sushi options that she could enjoy without touching an ounce of raw fish/meat.  After a small list was generated that night, I contacted four restaurants for their advice/review.  After that, I mentioned it to Molly Dunn.  One week later, the article was written.  :)

texmex01
texmex01 topcommenter

@DominicWalsh Sorry, it just read like he knew better than the Doctor....and now I want Sushi for lunch...

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