When it comes to sushi, we’ll eat almost anything on the menu. But now that we know that some sushi chefs in Japan are substituting horse and deer meat for tuna, which is now expensive and rare because of overfishing, we just might rethink our sashimi choices.

We read in a New York Times article yesterday that due in large part to the world’s — and particularly Japan’s — love of the dark pink fish, there are fewer tuna, resulting in a higher price for the staple:

Nightly news programs ran in-depth reports of how higher prices were driving top-grade tuna off supermarket shelves and the revolving conveyer belts at sushi chain stores. At nicer restaurants, sushi chefs began experimenting with substitutes, from cheaper varieties of fish to terrestrial alternatives and even, heaven forbid, American sushi variations like avocado rolls.

Apparently the dark meat of horse and deer are convincing replacements for tuna, both visually and texturally, even though (understandably) some people just can’t get over the fact that meat from grazers is sitting in the fish display case, the article reports.

So, that brings us to the question of whether we would choose to eat horse or deer over tuna at a sushi restaurant, especially since we know that the number of tuna in the sea rapidly dwindling. Take our poll and let us know what you would decide. We might just go with the avocado roll.

Story by Susan Cosier. This article originally appeared in Plenty in June 2007. The story was added to MNN.com in July 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2007.

Sushi surprise
Using red meat for sushi due to fish scarcity.