Oanh “Kim” Tran and Huy Nguyen are the owners of Blowfish Sushi on 280.

Oanh “Kim” Tran and Huy Nguyen are the owners of Blowfish Sushi on 280.

Blowfish Sushi brings together international and local tastes

Story By Lauren Dowdle

Photos By Dawn Harrison

Combining Asian and American tastes, Blowfish Sushi has unique dishes residents won’t find just anywhere. And the idea for this new restaurant came from Huy Nguyen and his first job.

Like most young adults, Nguyen was in need of a work. It was during this search that someone offered him a job as a sushi helper at a restaurant. A year later, he was promoted to a sushi chef at just 22.

With some experience under his belt, Nguyen and his friend opened a sushi bar in Mississippi together and ran it for nearly seven years.

“Since I’ve had a job, it’s always been working as a sushi chef,” he says. “I’m doing what I’m good at.”

He decided to go out on his own and moved to Birmingham, which also brought him closer to family. Nguyen and his wife, Oanh “Kim” Tran, opened Blowfish Sushi on Feb. 19 in the Lee Branch Shopping Center.

“I make American sushi,” he explains. “Some of the sushi rolls have no rice, which other restaurants don’t have.”

He also has a chef with 16 years of experience with Thai food, and his wife has experience with Vietnamese food. “Together, we make our own Asian food,” Nguyen says.

For customers who enjoy raw rolls, he says the Blowfish roll — which has spicy mayo, avocado, flake wrapped inside fresh tuna, salmon and topped with eel sauce — is a popular choice. Another raw favorite is the AL roll, which has shrimp tempura, crab stick, cucumber, spicy tuna, eel sauce and spicy mayo.

“We have some special rolls like the Blowfish roll or Ramen noodles with fried soft eggs that people can’t find somewhere else,” Nguyen says.

Some popular rolls with cooked ingredients include the blue crab and volcano rolls. There are also dishes for those who aren’t in the mood for sushi.

“With customers who are not familiar with sushi, we also have Pad Thai and Massaman curry that are very popular,” Nguyen says.

Their lunch menu includes dishes like chicken teriyaki, chicken fried rice, select rolls and the Ramen bowl and are all served with miso or egg drop soup.

They also have desserts like cheesecake tempura and mocha ice cream, which is available in mango, chocolate, strawberry or green tea.

He encourages residents to come and enjoy unique dishes and a welcoming environment.

“We have a casual, warm and cozy atmosphere with friendly service,” he says.

Blowfish Sushi is located at 5479 Hwy. 280 Suite 102 in the Lee Branch Shopping Center. For more information, visit Blowfishsushi280.wix.com/sushi.