Glow-in-the-dark sushi sounds like something that Gary Shteyngart might imagine hip youngsters eating at a Stephen Starr restaurant in 2035. But it's already here. Not in hoity-toity temples to haute sushi, though -- on YouTube and in the Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland.
The people at the Center for Genomic Gastronomy have put together a series of instruction videos on the former and an exhibit at the latter highlighting the possibility of using transgenic biolumiscent fish to make edible, glow-in-the-dark sushi, all under the aegis of "Glowing Sushi." ("Trangenic" refers to a process by which a gene is taken from one organism -- like a glow-in-the-dark bacteria or jellyfish -- and inserted into another.) Their food doesn't look as delicious as, say, an omakase sushi tasting at Masa. But it does look pretty darn futuristic and cool.
Part of the purpose of the Glowing Sushi project is to highlight the possibilities of food made from genetically modified organisms. Many people, its organizers point out, say that AquAdvantage salmon -- a fast growing transgenic breed of Atlantic salmon whose release for sale in grocery stores has continually been stymied by regulation -- would be the first genetically-modified animal to be approved for use in food. But transgenic zebrafish, known as GloFish, have long been commercially available, and as Glowing Sushi's videos demonstrate, they're perfectly edible.
The reason that the group makes sushi, rather than GloFish meuniere or ceviche, is that heating the fish or exposing it to acid can denature the proteins that make it glow in the dark. The Glowing Sushi chefs do freeze the GloFish, though, to kill any parasites or pathogens, before eating the sushi.
Below, watch a video demonstrating the magic of glow-in-the-dark sushi: