Review: TikTok Emily Mariko Salmon Bowl

If you’re on TikTok, chances are the “Emily Mariko salmon rice bowl” has been dominating your FYP for almost a month now. If not, here’s a recap of the recipe that has taken TikTok by storm.

29-year-old Emily Mariko is known for posting videos of her daily life, most notably her healthy recipes. She recently rose to TikTok fame after debuting a surprisingly simple recipe she made for lunch featuring leftover salmon and rice from her fridge

The initial video, which was posted on Sept. 21, has over 58 million views. Since then, she has posted the recipe three more times on her account, and each video has amassed millions of views and thousands of comments. 

Over the past few weeks, I have seen hundreds of people recreating this viral recipe, so I finally decided to put it to the test. Follow along to see if the bowl that all of TikTok is talking about is actually worth the hype. 

Step 1: Salmon

In her initial video, Mariko makes the bowl using leftover salmon. Unfortunately, not all of us have prepared salmon laying around, so I made mine myself. 

Using an air fryer is the fastest, easiest way to cook salmon, but you can cook it in a pan or in the oven as well. I first marinated my salmon in teriyaki sauce for a few minutes (this is optional) and cooked it in the air fryer at 375° for 20 minutes or until it was crispy on the outside.

See my article on air fryer recipes for more information on making the salmon.

Step 2: Rice

Again, Mariko used day-old rice in her recipe. She placed an ice cube into the cold rice before microwaving to steam it, a hack that had TikTok users in awe. This is optional, but a super easy way to reheat leftover rice.

You can use whatever you have left from last night’s Chinese takeout, or go the traditional route and make rice on the stove. I love the Trader Joe’s frozen basmati rice because it only takes three minutes to cook in the microwave. 

Credit: TODAY

Step 3: Preparing the Bowl

This is where things get interesting. After adding the rice to a bowl, Mariko places the salmon on top and mashes it with a fork until a cohesive mixture forms. 

She then drizzles the mixture with soy sauce, sriracha and Kewpie mayo. If you’ve never heard of Kewpie mayo, don’t worry — I hadn’t heard of it until this recipe. Kewpie mayo is a Japanese-style mayonnaise that’s made with rice vinegar and MSG. You can find it at most grocery stores, but regular mayo is a perfectly fine substitute. 

I added all of these ingredients to my bowl and mixed it up until it looked like this: 

Credit: TODAY

Step 4: Topping It Off

This is where you can get creative. Mariko typically tops her bowl with avocado and kimchi, but you can use any toppings you like, or eat it as is. I sliced an avocado and mixed it in with the rest of the ingredients.

Finally, Mariko eats her bowl with chopsticks and sheets of crispy seaweed. In her videos, she places pieces of seaweed on top of the bowl and uses chopsticks to gather the salmon rice mixture into the seaweed, like a sushi roll. I tried this technique and found it a little challenging, so I tore my seaweed into small pieces and mixed it in with the rest of the bowl.


I honestly didn’t think I would be saying this, but this bowl is 100% worth the hype. Not only is it easy to execute, especially for busy college students, but it tastes amazing. This is a great way to dress up simple, healthy ingredients. I will definitely be incorporating this recipe into my weekly routine, and I can’t wait to try more of Mariko’s recipes. 

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