If you are, like me, a certain kind of farmer’s-market-shopping, oat-milk-latte-drinking avant-basic millennial, your #ForYou page has probably been overrun with videos by and about 29-year-old Bay Area-based lifestyle influencer Emily Mariko. Specifically, her now-signature WFH lunch: a salmon rice bowl that is both an ingenious way to hack leftovers and a viral sensation.
Videos with the hashtag #SalmonRiceBowl have over 2.5 million views on the app, with people sharing their own twists on the leftover hack. Videos hashtagged #EmilyMariko, where people wax poetic about how she’s #influenced them, boast over 4 million views. According to Embedded, a newsletter about internet culture, Mariko started September with 70,000 followers on TikTok and now has over 1.5 million — thanks, largely, to this salmon bowl.
The salmon rice bowl is a simple concept elevated to an art. You take cooked salmon out of the fridge — maybe you had it for dinner last night, maybe not! — and flake it into little bits at the bottom of your bowl with a fork. Then, you scoop a good helping of leftover rice on top. Now, and this is key, you put an ice cube on top of the rice, cover it with a piece of parchment paper, and then microwave the dish. The ice doesn’t melt (!) but does properly steam the rice for that perfect, just-cooked consistency. Add soy sauce, kewpie mayo, and sriracha to the bowl and mix everything together. From there, you can dress up the bowl with avocado, kimchi, or other tasty accessories. The kicker? You eat the dish by placing a square of dried seaweed over the area of the salmon rice mixture you want to eat, then use chopsticks to gather up a delicious bite inside the nori. The result? A perfect crunchy, salty, spicy work-from-home lunch.
People across the app are obsessed with the bowl, making their own stovetop versions, swapping in tuna for salmon, or adding furikake seasoning to dress it up even more. The fact that the ice doesn’t melt in the microwave has also broken many users’ brains. (Some cursory Googling suggests that it has to do with the way the hydrogen bonds in ice are structured? IDK.)
If you’ve come to Mariko’s page for the salmon rice bowl, you’ll likely want to stay for the rest of her videos. Before last week, I’d seen Mariko’s TikToks occasionally — ASMR-y quick cuts of Mariko quietly prepping her farmer’s market haul for the week ahead and making delicious-looking egg sandwiches — but my #ForYou page has made her content inescapable. She also posts videos about working out (in an exercise dress, natch), home decor, tidying and organizing, and other mainstays of aspirational lifestyle content that are extremely pleasant to watch. Even if you’re not in the market for more That Girl-ish influencers to follow, the salmon rice bowl is reason enough to smash the like.