Vegan sushi is booming. This dancer makes the most swoon-worthy in Los Angeles

Okra is the perfect texture for sushi, Yoko Hasebe says. "It's not too crunchy and stiff, perfect with the rice when you chew it." (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Yoko Hasebe, pictured at the Los Angeles Times’ Test Kitchen, will be popping up at downtown market Sesame LA on May 20, 2023. (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

“This is what a female sushi chef does.” A vegan sushi platter by chef Yoko Hasebe, photographed at the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen. (Ricardo DeAratanha/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES — Growing up in Saitama, Japan, Yoko Hasebe didn’t dream of sushi. From the age of 7, she studied ballet and later jazz dance at the Nihon University College of Art in Tokyo. Fate brought her to California and a series of jobs at Japanese restaurants, where she found her way into the kitchen, rolling maki alongside sushi chefs such as Kimiyasu Enya at Enya and Morihiro Onodera of Morihiro.