The Rise of Emily Mariko


Addison Figel, Online Staff Writer

It has been nearly two months since Emily Mariko first introduced the term “salmon rice,” sparking an internet frenzy. Mariko is a 29-year-old lifestyle vlogger and TikTok influencer, living in the Bay Area of California, who finds comfort in the mundane. She is also one of the most recent viral content creators on TikTok, receiving over 195.5 million likes. Her simple content captivates audiences and sets aspirational ideations. With her love of food and fashion, Mariko’s content can be segmented into three categories that all intertwine: food, fashion, lifestyle. Queen of clean counters and beautiful meals, Mariko also has a successful YouTube account where she posts long vlogs. 

Mariko’s brand relies on the seemingly simple. Freshman Nandini Kolli shared, “I just became hooked onto her way of life because everything just seems so nice and clean, especially like the aesthetic of it; it’s like what you want in your own life.” On Mariko’s TikTok account, there are videos of her standing in her kitchen, mixing salmon & rice together before eating it with chopsticks & seaweed. Mariko has quite simply blown up after making a simple dish with leftover salmon and rice with thousands of creators recreating the recipe for themselves. Videos of people smashing chunks of leftover fish into platefuls of rice flooded social media feeds. Olivia Ponton, a TikTok creator with 7.4 million followers, even recreated the recipe, posting a video on her TikTok account. Mariko went from having 70,000 followers to 7.2 million followers in a matter of weeks. On TikTok, her first viral video, racking up 74.8 million views, documented her doing nothing more than making lunch. She received more than 25 million views in the first week of the video being published. Following the ASMR video trend, there was no audio aside from the clanking of dishes or the microwave running. Freshman Cynthia Shen noted, “I like Emily Mariko because her videos are really soothing, and it’s really relaxing to watch. I really like her style of no music and no explanation because sometimes explanations are really obnoxious and annoying.” Additionally, Freshman Abby Leonardi, when asked why she likes Mariko’s content, said, “It’s very calming. It’s very quiet. It’s not very loud. It puts you in a good state of mind.” The video starts with her opening the fridge and pulling out the ingredients. It ends with her taking a bite of her lunch. The editing is extremely choppy, showing the entire process of the lunch assembly. Each step is shown for 1-2 seconds. 

Mariko, though, is no novice to social media. She has been posting on the internet for almost a decade. In fact, she has 467,000 subscribers on YouTube. Her minimalistic kitchen, fun, and trendy athleisure make her videos enjoyable to watch. On TikTok, the use of ASMR created by the dicing of the vegetables, closing of the kitchen cabinets, and the sound of Sriracha squeezing out of the bottle creates a peaceful experience for sensory pleasure. Her videos show an easy, adoptable, balanced take on eating. 

Mariko is not just a one-hit-wonder. She posts TikToks of herself filming toast topped with nut butter & pomegranate seeds, meal prep inspiration such as the clip of her snapping Brussel Sprouts off their stalk, rinsing them off, and storing them in a container. Mariko’s TikTok also features various healthy eats (e.g. rotisserie chicken with broccoli, stuffed white mushrooms, rosemary-topped purple potatoes), comfort foods, pasta with meat sauce, “Frito pie,” and store-bought pastries. Some of her TikToks even include farmer’s market hauls and a collection of dishes. She also has a weekly newsletter on Substack, “Emily’s Plan For The Week”, where subscribers can follow her meal plans and grocery lists. 

It is almost certain that her internet presence will remain strong for the near future. Everything about her seems to captivate audiences and bring peace and serenity into their busy, hectic daily lives.


The Ingredients For Emily Mariko’s Viral “Salmon Rice” Recipe:

  • One filet of cooked salmon
  • One cup of white rice
  • An ice cube (if you’re using leftover rice)
  • Soy sauce
  • Kewpie mayonnaise
  • Sriracha
  • Seaweed
  • Kimchi (optional)
  • Avocado (optional)


The Recipe For Emily Mariko’s Viral “Salmon Rice” Recipe:

  1. Using a fork, mash the cooked salmon on a plate and transfer it to a bowl
  2. Add a cup of rice to the bowl
  3. If you’re using leftover rice, place an ice cube on top followed by a sheet of baking paper. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds (This will steam the rice)
  4. Once removed, add your soy sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise, and sriracha. Mix together
  5. Add sliced avocado and kimchi (optional) on the side and eat with seaweed