Sushi is without a doubt the most famous Japanese dish internationally and with good reason. This rice based dish boasts delicious seafood ingredients and is a wonder to the taste buds. In Japan there are thousands of restaurants and supermarkets serving up this local delicacy.
The Japanese love this dish as much as the rest of the world and eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, as you can imagine, when it comes to sushi, there are a lot of dining options. To ensure that you get to sample the best of the best, it is important to know what to look out for in a sushi restaurant: How to find a good sushi restaurant in Japan? This is how:
What is Sushi?
Sushi dishes date back as far as the 14th century, however, it wasn’t until the Edo Period that it was used in large proportions. If you haven’t come across this beloved Japanese delicacy yet, sushi is made up of a large number of rice and fish based dishes including Nigiri, Maki, Gunkan and Californian rolls.
How to find a good Sushi Restaurant in Japan?
Follow the Locals
With so many restaurants serving sushi on the menu, it can be difficult to know where to eat. The golden rule to finding a good sushi restaurant is to follow the locals. If you find a sushi bar that is packed with locals then you know it offers decent food. You can find the best spots where locals pick up the freshest ingredients in tokyo on this fish market tour of Tsukiji.
The 15 Second Rule
After a chef has prepared a sushi dish, it is at its best when consumed within the very first 15 seconds before the rice cools and becomes too soggy. Though this seems like an impossible amount of time to get the dish from the kitchen to the customer’s plate, the best sushi restaurants manage to achieve this.
Rather than a restaurant which has individual tables, a well-regarded sushi restaurant usually has a bar that is centred around the chef’s preparation area. Customers sit at the bar and chefs can serve the dish directly to your plate to ensure that you experience the food at its freshest.
A good sushi restaurant usually offers a number of courses and a set-menu should not take longer than an hour in total.
A good sushi restaurant usually offers different cuts of the same fish. For example tuna has a variety of cuts including lean, medium and fatty. Usually an experienced sushi chef will also prepare the dish with the right amount of soy sauce already applied.
Types of Sushi Restaurants
For exquisite sushi and highly knowledgeable chefs, the upscale sushi bars offer delicious dishes within elegant surroundings. These type of restaurants can be found in larger cities including Tokyo’s upmarket district of Ginza.
Kaiten-zushi refers to the revolving sushi restaurants whereby customers sit around a bar which has a conveyor belt filled with sushi dishes. Kaiten-zushi restaurants offer affordable meals and with varying prices depending on the colour of the plate. Prices usually range from 100 Yen (1 USD) to 700 Yen (6.30 USD) per plate. Each plate usually contains two to three sushi rolls.
Another affordable option is a standing sushi bar where customers order and eat whilst standing up, just like when ordering drinks at a regular bar. This style of sushi bar enables smaller restaurants to fit more customers in and also provides a more casual and social atmosphere.
If you are in a hurry, or, are on a very tight budget then the cheapest way to sample Japanese sushi is at a supermarket. Supermarkets and the food halls of department stores usually have a brilliant selection of sushi. In the evening, around one hour before closing, these stores discount all of their sushi boxes dramatically. This provides sushi at a fraction of the price and is a very exciting experience for bargain hunters.