Conveyor Belt Sushi
Conveyor belt sushi (回転寿司), romanized as “kaiten-zushi” is what it sounds like. After being seated at a table next to a conveyor belt, you simply pick the plates you want off the moving conveyor as it goes around. Depending on the establishment, plates are either the same price (as low as 100 yen – 85 cents) or different prices depending on plate color or size. Most plates have two pieces of nigiri (perfect for two people eating out) or some will have one piece with a more expensive type of fish or seafood.
If after watching the full conveyor belt lineup you don’t see what you want, you can use the digitial screen next to you (or talk to the waiter if no screen is present) to order whichever plates you want off the menu. This does not cost more than taking plates from the conveyor. After several minutes, your order will arrive on the conveyor belt with special plate holders indicating it is a special order for your table. It’s great!
The price is also very good compared to sushi in the Midwest. All of our conveyor belt sushi meals have left us satiated, and they all have cost right about 20 bucks. You’ll never feed two people a nigiri dinner for that much in Wisconsin!
Finally, the variety of fish available for such a good price is quite remarkable. Here is an abriged list of plates we’ve had – click on an item to view its picture.
- Veined rapa whelk nigiri (wikipedia link) – a type of predatory sea snail
- Squilla nigiri – Mantis shrimp
- Scallop nigiri
- Crab leg nigiri
- Bonito gunkan
- Shrimp gunkan
- Tuna nigiri
- Conger eel nigiri
- Saury nigiri
- Broiled tuna with citrus nigiri
- Squid fin nigiri
- Squid nigiri
- Flounder fin nigiri
- Corn with mayonnaise sauce gunkan – (This deserves it’s own post – the weird ways corn is used in Japan and Korea)
- Egg salad gunkan
- Nattō gunkan – The only thing we didn’t like. (Nattō is bacterially fermented soybeans with a pungent ammonia taste)
- Broiled salmon
Another interesting aspect of these establishments is that self-serve tea is always included. There are cups on the shelf next to the table, and a hot water spigot at every table!
Finally, what do you get after 20+ plates of sushi? This: