How to Dine at Kaiten-zushi

So, you’re in Japan and finally decided on stopping by one of the many infamous kaiten-zushi restaurants to try out some delicious sushi. Before you dine, you should be aware of some things to prepare you for your feast.

Here are some tips to get you through your next kaiten-zushi experience when you’re in Japan.

Socializing Tip Kaiten-zushi Edition: Seafood is an aphrodisiac. The best way to get the attention of males is to fling your sushi, particularly freshly-made hot sushi that is covered in thick sauce, at them across the table. You are guaranteed to get the undivided attention of 3 waiters and a personal visit from the head-chef (I speak from personal experience with the following dish. Trust me, it works).

Watch your plates.
 Some shops have set prices, while others have different prices with plates of different colors. Usually if it’s the latter, there will be a key at the table letting you know of the prices. Either way, you should be polite and stack up your plates at the end unless there’s a plate chute.

Picked ginger as a cleanser.
Most shops will have some pickled ginger available at the table for you to eat. Though, this isn’t meant to be a garnish but as a cleanser between sushi. This is meant to allow you to experience the full flavor of each different sushi. So, don’t use it to stack on top of your sushi unless you’re ready for some looks. Personally, I am not a fan of ginger, so I don’t use it at all, which is perfectly fine as well. It’s up to you if you use it or not.

When to order fresh?
Kaiten-zushi offers more than just normal, cold sushi or sashimi. You can get all kinds of food, from fried chicken and octopus to desserts, curries, soups, and broiled sushi. With things like curry and soups, usually you have to order these directly regardless, but for the other dishes, you can usually get them from the belt.

But, these are all best ordered fresh from the machines or chefs. Usually, after one rotation these dishes get cold and oily, so it’s better to get them right off the grill to get the full flavor. I never take anything that is meant to be hot off the belt and always order it fresh to get it melting in my mouth.
Of course, you can always order anything you like fresh instead of taking it off the belt, not just hot dishes.

Also, going to places when it’s busier means that the sushi on the belt is usually fresher since there are many people eating at once, so if you don’t want to order from the menu and take from the belt instead, go when its lunch or dinner time!

Not all fat is bad!
Have I lost my mind? Maybe. No— fatty or toro sushi means it is delicious. And, boy is it ever.  These cuts of “fatty” sushi are a higher quality and usually a bit more expensive than 100 yen, or they only offer one piece instead of two for 100 yen. Fatty tuna is one of my favorites to order every time!

You are now ready to head out and eat all the conveyor-belt sushi your heart desires! Enjoy and don’t forget to savor each bite!

Article originally published on Izanau, Feb 25, 2016. Edited from original version.


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