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One of the biggest restaurant trends in Japan over the last two decades has been a steady erosion of the image that delicious food equals high prices, and vice-versa. These days, there are some real bargains to be found for those willing to do a little searching, particularly at lunch.

The afternoon dining market has gotten so competitive that often you can get an amazing meal plus change for the 1,000-yen bill you use to pay for it, which is exactly what you get with this gigantic tuna sashimi bowl.

The tabletop marvel can be found at the Tokyo restaurant Firebird, which bills itself as a “sushi bistro.” Officially dubbed the maguro nosesugi don (“rice bowl with too much raw tuna on it”), it’s such a massive amount of ordinarily pricy fish that it’s said some people mistake it for a heaping helping of much cheaper strawberry-syrup covered shaved ice when they first glance at it.

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But as insane as the amount of sashimi is, the price is shockingly reasonable, at just 800 yen (US $7.75) for this lunch-time-only set, which also gets you a salad and a couple of sides.

Japanese Internet commentators were as shocked as we were by the decadence on display.

“I want this.”
“Where is the bowl and rice?”
“You know, there’s this thing called moderation.”
“That’s way too big. Do they serve whatever’s left over to the next person to order one?”
“If my stomach is up for the challenge, I’d love to give this a try.”
“No way I could finish all that.”

Some have also expressed wonder at how the pile of tuna retains its structural integrity, given the naturally slippery nature of fish. One theory that’s been offered is that patches of rice are used to hold the layers in place, but we can’t make out any such trickery in the photos above.

In any case, we’re gluttons, not structural engineers. The only question that matters to us is, “Do we want to eat that?” and in this case, the answer is an unqualified yes.

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Restaurant information
Address: Tokyo-to, Koto-ku, Toyo 2-5-18 First floor
東京都江東区東陽2-5-18 1F奥
Open 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-12 midnight

Source: Byokan Sunday
Images: Firebird