In most Western countries, going out for sushi tends to make for a pretty pricey meal. In Japan, while there are certainly higher-end sushi restaurants that can put quite a dent in your wallet too, there are also plenty of places where you can eat your fill of great sushi for as little as 100 yen a plate (around US$1), or you can pick up a pack of sushi for lunch at the convenience for around 300 to 400 yen.

With sushi growing in popularity, many grocery store delis in the United States have started carrying variety packs of sushi for a more decent price, but how does the taste measure up? In this video, sushi from a number of grocery chains is pitted against the taste buds of long-time sushi chef.

This video, from our friends over at BuzzFeed, sees a sushi veteran take on some of the cheapest bites around. Is this a recipe for disaster, or will we be pleasantly surprised? Let’s find out.

Let’s take a closer look at that, shall we?

The video features Yoya Takahashi, a Japanese sushi chef who lives and works in Los Angeles and has been making sushi for almost 15 years. To say that this guy knows his sushi would be an understatement!


First up is a California Sampler from Seven Eleven. It may have a decent price going for it, but upon tasting it, Mr. Takahashi is quick to exclaim how mushy it is, the rice not even being the vinegared sushi rice it should be, and the only flavor really standing out being the avocado. The chef’s verdict? One star out of five.


Next, he is challenged with a rather large platter of sushi from Trader Joe’s. He seems hesitant to try it, after remarking on the “bad shrimp smell”. While Trader Joe’s does have a good variety of other delicious goods, their sushi unfortunately doesn’t seem to hold very much weight against their other goods, as The Chef grants the absolutely zero stars. Or even negative stars, that’s how bad they were.


Moving on up, we have a small sushi sampling from the high-end grocery chain Whole Foods. While he seemed a little put off by the dough-y blob of wasabi, Mr. Takahashi seemed a bit more receptive to this one, saying that the rice was rather nice, and it seemed more fresh overall. Still, this one only got 2.5 stars.


Following Whole Foods is a bit tough, but the quality of frozen tuna in Walgreen’s sushi pack got a decent response from the chef, even though overall they only received 0.5 stars.


Finally, we have a rather nice-looking sample from SushiStop. Their use of fresh salmon was well received by Mr. Takahashi, but he also expressed his disappointment at the lack of vinegar flavor in the rice. Still, SushiStop – perhaps somewhat thankfully – won the race, barely beating Whole Foods with a full three stars.

Final thoughts? If you’re on a budget and on the go, store-bought sushi can do the trick, but if you’re looking for fresh, great-tasting sushi as it should be, go visit a sushi chef at your local restaurant!

Source and images: YouTube (BuzzFeedVideo)