There’s something for everyone at one of the world’s most popular sushi chains.

For some folks, sushi just isn’t it. Whether it’s the texture or taste of raw fish, or even dietary restrictions, it’s understandable that sushi isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but that begs the question of what to eat when invited to the local conveyer belt sushi restaurant or if it’s even worth it to go at all. One of our dutiful Japanese-language reporters, Seiji Nakazawa, who bears a striking resemblance to Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio, was musing over this specific conundrum thanks to this unusual request which recently popped into the SoraNews24 inbox:

“I’m unable to eat raw fish. Out of all the different types of sushi out there, I can only eat salmon roe, but based on a lot of different sources, I think there’s a way to get full and satisfied [at revolving sushi] without eating raw fish. However, it’s a little hard for me to sort out the options when every sushi place primarily ranks what’s the best, say, sashimi to eat. 

I would be very happy if someone can investigate for me what items you can eat at revolving sushi that don’t involve raw fish, but still leave you full and satisfied.”

Of course, not wanting to let down a reader, Seiji decided it was time to investigate, and we now present this lineup of non-raw fish items folks can enjoy!

▼ Ah yes, to return to these gilded halls!

To start off, udon. For many Japanese individuals, one of the first non-raw fish items they think of when it comes to conveyer belt sushi chains is a bowl of steaming hot udon noodles. Besides being filling and delicious, according to Kura Sushi’s tsuyu (noodle soup base) is done in the Kansai style, rich in umami flavor with a nice salty kick. An additional plus to the sushi chain’s udon is its cheap price—130 yen (US$1.19) for plain udon and 280 yen (US$2.56) if you want it with a thick slab of deep fried tofu skin.

After noodles, the next thing to wolf down is one of Kura Sushi’s donburi, or rice bowls usually topped with a protein. As long as you’re OK with cooked fish, Seiji recommends the seafood tempura, which consists of a generous heap of shrimp tempura as well as deep fried seasonal fish. Around this time of the year, the seasonal fish happens to be aji (horse mackerel), and paired with tangy tare (thick soy sauce), Seiji couldn’t help but feel as if he were ascending to a new plane of existence—one filled with umami goodness and flavor.

Better yet, the seafood tempura donburi also pairs well with miso soup, which offers an earthy, satisfying complement to the sweet and savory flavor profile of the tempura donburi.

Now, just because there’s no raw fish involved here doesn’t mean you can’t try any sushi at all, since technically sushi refers to vinegared rice. One standout non-fish sushi item is the Sukiyaki-style Beef Nigiri. Inspired by the traditional Japanese hot pot dish, this is a stout gunkan-style piece of sushi with the rice topped by beef marinated in sukiyaki sauce accompanied by a soft-boiled egg. The egg provides not only a cheerful yellow flair to the sushi, but the way it melts in your mouth pairs perfectly with the sweet-salty sukiyaki sauce.

In case you’re not in the mood for meat at all, there is always the one and only cucumber roll. Consisting of a cleaved slice of cucumber wrapped in rice and seaweed, the humble cucumber roll can be found at pretty much any sushi joint, but it’s  important in accentuating the flavor of a special add-on all Japanese food lovers are familiar with: wasabi.

Fans say Kura Sushi’s is the best among conveyer belt sushi chains, and what more perfect way to leverage its punchy kick than a simple cucumber roll? Seiji tried the combo out for himself and found that the wasabi’s deep flavor was well-carried by the roll’s seaweed.

And if you’re in the room for dessert, Sengyo recommends the Banana Milk Amazake, a sweet non-alcoholic drink made from rice, to top off your meal.

Whether you like raw fish or not, Seiji reckoned there’s a lot to enjoy with Kura Sushi’s offerings, even if some of them are a little more deadly compared to your average salmon or fatty tuna.

Photos © SoraNews24
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