Kappa Sushi is revitalizing its sushi…starting with its rice!

If you’ve eaten at rotating sushi restaurant Kappa Sushi lately, you might have noticed that they’re offering a whole lot of ramen options lately. It was almost the point where we’ve started to wonder if Kappa Sushi is going to one day turn into Kappa Ramen! Luckily, just recently they’ve assuaged our fears and reaffirmed our faith in their status as a sushi restaurant at a recent press conference, in which they decreed, “We’ve been putting a lot of work into improving our sushi.”

We, who are avid sushi lovers, were excited to show off our fancy press badges and bring our cameras and notebooks to record all they had to share, but what they announced was not at all what any of us were expecting.

In essence, Kappa Sushi said that they have been working to revitalize the smaller ingredients that are essential components of sushi: rice, soy sauce, wasabi, and the flour used for tempura. Then they announced a number of new menu items…the first of which turned out to not be sushi at all.

We couldn’t believe our eyes when what they debuted before us was simply a plate of sushi rice.

We were convinced that it had been some kind of mistake, that someone had forgotten to put the fish on in their haste to get the plate out. Traditionally, a piece of sushi consists of two parts: the vinegared rice (called shari), and the topping (called neta). But no, this was, in fact, a new menu item, called the “Honki Shari”, or “Serious Sushi Rice”, which comes with three pieces of sushi rice on a plate for 110 yen (US$1).

It sounds ridiculous, but after we were given a taste of it we were actually okay with this strange new development. As it turns out, Kappa Sushi consulted a rice expert, and under their guidance began to use a type of rice grown in Yamagata called Haenuki, which was found to have the best texture, resilience, and melt-in-your-mouth experience. We did in fact notice that the moment we tasted our first piece it felt light and airy and instantly came apart in our mouths. The vinegar used to make the sushi rice really brings out the rice’s true, original umami. We would never have though it was made by a sushi rice machine!

Kappa Sushi thankfully also unveiled six other new menu items that were full sushi, including silver salmon from the Sanriku Coast and amberjack from Kagoshima that will be kept alive and fresh onsite in tanks before preparation and serving.

We were able to try the Yamako no Tenren Honmaguro (Yamako Fresh Pacific Bluefin Tuna), made from tuna sold by wholesaler Tsukiji Yamako, which is also used by chefs at Michelin restaurants. It melted in our mouths, spreading the umami flavor to each and every taste bud. It was very tasty! You might even forget that it’s from affordable family restaurant Kappa Sushi.

The Honki Shari sushi rice plate (110 yen) and the 33-yen Yamako no Tenren Honmaguro are both available now at Kappa Sushi restaurants around the country, and the rest of the new items will gradually be released over time. If you’re a sushi fan, definitely give them a try, and don’t forget their other highly affordable sushi!

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