Popular blue-backed fish go head-to-head at Japan’s top sushi chains.

In Japan, “blue-backed fish”, like sardine, mackerel, herring, perch and anchovy, are known for their rich and fatty flavour, and our reporter P.K. Sanjun is such a fan of them he reckons he might’ve been a seal or penguin in a previous life.

So when it came time for him to continue his taste-test duties at Japan’s top four conveyor belt sushi restaurants, this time pitting their iwashi (sardine) sushi against each other, P.K. was incredibly excited.

Sardines are one of P.K.’s all-time favourites, and he likes them in their fully grown fish state (above) and their baby “shirasu” form (below).

So let’s get to it and see how the sardine sushi stacked up for P.K. at the four chains.

▼ Clockwise from top left: Kappa Sushi, Kura Sushi, Sushiro, and Hama Sushi

● Kappa Sushi (110 yen [US$0.95])

“The first thing I noticed with these is they’re pretty big. In terms of volume, the sardine sushi is better here compared to the other chains. The fattiness is perfect, and although it had a slight bitterness in the aftertaste, that’s not a negative point for lovers of blue-backed fish. It was excellent.”

● Kura Sushi (110 yen)

“Like Kappa Sushi’s, these were also quite big. They were was very similar to Kappa Sushi’s in terms of both the umami and the slight bitterness in the aftertaste, so I got a sense of déjà vu while eating them. It was one of the strongest in terms of value-for-money, and it was delicious!”

● Hama Sushi (110 yen)

“Compared to Kappa Sushi and Kura Sushi, these were a little smaller. Perhaps because of that, I didn’t sense any bitterness in the aftertaste. However, I got the impression that the fattiness didn’t reach its full potential here, so, like the others, it was delicious but it wasn’t flawless.”

● Sushiro (110 yen)

“Compared to the larger morsels at Kappa Sushi and Kura Sushi, the size of these was more moderate. It was delicious, and there was no bitterness in the aftertaste.”

At the end of P.K.’s taste test, which was conducted on the same day to ensure a fair assessment, he found it difficult to pick a standout. The sardine sushi at all four chains appeared to be split into two categories: “Large with a slight aftertaste” and “Relatively small with no aftertaste”.

If he were to judge on taste instead of volume, he would have to choose Hama Sushi and Sushiro as the winners, but given that one of the main reasons for eating at a conveyor belt restaurant is the value-for-money factor, he couldn’t ignore the large morsels at Kappa Sushi and Kura Sushi.

So in the end, P.K. called it a tie between all four chains. It’s a result we should’ve seen coming really, because penguins and seals don’t turn their nose up at any type of sardine that comes their way, and P.K. is no different to his spirit animals.

When it comes to other sushi, though, like tuna, salmon, seared salmon, and salmon roe, the results are very different at the four top chains!

Photos ©SoraNews24
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