Looking for egg-celence at Japan’s big four kaitenzushi restaurants.

As foodies and linguists are quick to point out, “sushi” doesn’t mean “raw fish.” Instead, it refers to the vinegared rice.

That said, the vast majority of sushi is topped with raw fish, and it’s not at all unusual for the meals of sushi fans in Japan to be made up almost entirely of raw-fish sushi. An important exception, though, is tamago (egg) sushi. A strip of the Japanese-style omelet tamagoyaki placed atop a block of vinegared rice, tamago sushi is unique in that it’s a type of sushi that actually requires cooking, and so the specific chef and recipe can have a greater influence on the flavor than with other sushi toppings.

Because of this, our Japanese-language reporter P.K. Sanjun knew that tamago should be the next item on his continuing comparison of Japan’s big-four kaitenzushi/conveyor belt sushi restaurant chains, and he set off to perform his solemn duty of going out to eat a bunch of sushi.

▼ Clockwise from top left: Kappa Sushi, Kura Sushi, Sushiro, and Hama Sushi, all visited on the same day within three hours of each other

Because all four chains price their tamago sushi identically, at 110 yen (US$0.88) for two pieces, this taste test wouldn’t be a big hit to P.K.’s wallet. The effect might be more negative on his cholesterol level, but eight pieces of egg sushi in one day is a risk he’s willing to subject his body to for the sake of science.

● Kappa Sushi

“The egg for Kappa Sushi’s tamago sushi is the sweetest out of the four chains, but not overpoweringly so. The dashi stock the use is also really delicious, and I can’t find a single bad thing to say about it, and this is exactly what a lot of people imagine when they think of good, standard tamago sushi.”

● Kura Sushi

“The sweetness is much more subdued here, and the dashi doesn’t really make its presence felt all that much either. The result is that out of the four chains, Kura Sushi’s is the one where the natural flavor of the egg itself makes an impression. It’s still sweet enough that kids won’t complain about a lack of flavor, though.”

● Hama Sushi

“The level of sweetness here is somewhere between Kappa and Kura. In their marketing, Hama Sushi makes a point of talking up the dashi for this, but it didn’t feel uniquely strong to me. Overall, this is a nice, agreeably tasty egg sushi.”

● Sushiro

“On the other hand, Sushiro had the most noticeable dashi flavor out of all the restaurants. It’s the only one where the salty dashi notes are stronger than the sweet flavor. Maybe that’s because Sushiro started out in Osaka, and this is the Kansai region way of doing things? Still, it’s not a crazy-unusual flavor, and this will still hit the mark for people who are in the mood for tamago sushi.”

Just like P.K. had expected, the four chains’ egg sushi all had their own distinct tastes, from the sweet Hama, sweeter Kappa, simple Kura, and savory Sushiro, each tasty in its own special way. And if in addition to chicken eggs you’re also wondering which kaitenzushi chain’s salmon egg sushi is best for you, P.K. has you covered on that front too.

Photos © SoraNews24
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