Vegetarian? Vegan? Or just plain weird? This conveyor belt restaurant chain serves up a taste of all three.

Genki Sushi Co., which operates the popular Uobei and Genki Sushi conveyor belt restaurant chains, recently surprised us with a brand new promotion called the “Will you find out? The real deal!? Just like it!? Fair”.

As the wordy title suggests, this promotion challenges the diner to try a new lineup of menu items to find out whether they’re the real deal or something that just looks like the real deal.

The promotion, which began on 14 June, covers a total of six products, some of which are genuine, and some of which are not. The menu alludes to the genuine items with “本物!” (“honmono”, or “genuine”) next to them, and it applies to only two out of the six: Chutoro (medium fatty tuna), sourced from sustainable aquaculture farms in Ehime Prefecture, and Hiramasa (yellowtail amberjack) from Kagoshima Prefecture, priced at 220 yen (US$1.63) and 130 yen respectively.

The four remaining items are: Sushi-esque Three Piece Set (120 yen), Salmon Roe-esque Mini Donburi Sweets (270 yen), Yakiniku (120 yen), and Sea Urchin Gunkan Sushi (120 yen).

Our reporter Mr Sato decided to stop by Uobei in Shibuya to get a taste of three of the new items, seeing as he’s been dialling back his meal sizes and watching his waistline since his recent gravure photo shoot.

▼ Clockwise, from top: Yakiniku, Sea Urchin Gunkan Sushi, Sushi-esque Three Piece Set.

Mr Sato’s taste buds were eager to start celebrating at the fair, so he began with the Yakiniku, which might not seem like your standard sushi fare, but it’s one of the dishes you can find at a lot of conveyor belt sushi restaurants these days. This one looked just like grilled meat, but it actually doesn’t contain any meat at all, as it’s made with soybeans.

This isn’t Mr Sato’s first time trying soybean “yakiniku”, so he had some idea of what to expect, but this was still a surprise — it looked meaty, and though it had a softer texture and lighter flavour than real meat, it was totally delicious.

▼ Good enough to sway a meat-eater to the soybean side of life.

Next up, we have the sea urchin, which looked very close to real sea urchin in terms of colour.

Surprisingly, there was a flavour here that made it taste like sea urchin, despite it not containing any. The texture was slightly different from real sea urchin, and upon further investigation, Mr Sato found out that it contains fish paste, which accounts for the unusual flavour and texture. It was a good effort, but unlike the yakiniku, this one wasn’t as satisfying as the real thing.

Finally, we have the Sushi-esque Three Piece Set, which was beautifully bright on the plate.

This option is a good one for vegans, as the toppings are made with vegetable puree. The yellow one is made with corn puree, the orange one with carrot puree, and the red one with tomato puree.

The texture of all the toppings was…similar to jelly. As you might imagine, jelly and rice don’t usually go well together, so this was definitely a weird dish. The red morsel in particular was a hard one to swallow, as it looked like tuna, but tasted like tomato and felt like jelly.

This sushi-esque trio played tricks on Mr Sato’s brain in all sorts of ways, but strangely, once he got used to it, he realised this was a big part of its appeal — it was like going on a rollercoaster ride full of unexpected turns and surprises.

So if you’re looking to take your taste buds on an adventure they won’t forget, take them down to a branch of Uobei or Genki Sushi. The fair is only available while stocks last, but given the rising prices of seafood and recent troubles with imports, we could be seeing more unreal sushi products like these at conveyor belt restaurants in future.

Restaurant Information

Uobei Shibuya Dogenzaka / 魚べい 渋谷道玄坂店
Address: Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Dogenzaka 2-29-11, 6th Central Building 1F
東京都渋谷区道玄坂2丁目29-11 第六セントラルビル 1F
Hours: 10:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.( last orders 10:30 p.m.); 10:40 a.m.-11:00 p.m. (Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays)

Photos © SoraNews24
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