We find some big differences in how the big four chains prepare this classic sushi restaurant side order.

There’s more than just sushi that comes down the lane at Japan’s kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi restaurants). You can supplement your rice and fish with all sorts of side orders, and the most traditional of all is a bowl of miso soup.

Miso soup actually comes in a few different varieties, but in the mind of our Japanese-language reporter and kaitenzushi expert P.K. Sanjun, it’s hard to beat aosa miso soup, or miso soup with green laver. The humble ingredient goes great with seafood but isn’t particularly expensive, making aosa miso soup a very fitting companion to sushi.

OK, so P.K. says you should order some aosa miso soup, but which restaurant should you order it at? To find out, he hit up Japan’s big four kaitenzushi restaurant chains, Kappa Sushi, Kura Sushi, Hama Sushi, and Sushiro.

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

● Kappa Sushi (220 yen [US$1.60])

“At 220 yen, Kappa Sushi’s aosa miso soup is the most expensive of the four chains’, but it’s packed with aosa! Seriously, you have aosa from the very first sip all the way to the last drop. The flavor is pretty salty, but it’s really tasty, and I can’t overstress how much aosa you get.”

● Kura Sushi (199 yen)

“This is some elegant miso soup, with the aroma and flavor of mitsuba herb and bonito dashi stock playing big parts. The saltiness is toned down, and you really get the sense that Kura Sushi is proud of their dashi’s flavor, and rightfully so. You don’t get as much aosa as Kappa gives you, but overall, this is a the more polished and delicious soup.”

● Hama Sushi (110 yen)

“This is the most budget-friendly of the bunch. That also means the smallest amount of aosa, but this is still a good choice if you’re just in the mood to add an aosa accent to your meal. It’s not particularly salty, with a nice, mellow flavor.”

● Sushiro (198 yen)

“The dashi is good, and not overpowered by salt, but you don’t get all that much aosa. Judged entirely on its own, there’s nothing wrong with it, but compared to the others on this list, Sushiro’s soup feels sort of unfocused and lackluster. If it had a little more aosa, or was a little cheaper, that’s help it have more of an identity and stand out.”

So to sum things up: P.K. found Kura’s aosa miso soup to be the best-tasting, Kappa’s the most aosa-y, Hama’s the most affordable, and Sushiro’s…well, Sushiro’s was pretty good too, even if it’s in some sort of nebulous undefined middle ground between all the others.

Before walking away from the taste-testing tables, though, P.K. has one other piece of advice, which is actually related to another popular kaitzensushi side order item, chawanmushi (steamed egg custard).

Remember how P.K. said that the dashi in Kura Sushi’s miso soup is the best? The same goes for the dashi in their chawanmushi (pictured above). So if you find yourself craving sushi, but don’t want to make a meal entirely out of it, P.K. recommends a trip to Kura, since you’ve got at least two very tasty non-sushi things to enjoy there.

Photos © SoraNews24
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