Will the conveyor belt sushi chain’s recent playful menu item be as much fun to eat as it is to look at?

You could say that our ace Japanese-language correspondent Mr. Sato gets to play around on the job more than a typical reporter. At least, we’re pretty sure that most journalists don’t do half-assed cosplays as Olympic panda mascots or learn how to crush walnuts with their butts at work. Therefore, it was an easy choice for him to drop by conveyor belt sushi chain Kappa Sushi once he caught wind that it was offering a very limited-time promotion of an unusually large menu item. He hadn’t eaten there in quite some time so this was the perfect excuse to pay a visit.

Kappa Sushi’s Itabashi branch in Tokyo was the most convenient for him to head to. It’s a giant restaurant with seating for 258 customers, so finding an empty seat as a solo diner wasn’t a problem.

Upon sitting down, Mr. Sato immediately saw the yancha menu item. Yancha refers to a misbehaving child in Japanese, and the picture of this salmon salad mountain (330 yen [US$2.28]) certainly looked like something that a naughty kid had slapped together with its layers of salmon, roe, and seafood salad. Furthermore, it was only being offered for one week from September 26 through October 2.

“As introduced on TV! It looks and tastes amazing!” But would its taste really be as good as how it looked…?

As someone who has high expectations for food, Mr. Sato is disappointed  when a dish doesn’t live up to them. He placed his order and waited patiently until the mini bullet train pulled up next to him on the sushi conveyor belt…

…carrying an actual small mountain of sushi.

Well, it certainly looked legitimate! Big slabs of salmon, glistening fish roe, and creamy salad seemed to taunt him from the plate.

Turning the dish around, it looked like a sushi version of a human pyramid with six sushi rolls stacked on top of each other. He had to appreciate the ingenuity of the dish.

Upon taking a bite, he was pleased to know that its taste lived up to its appearance. None of the individual ingredients were out of place and they blended together seamlessly.

It was truly a childlike creation for adult palates.

Since Mr. Sato generally goes big or goes home, the salmon salad mountain wasn’t the only thing he ordered, either. The other sushi items ended up being more delicious than he remembered as well. Perhaps it was because all Kappa Sushi locations started using the top-quality Haenuki variety of rice from Yamagata Prefecture in May 2021. In fact, the chain is so confident in the quality of their vinegared sushi rice that they sell a plate with nothing but three blocks of sushi rice for 110 yen.

In particular, the amberjack sushi (two pieces for 110 yen) was extraordinarily fresh and surprised Mr. Sato. It had a rich umami flavor that seemed to far surpass its price tag. He really was quite pleasantly surprised.

The quality of the sushi, reasonable price, and willingness to play a little with food have all heightened Mr. Sato’s opinion of Kappa Sushi in general. His recent visit has also revised its presence in the hierarchy of the Big 4 conveyor belt sushi chains. He’ll definitely pay more attention the next time that we do a taste test comparison at all four of them.

Reference: Kappa Sushi
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