This Japanese sushi chain is famous for its cheap eats, but staff have just told us what the best things on the menu really are.

It’s time for our latest instalment in the “Clerk’s Own-Pocket Recommendation” series, a project where we visit some of the country’s top chains and ask staff who work there what they’d really order from their place of work when paying out of their own pocket.

This instalment takes us to Sushiro, one of Japan’s top sushi conveyor belt chains, a frequent haunt for our reporter P.K. Sanjun, who has his own list of favourite items, pictured below.

Like many people, P.K. has become set in his ways, ordering what he always does at Sushiro whenever he visits, so he was looking forward to finding out what a clerk who works there would eat on their own dime.

His waiter that day happened to be a woman in her thirties who appeared to know exactly how to tickle P.K.s taste buds. What’s more, her top recommendation, which we’ve listed at the very bottom of this article, is a particularly rare find, so let’s take a quick look at the six things she recommended, using the names as they appear on the Japanese menu so you can easily order them like a pro.

Chawanmushi (250 yen [US$1.79])

Sushiro also has an “ankake” (a thick, starchy sauce) chawanmushi (egg custard), but P.K.’s waitress recommends the regular type as her preferred option. It just goes to show that when you’re dealing with a crowd favourite like chawanmushi, you don’t have to make it fancy to make it delicious.

Mala Fuumi Aka Ebi Agenegi Soe (150 yen)

This mouthful of a name translates to “Mala-flavoured Red Shrimp With Fried Green Onions“, with mala being a spicy seasoning made from chilli and Sichuan peppercorns. As you might expect, this dish delivers a surprising punch of heat that helps make the already delicious red shrimp even more flavourful.

Shime Saba Bettara Nose (150 yen)

Shime saba is pickled mackerel, and “bettara nose” means it’s “topped” (“nose”) with bettara-zuke (daikon pickled in salted rice yeast). The waitress recommended this dish for its seasonality, saying it’s best eaten at this time of year, and P.K. had to agree — not only was the bettara-zuke delectably sweet, it also gave the dish a pleasant crunchy texture, elevating it above other mackerel dishes.

Ankimo (210 yen)

Ankimo (monkfish liver) is considered to be one of Japan’s finest delicacies, so it’s nice to see it available at a budget sushi chain like Sushiro. Being a red-plate dish, this particular item is priced midway between the lower priced yellow and higher-priced black plate items, but it’s worth it for its rich, foie gras-like flavour and slightly tart ponzu jelly, which makes it delicious on its own or with a sip of sake.

Nanbantei Kanshuu Tare Zangi (420 yen)

Nanbantei is a humble restaurant in Hokkaido that’s famous for its Tare Zangi, (“Sauce Zangi”), and this dish has been supervised (“kanshuu”) by them. “Zangi” is deep fried chicken that’s similar to karaage, with the difference being that it’s marinated before being fried, and it’s a soul food from Hokkaido that’s so famous it even has its own Pepsi. This was a great side dish recommendation from our waitress, as it was super crispy and the sweetly sour marinade was absolutely delicious.

Ikejime Hamachi Harami (150 yen)

Hamachi harami, or young yellowtail belly, was the very first thing our waitress recommended to P.K., and it was so good he left it for the last reveal. What makes it so special is the fact that it’s not on the menu every day, and the waitress says she always eats it when it’s available. The belly meat was sublime, and P.K. was totally seduced by it, vowing to keep an eye out for it from now on.

All six items recommended by the waitress were totally delicious, but for P.K. the hamachi belly was truly outstanding. He was so impressed by it that he ordered another three plates of it during his visit, and he still thinks about its deliciousness even now, days later.

P.K. had always thought Sushiro was delicious, but the waitress’s recommendations far exceeded his expectations. So next time you visit Sushiro, why not ask the staff for their own personal recommendations? Hopefully when you’re there you’ll be able to spot the hamachi belly on the menu, because then you’ll be in for a real treat!

Related: Sushiro
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