Just look for Big Tom standing out front.

Not too long ago, our rambling reporter Ikuna Kamezawa traveled to the South East Asian country of Laos, and while there had a sudden hankering for sushi. A Google Map search revealed the familiar name of Japanese restaurant chain Sushiro, but when Ikuna arrived she found that not all Sushiro’s were created equal and ended up in a different kind of sushi restaurant that was out of her price range.

Not one to give up, our reporter headed over to the nearest ATM in the capital city of Vientiane and loaded up on kips to try once more. She also checked Google Maps again and found a different sushi restaurant with an even more memorable name.

Public transportation options were few and far between here, so Ikuna got around mostly by motorbike.

Luckily, her smartphone map made finding places a breeze – not that Yakuza Oishi Sushi was particularly easy to miss.

Outside was an inflatable figure of the restaurant’s mascot Big Tom. That seemed like more of a mafia name, but maybe in Laos “yakuza” was just a generic term for organized crime, kind of like how we often call the bratva the Russian mafia.

The interior was surprisingly spacious. Ikuna had arrived just after the lunch rush so there weren’t many people around, which just made the dining area look even bigger.

It definitely had a Japanese vibe in terms of decoration and on one wall was a mural with cherry blossoms, Mt. Fuji, torii gates, and of course, Big Tom with two samurai swords on his back and a big tub of raw seafood in each hand.

Ikuna frequently looked around to see if Big Tom was a real person that worked at Yakuza Oishi Sushi, but no one there matched the various depictions of him.

The menu was written in Lao, English, and Chinese, suggesting that this restaurant was geared more towards Chinese customers than Japanese ones. The pictures of the different foods were all very flashy though and she could see this being the kind of sushi that a yakuza member might like.

And like many Chinese-style sushi restaurants, there was an all-you-can-eat buffet deal for 389,000 kips which equates to about 2,900 yen (US$21).

Unlike last time, Ikuna had the money to cover that but wasn’t quite hungry enough for it, so she decided to just order plate-by-plate. The raw oysters looked good but she didn’t want to chance them. The restaurant looked very clean but you can never be too careful and a vacation is never a good time to contract vibriosis.

Instead, she got a plate of shrimp tempura for 35,000 kips or about 260 yen ($2). It was crispy and delicious.

Next, she got some wagyu beef sushi for the same price as the shrimp which made her wonder if it was really wagyu beef. Still, the sushi rice used was of a very high quality for a restaurant outside of Japan.

Then, Ikuna grabbed a three-piece set of sushi for 95,000 kips or 711 yen ($5) featuring tuna, salmon, and tilapia, the last of which is not a commonly eaten fish in Japan.

In fact, our reporter had no idea what tilapia even was, but she was really getting into the sweet sauce that each piece was sitting in.

Finally, Ikuna wanted something a little different and ordered a plate of yakisoba for 29,000 kips or about 217 yen ($1.54). It was a lot sweeter than she expected.

Altogether she spent 204,000 kips which equated to about 1,528 yen ($11). Not bad for a midday meal, and as she ate the restaurant gradually filled up with groups of Chinese customers. They all seemed to be enjoying the buffet and were drinking and singing merrily as they ate.

▼ Looks like the owners here don’t care about Amazon reviews either

▼ Yakuza Oishi Sushi’s location

Unfortunately, Ikuna left without any closure to the legend of Big Tom or how anything about that restaurant was related to the yakuza. But it had a lot of luxurious food that kind of made her feel as if she were eating like a high-rolling yakuza member, and that was good enough.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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