If your desire for sushi is as strong as mine, but you are trying to keep costs down, recession friendly sushi isn’t that hard to find. While I could eat sushi every day, not only is it impractical, but I would quickly reduce my nest egg to a scramble. But I am usually able to satisfy my sushi craving and remain within my budget by observing a set of guidelines that I was prompted to share. Sushi is great food and a healthful treat, so there is no reason why a person should not be able to enjoy it on a regular basis. By keeping the following tips in mind, you should be able to enjoy it more often than you realize without breaking your budget.
1. Avoid the fancy house rolls
House rolls tend to be mixes of a lot of things, and the more items they pile on, the more expensive the item is. While one or two huge rolls may be filling, you will probably have a more nutritious and filling meal by ordering a few basic items, along with the satisfaction of variety. Often you are paying for the name of the roll rather than the food itself, and these rolls can be loaded with fillers such as panko (bread crumbs), sprouts, and other tasty yet valueless items. By ordering rolls or sushi/sashimi with items that you specifically want, not only will you spend less money, but you will get more of what you specifically want.
2. Order the sashimi platter
Fat and protein fill you up much better than carbohydrates (rice) so a nice filling meal can easily be made of the default sashimi platter, or a few choice pieces of sashimi. Restaurants will often have a sashimi platter that is a great value versus ordering sashimi items a la carte. One additional benefit of the platter is that you may end up trying items that you would never think to order and find that you enjoy them. And if you particularly dislike a certain type of fish, they will often make substitutions if you ask.
3. Drink tea with your meal
You might be tempted to try that great house wine, or the Momokowa Diamond sake, but green tea is usually offered for free, and goes well with sushi. It’s a great way to shave off a significant amount of cost from your overall bill, particularly for those who like to sip something other than water while dining. Green tea is quite good for you as well, so it’s a double benefit, you can keep to your budget and have a healthful and tasty treat too.
4. All You Can Eat
There are restaurants that offer “all you can eat” sushi buffets. They usually won’t not include the top of the line items (e.g. toro), but they will have plenty of the basics, and lots of them. I used to do this every Sunday morning at a local restaurant and always rolled away satisfied. By searching the Internet you can easily find many lists of these restaurants, so prepare yourself for a sushi feast without breaking the bank (“all you can eat” is often abbreviated “AYCE,” which may come in handy for those searches).
5. Eat more of the filler foods
Order a roll or a few pieces of sushi along with one of the many inexpensive items on the menu. Often for just a few dollars you can also have a bowl of rice, or edamame (steamed immature soybeans), soup, or some other simple yet filling food. A bowl of edamame and a salmon roll can make for a filling meal.
6. Make sushi at home
Easier said that done you may think, however making sushi at home is actually easier than you realize. While the initial learning curve may be steep, it is fun. Making sushi at home is significantly cheaper than going out to a restaurant, you would be amazed. I make sushi at home just about every month and the costs are in line with any other normal dinner expense. All you need is some sushi grade fish (I get mine from my local Japanese grocery store), and a decent guide to making sushi at home, which I have made.
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While we haven’t attempted to make our own sushi, my wife and I like to order our sushi as take out. That way we supply our own beverages, side dishes & appetizers (those high margin items really add to the bill when one is dining out.) Also, there is no need to tip our server, although we do like to tip the sushi chef even when taking out.