As all connoisseurs know, the best kind of sushi is the type that doesn’t come round on a conveyor belt. Having it made in front of you by a master sushi chef doesn’t come cheap though – the price can often be as eye watering as the wasabi. Sushi-zanmai, however, is a nationwide chain of 46 sushi restaurants that aims to make first-rate sushi more affordable. It has become particularly famous for offering top-quality bluefin tuna at a very reasonable price. The words “restaurant chain” usually suggest a group of restaurants that are all exactly the same, but Sushi-zanmai is different. The staff of each restaurant visit a local fish market every morning to personally select the best fish. Their Tenjin location is just minutes from Nagahama fish market, giving them access to the freshest locally caught fish. “The markets in Fukuoka are cheaper than those in Tokyo,” says manager Mr. Takagi, explaining how they are able to offer all of their sushi for 20-50% off the regular price. Salmon starts at just ¥78 per piece and lean tuna is only ¥148. As well as the Tenjin restaurant, there are also Sushi-zanmais in Nakasu, Hakata and Tenjin-minami, all with menus in English, Chinese and Korean.
Menu (tax excl.): Fatty tuna ¥298/pc., medium fatty tuna ¥248/pc., partially grilled fatty tuna ¥298/pc., lean tuna ¥148/pc., salmon ¥78/pc., etc. *no table charge
*Prices to change from Oct. 1, 2019 following tax increase
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn157 Jan. 2012)