Friday, February 5, 2016

Travel: The Sushi-Go-Round

    I am all about life hacks, those little things that make life easier or more organized or just less stressful.  About six months ago we adopted a set schedule for our weeknight meals.   Since my daughter has food allergies, I make all our meals at home from scratch using specially ordered ingredients.  That's right, three meals a day seven days a week.  It's not fun, but it keeps her healthy so I do it.  But, there were times when I didn't have a plan, everyone was hungry, and I just couldn't figure out what to make.  So, we had a little family meeting (over dinner so we weren't thinking on empty stomachs) and decided that our week would look like this:  Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Spaghetti Wednesdays, Left-Overs Thursdays, Pizza Fridays. 
    Everything was going so smoothly until I ran out of two of the three major ingredients in my allergy friendly pizza crust recipe.  By Friday night, after over a dozen meals, our cupboard is pretty bare and without pizza ingredients I had no plan B.  Since it takes about three weeks for all those special ingredients to arrive by mail, I knew we needed to come up with something else.  My children suggested we visit our local sushi-go-round, (kaiten sushi in Japanese). 
    If you're unfamiliar with this type of eatery here's a link to a youtube video that explains it more thoroughly, but in a nutshell it's a mainly automated system where food passes around on a conveyor belt and you grab whatever seems good to you as many times as you'd like.  Plates are color coded so you can tell the price, though at our favorite spot almost everything is 100 yen ($0.85 in US dollars).  Special order items are available through the touch screen at each table and in fancier restaurants there is a slot at your table where you can send your dirty plates to the wash while simultaneously calculating your bill.  At places like that you also pay the bill with the touchscreen.  At our spot we use the touch screen to call some one over who measures our stack of 100 yen plates and then adds up our special order items. 

The touch screen menu has all the specialty items.
When our order is coming a chime sounds at our table to let us know we should be ready to grab it.
This is my standard order of tempura pumpkin slices, corn & mayo sushi, and thin sliced beef.
I always go for dessert, because Japanese desserts are amazing!
My strawberry parfait has some very rich ice cream and whipped cream on the top, followed by a layer of puffed rice in strawberry syrup and a very bland milk jello (which is not the same as vanilla pudding) on the bottom to bring balance to the richness.
    I don't really enjoy going out to eat; it just seems so much more stressful than staying home and making it myself.  But, when it comes to kaiten sushi, the experience is stress free and I find myself looking forward to it all week.  When we do leave Japan one day, this is one among many, many things I am really going to miss.  And after a night at the Sushi-Go-Round we keep the fun going with at least one game of Sushi-Go!  It took all of us working together to get the hang of the instructions but it quickly became one of our favorite family night games and what better way to end our evening.

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