| ||"You've seen them all over Taipei, and there are a few now in Taichung and
We're talking about conveyor belt sushi shops here. You know, those
restaurants that feature plates of sushi, sashimi, assorted salads and fruit
around in circles, hour after hour, until there's hardly anything left. In
style of sushi restaurant is very popular, and is known as 'kaiten zushi' in
(literally, 'rotating sushi'). English-speakers often call them 'conveyor
shops. They're popular all over the world now, from London to Guam, from New
York to Taipei and they're becoming ubiquitous islandwide. Sometimes they're called
shops here because the food goes around the counter on a small toy train track
with a real
toy train engine pulling all the 'sushi cars' behind it.
If the world of sushi is not only your oyster, but also your ika (squid), your
(tuna) or your uni (sea urchin), circle sushi joints make the perfect
place to plop
yourself down at a long winding counter and indulge. At affordable prices,
Watch the red and blue and white plates
go by, each with their own price, whetting your appetite and giving new
meaning to the
term 'raw fish'. Oishii, neh!
While delighting in the pleasures of sushi in a refined, traditional
restaurant is one of
life's finest experiences, eating at a conveyor belt sushi restaurant in
Tienmou is another kind of sushi experience.
The fish is fresh and tasty, but it's not gourmet
dining, by any stretch of the imagination. You get what you pay for, and it's
Service is quick and efficient, mainly because
there is no need for waiters or waitresses. You just lean over the counter,
the sushi plate you've been ogling and place it in front of you. Drink the
free tea that
is provided, or help it all go down with some good Taiwan or Japanese beer --
hot sake is
also available at most conveyor belt sushi shops -- and enjoy your lunch (or
'I like these kind of restaurants because I can eat quickly and choose what I
Ruby Lin, a 31-year-old college student in Chiayi City, sitting at the narrow
the newly-opened 'Sakana', the southern city's only conveyor belt sushi
shop. 'Plus, it's
While Americans and Australians and the Taiwanese seem to have gone ape over
sushi joints, not everyone in Japan -- where the concept was first invented --
about them. Some Japanese parents forbid their children to eat it them, for
reasons! Here in Taiwan, they're clean and inspected regularly by heatlh
no need to worry.
Conveyor belt sushi shops are everywhere in Japan and have developed their own
culinary and dining subculture over the last 20 years, even though serious
don't always approve.
'Visit almost any train station in most major towns in Japan and
you'll probably be within a chopstick's length of a kaiten zushi shop',
Johnathan Goff of Tokyo. 'But [to be honest], kaiten zushi's reputation
among the Japanese
people generally leaves a fair bit to be desired.'
'For the uninitiated, the typical experience in Japan usually involves a
perched on a high stool at a narrow table watching gaudily-colored plates of
sushi roll by
on a conveyor belt until someone decides it is ripe for consumption. Despite
conditioning, the pallid fish lies limply in a state of post-death suffering.
A kind of
cheap and cheerful get-it-down-you-and-move-on dining experience, but without