Bandwagons and gold diggers. Once something’s hot and mainstream it will most likely get exploited. As we all know, sushi is hot, and now it’s come to that stage.
How can we make it faster, cheaper, and offer more?! This is the general direction for most new sushi bars.
To cut costs, frozen tuna is often used, lower in quality with almost no flavor, still safe to eat, at almost half the price of good fresh tuna. The grace of a skilled sushi chef with his/her’s knife is also a dying breed. Tuna, salmon, white fish, just about every fish is now available frozen, trimmed, and pre-cut. hell I’ve even been approached by American fish companies asking if I would be interested in buying pre-made frozen ready to eat California and spicy tuna rolls!!
Sauces, stocks, soups are also offered up in pre-made packaging. When I learned sushi, unagi (eel) sauce was one of the sauces I was taught. It is a pain in the ass to make as it has to be watched and takes up to four days to make, and with one small mistake it would burn and you would have to start over.
Simple mathematics: all you can eat sushi is not the ideal place you want to go for fresh sushi. Yes, it’s cheap, but so is the quality. Good fresh tuna wholesale is around $15 a pound, plus waste from trimming. So if you go to an all you can eat place and it’s $20 bucks, you are getting cheap frozen fish. Frozen tuna that is safe to eat raw can be found for about $7 to $9 a pound.
Along with the fish, so many other factors also come in play. The rice. Good sushi restaurants will use a good medium to short grain rice that’s about $30 to $50 for a fifty pound bag — compared to lower end rice that is around $15 to $20 for a fifty pound bag.
Bottom line, with sushi you get what you pay for..