Hanamaru Sushi @Sapporo

I like to try to make good use of my time and waiting in line for restaurants isn’t usually my thing. These past two days I’ve been waiting in line for over an hour to have lunch at the same place just because it’s so good. In Japan, I guess that’s what you do if you want to have good food. At the moment I’m in line waiting to have sushi at Hanamaru Sushi in Sapporo.

I had it yesterday and so I thought I’d write a little review on why we love it here. Hanamaru Sushi has several locations and the most convenient for us while waiting for our evening flight is a Kaiten Sushi place at Stellar Place or the Sapporo JR Station. It’s on the 6th floor next to the Daimaru mall entrance and you can’t miss it with the long line in front of it.

The first thing you must do is to quickly get a number from the receptionist machine. You key in the number of people and choose what kind of seating you want. They then ask you if you want to key in your mobile number so they can call you. We don’t have a number so we just wait. Its in Japanese so watching the person in front of you is a good idea.

They have an english menu so if there’s something that isn’t coming around, just write down the number on the paper at your table and give it to sushi chef. Don’t forget to ask them for the menu as they have seasonal specials.

The dishes are colour coded for the price starting from around 160 yen to 350 yen with the blue dish being the least expensive. The English menu has all this translated for you complete with instructions so it’s pretty easy.

What about the sushi? The sushi is absolutely delicious and fresh. The small rice balls with long pieces of fresh fish taste absolutely divine. Maybe it’s the wait that makes it all the more special but we still love it. The price is also very reasonable compared to the quality of the fish. We ate for the world with yellow tail, uni, and eel and the season’s special shirako for a total of almost 20 dishes and it came to roughly 4,000yen.

Ok, I’ve finished writing this very long post and we are still waiting in line. Getting hungry! Itadakimasu


“ISAO” Japanese Fusion Sushi Bar


I’m taking a break from moving and clearing away clutter today and instead take myself on a virtual holiday to a great sushi place I tried out with my dear friends over the holidays.  It’s called “ISAO” and is located at Sukhumvit 31, accessible by BTS Phrom Phrong station.  (They have 1 parking space, so I recommend taking the BTS or the taxi.)  I like the sushi there, I like it very much and right now wish I could go for some “Jackie” or the “Spicy salmon.”


The restaurant is not big but it has a second level where they have quite a few tables.  Upon entering, you immediately feel like you are in Japan.  It’s clean, cosy and feels authentic surrounded by bamboos.  The tables and chairs are comfortable.  You could spend a good two hours there chatting away and catching up. (We did anyways)  I think it would also be a good “date” place or somewhere to just go have a nice quiet lunch if you are out of ideas and don’t want to spend your life in the shopping malls.


The best part though is the food.   It’s a fusion sushi bar so what did we eat? We ate sushi rolls.  Amongst the five of us we ordered 12 dishes.  Imagine that.  It was just ridiculously good we just wanted more and more and not one of them disappointed.   The presentation was good and the taste even better, we had various versions of cute caterpillars with smiley faces (Jackie) and Dragons with long bodies of avocado.  They had spider rolls and scallop (Volcano.)  If you don’t want rolls, they also have karage (fried chicken) and other choices like tonkatsu.  We had the chicken and that too was good.  The ingredients were fresh and it reminded me of the great sushi rolls I had in the US.  I’ve not had such good ones yet in Bangkok.  This one tops my list for fusion sushi rolls. 


Price wise? For ordinary rolls like spicy salmon/tuna its about 250thb (~$8) and the more exqusite ones like Jackie and Dragon are 350thb (~$11.5).  After twelve very fulfilling dishes coupled with some smoothies, we totalled about 750thb ($25) each, but then I don’t think people usually eat as much as we did.  We ate as if it were a buffet.  I have no excuse, but it was New Years’ Eve and we had our little mini gift exchange 🙂


Anyways, thank you my dear friends for being great always and also recommending this place to me….Gosh I want some now!  I read that the Chef’s from Chicago’s “Green Tea” but am not sure about that. Does anyone know for sure? Please share your experience if you’ve been there and love/not love this place 🙂  Itadakimasu 🙂 

Oh here’s their website:  www.isaotaste.com  If you want to make reservations, call them at +662-258-0645

Kaiten-sushi at Ueno, Tokyo

In Tokyo, I discovered quite by accident an unexpectedly good kaiten sushi place on my way to visit the Asakusa.  I had to change trains at Ueno and I was hungry, so I walked out the station to find something to eat.  It wasn’t the best sushi on earth, but it was definitely worth the price and extremely satisfying.  The salmon just melted in my mouth.  I discovered this little kaiten-sushi or conveyor belt sushi place called Oedo, just outside Ueno Station on a walking street opposite the station.  It’s built under the train tracks so it’s a tiny little place. 

Anyways, the wonderful thing is that this kaiten sushi place offers everything at one price.  All the sushi and rolls are priced at 126yen or just $1.5 !!  Absolutely wonderful.  Now it not only had salmon, grilled, salmon, but it also had yellow tail, eel, tuna, shrimp and just about anything you could think of.  Of course no toro nor sea urchin, that would be too wonderful.   I had two servings of the grilled salmon.  It was so fresh it melted in my mouth.  Oh I wish I could just hop out to have it again.

I wouldn’t mind going back there at all.  In fact, if I had more days in Tokyo, I would go back to eat there.  Next to me on one side was a man who really just sat there enjoying his meal.  He sat alone and just continued to pile up the dishes.  He sat there with a little grin and cared not what others were eating.  He asked the chef for special ones so he didn’t have to wait for the belt to come around.  Personal service. But since I don’t speak japanese you just have to do it the traditional way and pick up whatever you want to eat from the conveyor belt.  I love it, I get to sit there watching the food roll by and debate what I shall have for my next bite.

At the end of the meal, a lady comes around to count your dishes and tell you how much it costs.  It was so inexpensive I could hardly believe it.  The tea and wasabi was of course included already.  My extremely satisfying meal cost a mere 500yen or $6.  Now that’s even cheaper than what I can have in Thailand!  Itadakimasu!