I’m a big fan of Chinese buffet restaurants. You can pig out and eat deep fried pork as much as your belly can hold or you can eat nothing but meat and vegetables. Or maybe take a golden path between the two.
In recent years, sushi has become a stable in the Finnish food circle and the number of restaurants offering sushi has increased dramatically. Almost all Chinese buffets now also serve sushi, often in unlimited quantities. Naturally the quality of buffet sushi (which is prepared sometimes hours beforehand) isn’t usually that high. However, it’s definitely high enough for me to have stopped going into the run of the mill sushi restaurants and chains. The price of a Chinese buffet is almost always below the price of a medium-sized sushi platter and as a bonus, I never have to wait for my food to arrive.
What would make me go back to eating ‘real’ sushi? The same thing that makes me buy Ben & Jerry’s that’s somewhere between 5 to 10 times as expensive as regular ice cream: creating an outstanding product with an outstanding story. The absolute vast majority of sushi restaurants are completely mediocre in every aspect imaginable: service, food, price, tea, location, interior etc.. In the long run, mediocrity in a competitive market leads to cutting costs, shortcuts, diminishing customer flows and potentially, downfall. Businesses which do the opposite, flourish and often market only by word of mouth (the ultimate form of marketing).
Fun fact #1: When I visited Japan for the first time, I had never eaten sushi before in my life. My friend took me to a kaiten sushi restaurant and after my first bite into a wasabi-filled nigiri, I quickly resorted into eating only chicken nuggets and pieces of cake meant for kids. My taste buds have evolved since.
Fun fact #2: Some of the best, if not the best, sushi in Helsinki is made by Sushi wagocoro. I’ve never had the chance to visit, but word of mouth and a near 100% 5-star rating on Facebook are good enough for me.
Fun fact #3: My favorite Chinese buffet in Helsinki is Kuwano (formerly known as Hao King) and can be found in the same building as the Kamppi bus terminal.