A dollar sushi: why we should and should not?

A tiny note:

The review about the taste above is a general review. There is no fish taste the same. The weather, size, quality, the source of the fish and how the sushi chef prepare them are important aspects to the taste and texture. We try to write as accurate as possible. Therefore, we are looking forward to the reader to participate in the discussion/comment to add/adjust/revise those review. Please mention when, where and specific detail how you review the fish.

It is insane that people spend $300 for 40 minutes sushi meals. Right!, you have experienced a fancy, fantastic, unique, and “best of the best” sea creatures. Do we have to spend “Tiffany-price” for sushi? No. If you live in NYC, there are many “a dollar” sushi place around the city. You can substitute your “green Washington picture” with a piece of sushi. The price of sushi is less than a dozen of gum. However, you have forgotten that eating sushi is risky for your health. It does not matter $300 sushi or a dollar sushi, both may be dangerous for your health.

Below are interesting discussions about what you should know and should not know from eating a dollar sushi. Those question and answer are in sushi restaurant owner side. Some facts that you should not know because you may not visit “a dollar sushi” business anymore.


It is not smaller, however, it is thinner

The sushi restaurant owners know well how to trick their customers. Owners need to reduce the size of the fish, so they can sell their sushi for a dollar. If the chef cut smaller piece, the customers will realize and start to complain. Cut thinner is the smartest way to reduce their food cost. However, chef must cut the fish while it is frozen, otherwise, the meat will break.

One time experience

You can eat unhealthy meals, however, it is not for everyday meals. Sushi should be a healthy meals because there is no chemical added such as MSG, no fried with chemical and processed oil. A dollar sushi should not be categorized in this healthy meals. Please refer to the next discussion. Therefore, please be sure that your body is in extremely fit condition before you eat a dollar sushi.

A dollar sushi vs a norm size sushi. Thinner cut, not smaller. A dollar sushi: a little bit tangy, more fishy smell, a little slimy-sticky outside. Color is a little purple instead bright red.

Economical fact

The fish price always go up because the market. “A dollar” sushi restaurants have to compete harder to selling cheap meals. There are many tricks that they have been used. One of them is knowing the vendor. Fish importers always have leftover, bad quality, old stock or whatever reason fish. After a year, they must sell the stocks before it changes the color and spoiled. They prefer sell this stock for less price to anyone than discarded, of course.

Talk about the rice, a norm sushi uses good quality Japanese rice. High end sushi restaurants pay extra for short grain rice (Corson, p. 37). It is buttery, stick each other and soft. Nishiki rice costs you around $1/lb. A dollar sushi restaurant should save the food cost in anything including the rice. Substitute the Japanese rice with broken rice is a great solution. People may not realize this because it is a sushi. The rice is seating below the fish and you may not see it.

Color does not show the freshness

Bad fish does not always have different color. There are technologies such as super frozen, CO2 threatened or other new technologies to do the magic for color. The tuna is seemed nice red flesh and salmon has wonderful orange color, however, the colors are not signs for the freshness and quality.

Selling quantity instead quality

There is no explanation needed. Like a soda business, Coca Cola and Pepsi. They are selling by quantity to generate profit. Using sushi robot is one of the solution. Therefore, you may see cheap sushi in Wallgrens and other groceries store. Those sushi may stay in a day.

Selling sushi cheaper and selling drinks for more

This is another technique to generate the profit. More restaurants do this trick. You should not surprise that a dollar sushi restaurant sell a soda can for 3 bucks and charge a dollar for hot tea. It is a norm. That the way they generate profit. Sorry, selling an ice tab water is illegal in NYC. Serving an ice tab water is required in NYC. Otherwise, they may sell an ice tab water too.


Frozen fillet instead of fresh

Restaurant bought frozen fillets instead fresh whole fish. Is it matter? It does for the business. They don’t have to cut the head, tail, skin and bone. They will save money in labor and waste of fish part. Forget about the fresh tuna in a dollar sushi restaurant. You may get an Indonesian frozen yellowfin tuna for a dollar sushi instead Boston Blue-Fin Tuna. Am I getting “non-fresh” sushi? It has hard to answer the question. Is fresh means fresh caught or fresh thawed from refrigerator? A dollar sushi is fresh thawed from refrigerator. You may not get sick if your body is not sensitive and in a fit condition. However, if you are in “so-so” condition, you should avoid eating a dollar sushi.

Fish that you get

A dollar sushi restaurant unable to sell all type of fish for a dollar. Blue fin tuna can be $25/lb and belly (toro) part can reach $50/lb up in AAA quality. No, that worked out to nearly $400 per pound (Corson, p.249). However, yellowfin tuna saku in A quality can be $6/lb. Who knows A, AA, or AAA grade? Only fish suppliers, FDA and importers. Definitely, you can’t find blue fin tuna in a dollar sushi restaurant. As a dollar sushi restaurant owners, they buy whatever the fish that the supplier offer them for less money. No doubt, quality is the second priority. Easy to prove this situation. Go to local grocery and compare it with fish on the lobster place, NYC or other good quality seafood place. Compare the price and quality.

You ordered red snapper, it does not mean you will eat red snapper

There are many cases about mislabeled fish. Anyway, the customer will not know the big differences. You may see the label red snapper or yellowtail in a dollar sushi menu. However, you must know that genuine red snapper is a luxury fish and expensive. What you get? similar one; either caribbean red snapper, crimson snapper, goldbanded jobfish,ocean perch, porgy/seabream, spotted rose snapper, tilapia, tilefish, or white bass. Is it fraud? Could be. Is it danger? some fishes have been banned by FDA to be eaten raw. So you know what it means.


Sushi preparation is not easy. Cutting the head, bones, and skin need plenty times. After, the meat should be treated in specific ways. Therefore, many good sushi restaurants open dinner only because they have to do plenty preparations in lunch.

Mackerel is perilous to serve raw. (Corson, p.143). There are live larvaes and parasites in all mackerel family. The only ways to kill them are salting the fish and soaking them in vinegars for hours. Did I mention “hours”? It may not be enough time, space, and labor to treat mackerel in that ways in a dollar sushi restaurant. They cut and serve mackerels as quick as possible.

Salmon is the famous fish ever, raw or cooked in United States. Salmon is juicy, flavorful, tasty and soft. Salmon sushi is so great until we do not notice that it is more danger than mackerel. They’re worse than mackerel. (Corson, p. 179). Salmon’s parasites and larvaes will stay live and infect people. Sushi restaurants should freeze salmon for 18 hours in below -31F or a week in below -4F. Again, a dollar sushi restaurant does not have enough time to treat salmon for hours and good freezer which can froze below -31F.

Mackerel and salmon are the sample case why Japanese pregnant woman still eat sushi in expensive sushi restaurant.

What you bought What you got
Red snapper Caribbean red snapper, crimson snapper, goldbanded jobfish, ocean perch, porgy/seabream, spotted rose snapper, tilapia, tilefish, white bass, yellowtail snapper
White Tuna Escolar
Halibut Tilefish
Wild Salmon, king salmon Rainbow Trout, Farmed atlantic salmon
Pacific Cod Catfish
Grouper Nile Perch, bream
Striped bass white bass



Eating a dollar sushi is an experience. It is a cheap experience that you can get it while you have thinner wallet. Cheap and affordable. You should not eat it in very often. One time experience is more than enough. If you consider with your health, stay away. The sushi chef or the owner always not tell you the truth. However, it is a common sense and fact that you can prove it yourself.