Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Straight Off the Conveyor Belt at Sushi Express

With its smiling sushi character logo, Sushi Express is a favorite stop of mine in Taipei. Located inside the Global Mall, Sushi Express (like most conveyor belt-style sushi restaurants) always seems to crank up something new every time I visit. This time, the most unusual item that caught my attention was the mullet bottarga sushi wrapped in a seaweed band with a slice of white radish on top. This bland radish, I presumed, was served plain and not pickled for the purpose of offsetting the extreme saltiness of the mullet bottarga, a cured fish roe. It was salty, for sure, as well as dry and hard to chew—not sure it’s the ideal sushi dish, but it sure was exotic and new to me.

Also new to me was the sight of inari filled with mixed nuts and raisins—perhaps a true delight for the vegetarian, or for someone impressed by creative fillings (I was once wowed by a chef who stuffed a piece of inari with shrimp, asparagus, sprouts, wasabi tobiko and a green cocktail umbrella). Non-sushi dishes here include mussels baked with mayonnaise, even baby squid soaked in a dark sweet sauce with green onions sprinkled on top.

It’s a visual delight at Sushi Express, where an array of colorful fish and other edibles (only NT $30 a plate) breeze by on the conveyor belt as the overworked yet polite staff members scurry about. The biggest decisions you have to make here beg the questions Which Ones and How Many. Six plates at Sushi Express cost a mere NT $180 (just under $6 in U.S. dollars).

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