Friday, January 20, 2012

Price of Sushi Buffet vs. Making Sushi at Home

The bf and I have taken a big liking to sushi in the past couple of years.  There is a sushi buffet (Tokyo Buffet & Lounge) a few miles from our house which we frequent about once a month.  The 15% off coupons that we receive monthly in the mail help our cause.  We used to go to the Sushi House and buy sushi by the roll.  While this is more expensive (if we buy the exciting rolls), I feel that the sushi was better; less American-ized and we had more of a selection.

Recently, I decided to try this sushi making myself.  I was intimidated by a lot of websites which emphasized that the first time you make sushi yourself, it will be a disaster and practice makes perfect.  Well, my sushi turned out really good!  I was able to make the rolls fine, and our choice of California Rolls (cucumber, avocado and imitation crab) and Philadelphia Rolls (smoked salmon, cucumber, avocado and cream cheese) removed my fear of dealing with raw fish.

Of all the time it took me to make my sushi and the materials needed, one must ponder:
Is making sushi at home really cheaper than going out to a sushi buffet or a "by the roll" restaurant?!
I would say that it is, no doubt, cheaper than going to a sushi place and paying by the roll for the fancy sushi.  But is it cheaper than an $18 buffet of all you can eat sushi?!

Sushi Buffet for 4 people:
$18 x 4 = $72

Sushi for 4, bought at a "by the roll" Restaurant:
10 rolls total.  5 California Roll and 5 Philadelphia Roll (same amount as I made at home)
$4 x 5 = $20
$6 x 5 = $30
                       = $50

Sushi Made at home for 4 people:

Initial Materials:
Ingredients (or tools) that you need to make sushi that you don't need to purchase every time, or only need to purchase once.
  • Bamboo Mat - $5
  • Wasabi - $7
  • Pickled Ginger - $2.50
  • Rice Vinegar - $3

Continual Materials:
Ingredients that need to be purchased each time sushi is made.
  • Nori (seaweed sheets) - $5
  • Sushi Rice - $2.50
  • Cucumber - $2.50
  • Smoked Salmon - $8
  • Imitation Crab - $5
  • Cream Cheese - $2
  • Avocado - $3

Pantry Ingredients and Previously Acquired Tools:
Ingredients that are normally in the pantry and tools that a normal kitchen already has.
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Sharp Knife
  • Saran Wrap
  • Sesame Seeds (optional)

(10 rolls = 2.5 rolls per person)
Continuous Materials: $28
Initial Materials: $17.50
               = $45.50

The winner is....Making Sushi at Home! ....although not by much

If we don't include the initial materials, making sushi as home is a clear winner assuming the "at home" quality is as good as the restaurant quality.  Sushi making is a bit time consuming; it took me 3 hours.  But I enjoyed making it.  Hopefully next time I can try some more exotic rolls and see if my 1st time really was beginners luck!

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