Omakase or Okonomi: How to Order Your Delicious Sushi?

  • HOW TO
  • One of the nice things about eating sushi is that diners can enjoy eating their meal with their fingers or with their chopsticks without having to worry too much about their manners. But even more importantly, they are free to choose how they like their sushi to be served. There are usually two options when ordering sushi: ‘omakase’ and ‘okonomi’. If you are not very much familiar with the way to order sushi, then you might find yourself in trouble once the bill comes. Thus, here is a quick recap on omakase and okonomi.

    Omakase: Chef’s Choice

    Omakase literally means ‘I will leave it to you’, and in a sushi restaurant this means that you are leaving your order in the hands of the chef. You are giving the sushi chef the freedom to exercise his culinary creativity whilst making a friendly gesture and thus, you cannot make any requests. Of course, omakase doesn’t work well at chain restaurants with very limited ingredients, or if you are a picky eater.

    But if you plan to make your sushi dining experience truly memorable and you are prepared to spend some serious money, then omakase maybe right up your alley. The chef, of course, knows exactly what fish and other seafood arrived recently, and will do his best to serve you the freshest ingredients and special dishes that you might have never thought of to order by yourself.

    Be prepared to shell out, though, as your mystery bill could easily run around 20,000 yen, depending on the restaurant. After all, the chef has offered his excellent service to you.

    Okonomi: Your Choice

    If you are not planning to splurge too much on sushi, then okonomi is the way to go. Okonomi is where you order what you like. In some sushiya (sushi restaurants), a ‘tsumami’ (a Japanese style appetizer) is usually served first, followed by the sushi. However, customers can also stick to sushi alone. Some restaurants encourage diners to tell how much they are willing to spend so that they could adjust the types of sushi they will serve a bit according to the diner’s budget. Diners should also keep in mind that some toppings that are more expensive than others, like otoro (fatty tuna) or good quality uni (sea urchin).

    So, how would you like your sushi to be served again?