When I went to Japan last year I treated myself with the luxury of travelling on business class. I was going alone, it was the trip of a lifetime and I wanted to try something that most probably I was not going to be able to do it again in the future. The cost of the ticket was higher, but I enjoyed it massively.
In order to fund my expensive airplane trip, I had to compromise on some other expenses. As I was travelling by myself I did not really care about good hotels or posh restaurants. As my visit to Japan was in the end of the winter I did manage to get most hotels around 80 euro. Concerning the cheap food I did eat a lot of Sukiya. Sukiyaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! (http://www.sukiya.jp/)
Sukiya is a fast food chain in Japan that serve Gyu-Don – cow meat with onions, soya, and the “secret” sukiya sauce. This meat is then served over cooked japanese rice. Depending on the dish other ingredients are added such as eggs, spring onions, cheese, tomato sauce or vegetables. The Sukiya chain can be found all over Japan.
One of the biggest selling points of the Sukiya chain is that it is fast and cheap. When you go in a Sukiya shop it seems a bit complicated, but in fact it is very easy to order. Walk to the counter, check the menus with pictures and point to the one that seems the best. There will be probably be 6 different prices – these are the sizes such as small, medium, large, extra-large and extra-extra-large. The price will range from 300 to 800 yen (3 to 8 euro). Some shops will have english menus as I discovered on my last day.
The preparation of your food is fast – SUPER fast. Most likely in less than 1 minute you would have the food ready to eat. When you have the meal in the shop they will give you free water (like most places in Japan) and some delicious pickled ginger.
My favourite combination was the “食べラー・メンマ牛丼” (I don´t have any idea what that means, ctrl-c / ctrl-v from the site) which had spring onions and a strong spicy sauce. I would usually order the medium-sized that would satisfy me. Here is the picture I took before devouring the take away version one night:
Sukiya is expanding and they have a lot of shops in São Paulo, Brazil. I would recommend to my brazilian friends to try it someday.
The only negative point is that, like most things that are delicious, they will have some worrying nutritional facts. Sukiya bowls does not contain a looooot of calories or fat, but it will possess a humongous amount of salt – probably due to the soya sauce. A medium-sized order, like the ones I used to eat, will have between 4 and 6 grams of salt which corresponds to around 150% and 300% of the daily needs.
So, if you are in Japan, and don´t have high blood pressure, you should try this cheap and fantastic food.