Sakae Sushi: Conveyor Belt Sushi hits Manila


Kaiten or conveyor belt sushi has always been a source of fascination for me. Imagine, an endless parade of sushi plates, just within your arm’s reach! So when I received an invite for the Chef for a Day activity at Sakae Sushi, I replied yes faster than you can say wasabi.

Sakae Sushi - Conveyor Belt Sushi

A Singaporean brand that was created by a loving husband for his sushi-loving but frugal wife, Sakae Sushi brings value conscious diners an affordable way to enjoy good quality sushi. Like the conveyor belt sushi restaurants in Japan, diners can just go and grab what they fancy from the moving conveyor. After your meal, you’ll be charged depending on the color-coded plates you have on your table: P39 for the purple sushi plates, P59 for the yellow, P79 for the green and P99 for the red plated specials. Of course, if you come in during the 2:00 to 6:00 pm eat-all-you-can-time, it’s a flat rate of P349 for everything you want.

Sakae Sushi - Sushi Robot

Sakae Sushi assures customers of clean and consistent sushi, thanks to their fully automated sushi making process. They have machines (and a sushi robot!) that takes care of everything, from washing the rice, to the actual cooking, to mixing the sushizu in the rice to the sushi-making robot that creates consistent molded rice for sushi.

Sakae Sushi - How to make Yakitori

Part of the day’s activities was a tour of their kitchen. Their chef showed us how to make yakitori, or barbecued chicken. They usually marinate the chicken in a soy-based marinade, then skewer it alternately with leeks, before barbecuing.

Sakae Sushi Yakitori

What you get afterwards is a sweet and salty chicken barbecue that’s complemented by the strong, refreshing taste of leeks.

Sakae Sushi - How to cook tempura

Afterwards, we were also shown how the perennial favorite, tempura, is made. At its most basic, tempura is any food that’s battered in a light, lumpy batter before being deep-fried.

Sakae Sushi Tempura

A lot of people neglect ensuring that the batter is icy cold. This is a big no-no as the secret to a tempura that fries to a nice, light crisp is batter that’s freshly made from ice-cold water. I’ve even read in some books that some chefs keep their bowl of batter on a pan of ice.

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53 Responses to Sakae Sushi: Conveyor Belt Sushi hits Manila

  1. my favorite kaitenzushi place is still this little joint in SHIBUYA whose name i do not even know — i just know where to find it once i get to SHIBUYA CROSSING XD having said that — i should give SAKAE a try one of these days~

  2. FFichiban says:

    OOohhh we need this to open down here because of the eat-all-you-can!! Hahah and cos their food looks great as well ^^!

  3. Shawna says:

    The pictures are so beautiful.

  4. Ive been visiting this blog to check your wonderful photos and posts… Hope to see you in our future sushi flavorgasmic adventure….

  5. d says:

    Wasn’t there a conveyor belt sushi place in the Philippines even before Sakae? I think it was called Genji-something, and I remember it having a branch at Greenhills.

  6. Tony Lou says:

    finally an update! :o)

  7. abbyG says:

    grabe natakam naman ako!!

  8. EC says:

    I was told that Sakae Sushi’s chefs don’t wear gloves most of the time… so it is true. This is disgusting.

    Nothing to lose, Sakae Sushi’s food is bad and not fresh. I will not go back anyway. Now that we know they don’t wear gloves… more reasons not to go and eat there. DON’T remove the above picture, ok? We need to let people see it.

    • liz Syquia says:

      Well, even if you dine in a first class sushi place in JPN, the sushi Chef there don’t wear gloves at all. So I asked the reason behind it and was told that, for simple reason,”they wash their hands well before they handle food,you just have to check the cleanliness of their working area and from there you can use your own judgement,whether to dine or not to…

      • liz Syquia says:

        Plus if ofcourse you think the food is not nice and fresh that’s another factor to consider…

      • kaoko says:

        A friend of mine told me that too. She said she’s never seen a real Japanese sushi chef wear gloves. Hey, if it’s good enough for the people who devote years perfecting the craft, I’d go for it. ^_^

    • Czarina Trinidad says:

      Seriously? Sushi? Gloves? You must be too stupid to know about sushi making and how it is handled by real chefs. Get lost! Shove a glove on your mouth. As if!

  9. Bea says:

    Wow! That must have been a great experience!

  10. miss_dian says:

    Hello dear! Long time! 😉 Missed you in LJ. I’ve tried Sakae Sushi before in Jakarta but it was just “okay.” My fave sushi place in Jakarta is the Japanese restaurant in Crowne Plaza Hotel, but there are 2 other chains that I like, namely Sushi Tei (branches in Singapore and some other Asian cities) and Sushi Groove (branches in LA I think).

  11. ST says:

    No gloves??!!! That’s disgusting!!! Can you imagine he is making the skewers right after he comes out from the toilet!??? Gross!!! Sakae Sushi, what are you thinking???!!!

  12. kaoko says:

    @magnetic_rose
    I hate you and all your izakayas and kaitenzushis. Someday, you need to take me on a tour of Japan.

    @FFIchiban
    Hahahaha! I’m sure there’s a similar restaurant near you somewhere. They’re probably just hiding from you because YOU might close them down. 😛

    @Shawna
    Thank you so much. Glad you like it.

    @pinoy cravings
    MORE FOOD TRIPS PLZ! We need to find more food places—are you up to Thai next time?

    @d
    Sorry d, I have no idea but I won’t be surprised if you’re right. Japanese kaitenzushi have been around for so long already so it’s probably been brought to the Philippines years ago. Do you know if this Genji place is still open? I’d love to check it out too.

    @Tony Lou
    Hahaha, work swallowed me up, so much writing had to be done last week so the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was write some more 😛

    @abbyG
    Hehe, Success then! Goal accomplished.

    @Bea
    It was fun! More than the food, it was a very different dining experience.

    @miss_dian
    Is Sushi Tei also conveyor belt style? If so, I’ll check it out next time I manage to go to Singapore. I love the whole grab a plate from the conveyor concept. <3 Of course, there are still times when I prefer traditional Japanese restaurants but I like kaitenzushi for the fun factor it offers. And while I haven't been posting much on eljay, I've been reading your travel posts <3

    To EC and ST
    I honestly do not understand where all this disgust is coming from. You are appalled with the absence of gloves in Sakae Sushi's kitchen? It doesn't disturb me the least because it's standard. I've seen quite a few restaurants with open kitchens and it's very rare that I see them use gloves.

    The food photographed here are raw food items that have yet to be cooked. The chef never handles the food that's already cooked, as you can see, he was handling them with chopsticks and by the skewer handles afterward. Personally, I never use gloves when I cook as well; I just make sure my hands are clean by washing well with soap and water whenever I need to touch food. Disgusting? You may think it so but for me, cooking is a personal thing and I like being in contact with the food I'm preparing because it heightens the sensory experience. Not to mention it's easier.

    Likewise, what about all those cooking shows on TV? I've never seen any of the chefs on TV wear gloves either. And I don't see anybody complaining.

    As to handling food that's not going to be cooked, if you look closely at the picture of someone getting the molded rice from the sushi robot, she was indeed wearing gloves. In fact, during the sushi making tutorial, we were all required to wear food-grade gloves. I just wasn't able to photograph it because I was taking part in the prep. Not that I'd mind them handling the sushi without gloves because from what I've seen in traditional Japanese restaurants, the sushi chefs, who have studied sushi making for years, use their bare hands.

    This probably will not change your mind about dining there and I'm not trying to. I respect that you don't like Sakae Sushi and it's cool with me. Just please don't be so vehement in condemning a place just because you don't like it, because it doesn't only turn away other people who are more open-minded about eating there, but it also insults the sensibilities of the people who actually do like the place.

  13. toni says:

    Wasabiko Gunkan.

    I have never tried that but I sure want to know.

    Pwede naman siguro ako kumain ng shrimp roe ‘no…. hmmmmmm……

    I LOVE wasabi. Heart heart heart it. I have to try this!

    I’ve eaten in Sakae Sushi twice palang ata but didn’t come across it. Eeee! Now I wanna go!

  14. abbee says:

    Yay, all-you-can-eat sushi! I should’ve dragged my coworkers there when we were at MOA last Saturday! Thanks for the idea.

  15. ST says:

    Sorry, I didn’t know I was not allowed to express how I feel about a chef not wearing gloves. Nothing personal… sorry about that… I have seen many chefs wearing gloves when preparing skewers/satay. Sometimes when it is in a rush, maybe the chefs forget to spend enough time washing their hands after using the toilets. That’s why I find it gross.

  16. EC says:

    ST, that’s correct. Satay hawkers wear gloves when preparing the uncooked meat.

    Restaurants are different from cooking shows on TV and cooking from home. Restaurants’ chefs need to wear gloves most of the time… not all the time… depends on what they are preparing. For this particular case, they should be wearing gloves.

  17. kaoko says:

    @ST
    I understand if you feel that way, especially if we’re talking hawkers but I trust the quality control in certain restaurants. After all, before a restaurant can set up shop, they need to get the necessary sanitation permits so they need to maintain a certain level of cleanliness. Plus, I trust that these people are professionals and do their job properly.

    I dunno, it might also be a cultural thing, but I talked to some friends, and even in Japan, real sushi chefs (the ones who train years) handle sushi itself with bare hands.

    @EC
    I guess it’s a matter of opinion. I honestly don’t see the need for gloves when preparing food that will be cooked, especially in a professional, sanitized environment where I assume they follow food safety standards. Of course, preparing food, whether gloved or not, in a dirty environment is a different issue.

    @toni
    Oh, I’m not sure if the ebiko is raw or cooked. I’m betting it’s raw since egg roe becomes opaque when cooked but it might be processed differently. Is your doctor still letting you eat raw food?

    @abbee
    More reason to go back to MoA! (Plus, grab some popcorn too, while you’re there. I swear it’s so addictive. I need some. NOW!)

  18. Drew says:

    “eat-all-you-can”

    Simple words that make my cry in tears of joy.

  19. Chuzzle says:

    Hello…I have eaten here two times already and I am sorry, but it is one of the worst Japanese restaurants in Manila. Not because of the service or ambiance, but because of the food.

    Dry, tasteless, and stale. I just like the conveyor belt and the eat all you can factor. Hehe…This is just my point of view.

    • kaoko says:

      Hi Chuzzle! It’s unfortunate that you don’t like their food but I wouldn’t call them the worst. I wouldn’t call them the best either—I’ve had better, but considering the value for money they offer, I still think they’re worth a visit.

      I also understand your issues about freshness; I think it that’s due to their concept since the sushi is prepared ahead of time. I guess this is an instance where you need to prioritize your wants. If I were looking for top-grade sushi and am willing to fork over the moolah, I’d go somewhere else. But if I were just looking for a quick fix, or am hungry, eat all you can is the way to go 😛

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  21. MooMilk says:

    WOW. In Singapore Sakae Sushi Is Available Anywhere Nationwide! And Its WAYY More Expensive Cus If You Wanna Eat ALL YOU WANT , You’ll Have To Pay $13.90 For Senior Citizens Or $18.90 For Adults. And If You Waste Food , You Need To Pay A $500 Fine. I’m Not Sure If You Have This In The Phillipines , But Try Asking For A Kakiage. ( Kah-Kay-Yah-Gay) Its Really Nice! Its Sliced Vegetables Fried In Tempura Flour Dipped In Unagi Sauce !

    • kaoko says:

      Thanks for the info MooMilk. Most things are generally cheaper in the Philippines, not only Sakae Sushi but most things in general. It’s a good thing for us I guess. 😀

  22. MooMilk says:

    Hahas I Would Love To Stay In Phillphines I Have Quite Alot Of Philiphino Friends Over Here In Singapore And They’re Pretty Nice!Most Of Them Come Here To Work

  23. JC says:

    Hi, Do you guys know where to get the Sushi Conveyor belt in Makati?

  24. gorgeous says:

    I love your article! We were scouting for a dining place for my birthday when we chanced upon the newly opened Sakae Sushi place at SM Annex. the eat-all-you-can promo there stands for the whole day at P399 pax. (until oct 31 only) and with 20% off ala carte dishes. I was really amazed because I loved sushi since I was a kid and only saw the sushi conveyor belt once on a movie. I saw your article while trying to show my friend something about Sakae sushi store and I even become more convinced we should try this out.

    Love your food blogs, more pics and more power! :)

  25. JC says:

    Hi, I heard there is a Malaysia company who make this Sushi Conveyor. Quite good, name MODU System. supply to local and oversea customer.

    Now, Thailang, Vietnam and Malaysia also use this Sushi belt for Hotpot(Shabu-Shabu)…

  26. kaoko says:

    @gorgeous
    Glad you had a great time! And belated Happy Birthday too 😀

    @JC
    That’s great news. I’m sure this will be useful for people who wish to go into this business.

  27. tk says:

    Visited Sakae Sushi on evening of 3 Jan 10.
    Service was terrible.
    there were only about 20 plates of sushi prepared on the belt!(1845hrs).
    What ever was on the belt looked and tasted very stale.
    Ordered Ebi and Yasai Tempura with 2 steamed rice.
    The Ebi took 20 minutes and the Yasai did not turn up despite repeated requests to check on order. Finally after 30 minutes, the waitress came to say it was served in another table!She blamed it on the other waitress. She kept asking me in a loud voice whether i want it and it will take 5 minutes. I did not think they can fry Yasai Tempura in 5 minutes. So I decided to cancel the order and asked for the bill. It took another 10 minutes for the bill to come!
    Service was bad.
    Never accept they screwed up except by saying sorry.
    Food was bad.
    Food is expensive compared to Malaysian prices.
    Sushi King will kill their business if they set up in Manila.

    • kaoko says:

      It’s unfortunate that that happened to you, tk. IMO, proper handling of a situation (apologizing properly, making amends) can save a lackluster meal. And bad service is always inexcusable.

  28. aimee says:

    Hi there!

    I’m not sure if Sakae Sushi was good when it first opened in the Philippines, but my experience in its MOA branch was horrific.

    In December 2009, my family dined there. We waited 1 to 1.5 hours before our orders were served. The conveyor belt was often empty (as in 0 plates going around) to the horror of my brothers who were having the buffet. In the time that we were there (about 2 to 4 hours), we only saw 4 red plates (2 of 2 kinds actually). So much for them marketing the quality of their buffet.

    To be fair to them since it was the holidays, I asked the manager if they were shorthanded. I was told they were not. And mind you the restaurant wasn’t full packed. The other tables were complaining as well.

    • kaoko says:

      @Aimee
      It’s terrible that it happened to you and you’re family. To think it happened in the same general timeframe as tk -aka comment above you. I do hope it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

  29. Chris says:

    Great read! Makes me want to throw on my Chef wear and start cooking.

  30. The One says:

    Yipee! I finally found the place that I was searching for! Thank you! Great review as I was looking for price information and proposed food to eat. I knew this restaurant through through my cousin. I remember her telling me what the name of the restaurant it unfortunately I wasn’t able to write it down and I soon forgot it. My friends and I will be trying restaurant tonight. I hope my expectation will be met. :-) Thanks again!

  31. lyniel says:

    where in manila is this restaurant located?

  32. Mimi says:

    Is this the sushi place featured in Jessica Soho last Saturday? My friend and I were trying to look for this resto around Tomas Morato yesterday but the people there were saying that there’s none. We ended up eating at Yakimix. Do they have other branches aside from the one in MOA? Thanks! :)

  33. kaoko says:

    @lyniel
    My apologies for not seeing your post earlier. This particular Sakae Sushi branch is at MoA.

    @Mimi
    Sorry, I didn’t catch the show so I can’t confirm whether this was the one you saw on TV.

  34. ben says:

    hmmm why do you think that way? don’t you wash your hands when you’re in a hurry? saves time eh? eww now that’s gross

  35. dave says:

    a big WOW!! its look soo good. can i pleasee know the exact place of that conveyor belt sushi. :DD i would really appreciate it just send it at the e-mail. :DD thanks a lot!!

  36. kaoko says:

    Hi dave,

    Just troop over to the Mall of Asia then ask their customer service. I’m not so sure about the exact location and they’ll be better equipped to answer you.

  37. adi says:

    good day!

    i haven’t try to eat at sakae sushi, but then my opinion to those who have suffer from diarrhea of eating sushi, maybe its about our culture. . di tayo sanay kumaen ng raw food unlike japanese. . dba?
    i think it’s not enough to discourage others to go there. .
    actually my cousin is working at sake sushi in singapore and im planning to have my OJT there. . and some opinion that is not good to hear but we respect it. . its a matter of appreciation in other country in their culture of handling foods and their cuisines.

  38. kaoko says:

    @adi
    I guess depende rin sa food safety procedures ng store yun. Plus, depende rin sa sariling digestion ng tao. Sanayan lang rin. Good luck sa OJT mo!

  39. Joshua says:

    where is this place located? and are there any branches?

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