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A Bro’s Guide to All-You-Can-Eat Sushi

Well it’s officially summer and I’ve officially had my first sunburn and subsequent peeling-episode already. On a side note, Matt and I found an excellent all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant in Stoughton last weekend. All of the spicy-anything is premixed which is kind of weird-looking, but I’m not sure if that’s the norm or the exception to the rule.

For about $30, you can eat all of the raw fish and sushi rice that you want.

And that brings me to the topic of this post. I’ve done my fair share of all-you-can-eat eating and it never fails to make me wonder how a business could possibly make money on all-you-can-eat options. The only conclusion that I can draw is that the food must be super low quality. Either that or restaurants generally do make money on these deals and my friends and I are the swole-exceptions to these rules.

I guess though, in the case of sushi, rice isn’t really that expensive and that’s basically half of what you’re eating.

Anyway, without further adieu, here is the Lifter’s Guide to All-You-Can-Eat Sushi (Or Anything Else). I might turn this into my next e-book. By the by, if you haven’t put your name on the email list and received your copy of DEER, you should. It has nothing to do with actual deer and everything to do with nutrition.

The Rules

1. The timing of your visit must be ideal.

For anyone that’s ever fasted, you know that hunger comes in waves. After an initial surge in hunger during the early part of a long fast, the feeling seems to die down and come back at regular intervals. I figure this is due to hormones.

Random graph that looks like hormone cycles throughout a day.

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your sushi-buck, you need to make sure that you’re actually hungry when you go. Some good times to plan a visit are:

  • Right after leg day
  • At night, when you normally eat dinner
  • On a day when your omega-3 count has been low
  • Whilst inebriated

Bad times to visit an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant would include right after a large meal or during a time that you would normally never be hungry. And that brings us to rule #2.

2. Don’t starve yourself the entire day before.

Like I mentioned, hormones run in cycles and, therefore, hunger seems to run in cycles. And again, for anybody that’s ever fasted, you’ll know what I mean when I say that even during short-term fasts (12-20 hours), hunger comes in waves.

In my opinion, the best way to make sure you’re super hungry at a certain time is to make sure you’re used to eating a solid amount of food at that certain time every day. For this reason, feast/fast structures like those suggested by guys like Miyaki, Ferruggia, Berkhan, & Pilon are a great place to start if you’re looking to prepare yourself for a fishy feast.

The green blocks would be a great time for sushi.

But just to be clear, you don’t need to rearrange your entire diet in order to accommodate a few extra servings of sashimi, but I wouldn’t plan on waking up and going at 7 am if you’re not used to eating anything at that time.

I think the best plan is to stick with a regular (albeit lighter) eating schedule for the day before, focusing on small servings of protein, vegetables, and fats. This will help your hormones be “less confused” as you enter the Thunderdome of bro-dinner-dates.

3. Don’t eat too much the day before.

This probably goes without saying, but eating too much the day before is probably a giant waste of your time. First off, you’re probably going to consume at least 100 grams of protein in this meal alone. So don’t worry too much about your daily requirements.

I wouldn’t worry too much about you carbohydrate requirements either, as you’ll probably be packing away a few platefuls of sushi rice when all is said and done.

And if you’re striving for a certain level of sodium every day, no need to fear. There will be enough soy sauce in the restaurant to keep your salted up for a month.

4. They’re going to offer you water and drinks and appetizers. Don’t bother.

First will be water and drinks. If I were you, I would probably skip the alcoholic beverages until after the meal. In fact, I might as well let you know ahead of time that any night you get all-you-can-eat sushi is probably going to be an early one.

All of the blood will be rushed to your stomach to digest all of the food and you’ll barely be able to think, never mind walk, talk, socialize, or dance.

Makes sense, cats love fish.

As in most all-you-can-eat environments (but this is especially important in a sushi restaurant), water will be served frequently and in large glasses. You’ll be lucky to ever even see your glass half-empty (but it will always be half-full because you’re at an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant).

Water is a great idea if you’re looking to tease out actual hunger from thirst on your way to the dining hall with your college girlfriends, but water is your enemy in an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant. Especially with the soy sauce, you’ll become full and bloated pretty quickly.

My recommendation is to skip the water altogether, only taking little sips as necessary.

As an added benefit, less water won’t dilute your stomach acid as much, allowing your digestive system to do its job.

As for appetizers, skip them as well. Most of them will be fried-whatevers and different rice plates, seldom much actual fish.

5. Stop & Drop That Roll.

One of the worst decisions you can make as an all-you-can-eat sushi-er is to start your order off with maki or temaki (rolls or handrolls). Have you ever looked at a piece of maki? It’s probably only 1/4 actual fish, if that!

Packed with fish!

You’re getting a lot of rice (and probably avocado and spicy mayonnaise) and, as we went over earlier, not much bang for your sushi-buck. It never fails that I’ll go to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant and somebody will sit down and order a bunch of spicy tuna rolls. No!

The best choices in an all-you-can-eat sushi setting are sashimi and nigiri. For those of you that don’t know, sashimi is literally just fish. It’s literally just pieces of fish sitting on your plate, ready to be consumed.

Nigiri is fish draped over a little ball of rice. It’s delicious and the ratio of fish to rice (at least from the looks of it) seems to be way better than in the case of a roll.

Both of these things are delicious and you can order, like, 20 different kinds of fish (including octopus).

6. No sidekicks necessary.

When you order all you can eat sushi, you literally write it down in pen or pencil on a small piece of paper. There’s usually two pieces of paper, one for the sushi and one for the kitchen. The kitchen paper will have things like appetizers, different chicken and beef options, tempura (fried stuff), rice, and salads.

Oh, and ice cream.

Don’t bother! Do you know how much it costs to make fried rice?

Me either, but I can’t imagine it’s very much. The same goes for tempura and salads. On the other hand, these types of foods will generally leave you full and not ready to consume very much delicious fish.

Additionally, sushi is a pretty healthy option, all things considered. I mean, come on, the basis of sushi is raw fish and rice. Don’t mess it up by just eating fried things all night.

7. Don’t let your eyes order for your stomach.

It’s tough to visualize how much sushi you’ll actually get because pieces can range in size and amounts of rice can vary a bit as well, but make sure to start small and expand from there. Even though there’s typically an eating-time limit (90 minutes is common), you can still fit in multiple orders in that time and the waitstaff should have no problem accommodating you.

In fact, many places will actually charge you for uneaten food, so don’t over-order. Though I’ve cautioned against it, it’s tough to go to any restaurant with fried rice and not order it (at least in my case), but save it for the second or third order.

The first time Matt and I tried Su Su Sushi in Stoughton, I think we ordered maybe five times. Smaller more frequent orders seem to work to ensure that you don’t overcommit.


All-you-can-eat sushi is a truly phenomenal concept.

To get the most out of it though, you need to make sure the timing is right, your ordering skills are on-point, and you’re ready to have your mind blown.

If you’re unsure that all-you-can-eat sushi is for you, maybe you should hold off and tackle some less intimidating challenges like making your bed or taking out the trash.

Otherwise, go ahead and find your local (and with reasonable online reviews) all-you-can-eat sushi buffet, grab that under-sized pencil, and starting ordering. Your body will thank you for the omega-3s.

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