The Naka Sushi is a cheap street-side sushi joint located in Binh Thanh, close to the up and coming Pham Viet Chan area. It’s a bit rundown with no real seating other than those small plastic chairs that are precariously balanced on the sidewalk. But hey now. This is affordable street-side sushi, not authentic Japanese dining!
The area itself isn’t that weird, it has lots of other Japanese restaurants… just that they’re all indoor. The outside seating area (again, red plastic chairs!) at The Naka Sushi will have to do for people who would rather eat outdoors than indoors. The chairs aren’t very comfortable but they’re better than nothing when eating cheap sushi.
The constant honking from passing motorists just adds to the atmosphere which I initially thought would be annoying but actually makes me feel like it’s part of the experience.
The Naka Sushi has no menu – all the sushi is already premade and put into a display case on the sidewalk. And by “display case” I mean “out in the open, under a plastic sheet”.
The sushi is cheap (starting at 5000VND for one piece) and it’s similar to what you’d expect from cheap conveyor belt sushi in Japan. It’s probably not top quality but it tastes good enough if you eat it with wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger (which are all provided free of charge).
It might sound sketchy to eat cheap sushi that isn’t always made fresh right then and there like at most decent Japanese restaurants where they make your food right in front of you – this is especially true when the sushi counter looks like something off a street corner in Asia. But trust me, it’s worth a try. And if you’re lucky, what you want might not yet be available, and they can make it for you, “fresh”.
Just tell the dude at the counter what you want (he speaks reasonably acceptable English) and they’ll produce it for your right on the spot. Or just point at random things that other people area already eating, and chances are you will get something that tastes pretty good but not necessarily authentic.
Sashimi (raw fish) is also available, but since I’ve got my own supply, I didn’t try any, so I can’t comment on its quality. But I did have raw salmon nigiri sushi (pictured above).
So yeah, it’s definitely possible to eat sushi for cheap in Binh Thanh. And just like cheap sushi available throughout Japan, there are some typical cheap fillers here too such as egg and cucumber… but also random stuff like cream cheese? Like I said, it’s not exactly authentic here but it’s a good enough approximation, with a price point you just can’t beat.
Cheap sushi in Binh Thanh isn’t always available because they sometimes run out of key ingredients, which makes complete sense given their location and business model. If you’re lucky enough to be there when they have what you want though, then The Naka Sushi will satisfy your cheap sushi cravings without breaking the bank.
Cheap nigiri sushi with interesting seating in a convenient location in Binh Thanh. Not the best value (you could easily rack up a bill here dining al motorcyclo freso) but still pretty damned cheap. You can get slightly better quality elsewhere but it will probably cost double or triple the price per roll.
Location: 1 Nguyễn Công Trứ, Phường 19, Bình Thạnh, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
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