Sunday, October 12, 2014

Restaurant Review: Sasa Sushi 笹鮨 (Taipei, Taiwan)

In researching where to eat in Taipei (I'll admit this was basically the ONLY research I did for Taipei!), I stumbled across quite a few mentions of Sasa Sushi for omakase (TripAdvisor, Victoria's Food Secrets).

Experience: Dining in Taiwan in general is super different from the US, but our omakase experience was such a huge contrast to our experiences in NYC omakase restaurants. It was really fun and relaxed in Sasa Sushi - one family at the bar brought their BABY. Everyone was taking pictures of their food (all ages), pouring sake for the sushi chef (though we noticed he only took a sip of each cup LOL), and laughing and enjoying themselves. There was also only 1 sitting. Maybe we never stay late enough in NYC, but the atmosphere always seems to be quite serious and quiet!

Language Barrier: It's worth mentioning my language barrier issues. My Chinese/Mandarin is generally good enough to get around and communicate with taxi drivers, shopkeepers, etc., but when it comes to understanding what kind of fish I'm eating in an omakase, I come up a bit short. Our waitress tentatively asked me if I spoke any Mandarin, and she was visibly relieved when I said I could speak a little (so my guess is that if you only spoke English here, it might be a bit challenging).

We were able to ask our chef(s) for the Japanese names of things, so hopefully I've gotten them lined up with the right pictures here. For other items, one of the employees was so generous with his time and grabbed a reference book for us to show us what we had eaten.

Pricing: at a minimum, 3000 TWD for omakase. Ours actually ended up being 6000 TWD per person (this is included the 10% service charge and a carafe of sake). They also have set menus at various price points, but this is definitely an expensive restaurant by Taipei standards.

Anyways, let's get on with the food porn.

Sasa Sushi - Exterior

The main chef (we got his personal business card upon leaving, haha)

Another sushi chef preparing the octopus

ひらめ (Flounder)

Very casual atmosphere compared to similarly priced NYC omakase establishments

ひらまさ (Amberjack)

Knife skills on display

Octopus - very nice. No textural issues with this whatsoever.

かます (Barracuda) - This thing was so delicious. I especially enjoyed the crisp shiso leaf underneath the fish. I could eat a whole roll of this.

さんま (Pacific Saury) - Wrapped in thin cucumber slices and some chives in the middle. Really fresh and very tasty!

Pile of uni. I asked where it was from, but didn't understand the answer of "mei hai" :(

ちゅとろ (chutoro / tuna)

Abalone.. again

Spanish Mackerel

Some type of clam

はつきがい (Hatsukigai) - a type of surf clam

The above clam, apparently

Yummy piece of cooked cod

This is the reference book they let us look at!

きいんごういか (Squid)

きす (Whiting)

はまくら - Another unappealing looking clam, but tasty

This is the alien clam we just ate

ばたんえぎ (raw shrimp) - I don't care for raw shrimp...

あなご (Conger eel) Super delicious type of eel

From the book - much yummier than unagi, imo!

We waved the white flag at this point, and were served with the final tamago

Dessert. White sesame ice cream, fresh fruit. Really excellent way to end the night!

Bottom Line: Highly recommended (if it fits within your budget). I really enjoyed our meal here - it was very memorable. Lots of super yummy pieces that we don't typically see in the US, and a really fun atmosphere. If we ever came back to Taipei, I would like to eat here again (although I think I would specify how much we wanted to spend up front rather than just eat blindly and get a bit surprised by the bill!) I might also say I don't want to eat raw shrimp or abalone, haha.

Basic Information:

Sasa Sushi 笹鮨

Address: 北市中山北路2段42巷6號
No. 6, Lane 42, Section 2, Zhōngshān North Rd, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104

Phone: +886 2 2561 1246


  1. was your NT$6000/per person including alcohol? What you were charged seems a bit high to me, seeing what you ate, but then again I've only been to Sasa once for lunch.

    1. Yes, the NT$6000 per person included 1 carafe of sake and the 10% service charge. I clarified my post on that item after I checked with my husband (who paid the bill XD).

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