I’m a sushi nut. No, really – I’m like a certifiably crazy 51/50 drooling-at-the-mouth madman when it comes to the prospect of putting Japanese raw fish in my mouth. But living in Southeast Asia, the availability and quality of sushi can be spotty. Sure, they have high-end sushi and plenty of Japanese restaurants in main cities like Manila, Bangkok, and Phnom Penh, Cambodia (actually, my favorite little sushi restaurant is there in PP!), but outside of those few cities, it can be hit or miss. I live in the Philippines, and I’ve had some ok but not great sushi in Manila, some decent sushi in Angeles City in Pampanga, and then some terrible, tiny portioned, and rip-off meals in Dumaguete where I live.
What to Know About Tsunami Sushi Buffet
So I was ecstatic to stumble upon Tsunami Sushi Buffet on a recent visit to Jomtien, Thailand. Staying with a couple of friends who live there in this quiet suburb in the shadow of wild Pattaya, I was asking them where we could go for Japanese grub one night. They knew of a couple of places in Pattaya, but that meant a little bit of a drive and parking and dealing with all of the drunk partiers and tourists down there. So one when one of my friends remembered a neighborhood spot in Jomtien he’d passed, we headed over there.
Man oh man, we were blown away! Tsunami Sushi Buffet (a curious name for a restaurant in Thailand, which saw one of the biggest tsunamis in history that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Phuket in 2004). It’s set up like any simple and clean but nondescript restaurant in a retail space, with utilitarian black tables lined up and minimal decorations or ambiance. But don’t worry!
We grabbed the big menus and started looking at the items to order, but none of them had prices. We asked the waitress, and she explained that we couldn’t order ala carte – they only offered their all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. Priced at 599 Baht (about $18), it wasn’t inexpensive at all for Thailand, where you can eat like a champ on the street for $2 – $3.
But she explained that we could order anything we want from their hundred-or-so food choices, including all of their sashimi, with no limits except that we only had 90 minutes to sit there and eat everything.
So we started ordering, sheepishly looking up at her to see if she’d cut us off or stop us, but it was all good! The first round, we ordered salmon, tuna, octopus, and white fish sashimi, and I found it to be really delicious. I would say A- grade, not A+ for quality, but the good news is that with the incredible amount of volume they go through, everything is fresh. After annihilating those dishes, we ordered shrimp and scallop tempura (good but tempura has too much fried batter for my taste), the yellow egg sashimi (I love the sweet taste!), and chicken teriyaki, which was so good that it was worth coming there just for that.
We ordered Japanese Asahi beers (which aren’t part of the deal, of course, and not cheap), and had an absolute feast for the entire 90 minutes, eating about twice as much as any person should.
The food at Tsunami was so good that later that week, I skipped lunch and had only a light breakfast so I could justify going back to Tsunami for their sushi!
You di sacrifice the service of a nicer dining restaurant, as the girls are running around taking orders and moving plates as fast as they can, so you might have to ask twice for ginger or wasabi, etc., but they do a great job. I recommend not going on a weekend night because every seat will be taken by both foreigners and rich visitors from Bangkok – and for good reason! All hail to Tsunami and thanks for the sushi feast!