A worrying shortage of sushi supply has hit Australia’s top Japanese restaurants

On Good Friday I was invited to a tuna auction at Shell House Sydney to help kick off the mega hall’s next few weeks of unique dinners, concerts and events. Although it lacked the guts and mayhem of the famous tuna auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market, the highly polished Clocktower Bar was an absolute scene when guest chef Toshihiko Oe, of Cammeray’s famed Sushi Oe, sliced a huge tuna in different cuts – the most expensive. of which recovered an easy $2,000. I knew it was a bargain, considering I’d been to Tsukiji before and seen how much those chefs spend on tuna, but I didn’t realize how much of a catch it was in that context. – a shortage of sushi supply in Australia is threatening to skyrocket prices.

As reported in Good food Last week, product shortages and price hikes made it harder for Japanese restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne to turn a profit, meaning we face an unfortunate barrel of sushi shortages. According to Good food article, a recent report by Square shows that the average price of sushi in Australia jumped 27% from a year ago, showing an average rise of $11.40 to $14.55.

With fresh sushi and sashimi costing more than double at some of Australia’s most acclaimed Japanese restaurants compared to last year, the price hike is starting to trickle down to consumers. And while that’s still not too drastic, considering you’d only have to shell out a few extra bucks for your favorite sushi, growing supply shortages are something all sushi lovers should worry about. .

Scarcity is never fun, especially when it comes to something as beloved as sushi.

Many orders placed over the past few weeks with some of the country’s top Japanese restaurants have not been fulfilled. Some arrived with less than half of the fish ordered, which is an issue that has been going on for a few months now and plays into the general supply chain problem that has emerged during the pandemic.

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Some of Australia’s top Japanese chefs have reportedly tried to absorb the costs so they don’t pass on to customers, but they are struggling.

Talk to Good foodAlice Chan, the owner of East Brunswick Matsumoto sashimi restaurant, has had to spend $10 more per kilogram of salmon and has seen a similar price hike on bags of rice in recent months.

“Salmon is normally very easy to get. We never really thought about it before…but now sometimes we don’t even have the stock. It’s really difficult when you order four salmon and only receive half of the order.

A similar problem has been discovered at popular Toko in Surry Hills, where owner Matt Yazbek received just one fish from a recent 30-kilogram salmon order. This kind of shortage is even more worrying when you consider that wagyu beef has also seen a similar decline in recent years.

Since the 2019 drought in New South Wales, livestock prices have risen for restaurants and this problem has been exacerbated in recent months with flooding. As such, Toko has either increased the price of some of its most popular menu items or dropped options altogether.

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“We’ve been around for 21 years and this has been the biggest price spike we’ve ever seen, in such a short period of time,” Yazbek said.

“It’s not pretty to see inside a restaurant right now. It was already difficult for us to make money but it’s a whole new challenge. It is annoying. »

While some other owners are still trying to absorb the prices for as long as they can, this issue is unlikely to be fixed anytime soon. Just know that the next time you get your hands on a delicious piece of sashimi, especially salmon, it’s a hard-earned treat that should no longer be taken for granted.

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