Sushi is popular all around the world, whether eating at a high-end sushi restaurant or getting takeout from a deli in a grocery store. Sushi is a form of art, which takes 10 to 11 years to master: 3 years cook the perfect sushi rice and 8 years of training in a top-notch authentic sushi restaurant in Japan in order to create nigiri sushi. But with the high-demand for sushi worldwide along with modern technology, the needs for using a sushi robot has increased. Sushi robots allow the sushi making process to be automated and make it possible to create sushi more quickly without having a restaurant caliber sushi chef on hand to prepare. The invention of the sushi robot has made sushi available to a mass audience. Many sushi restaurants and Japanese eateries use sushi robots or machines that create delicious nigiri sushi or sushi rolls just like a highly skilled chef. Even the sushi you had for lunch today might have been made by a sushi robot.
- What is Sushi Robot?
- Types of Sushi Robots
- The Leading Company of Sushi Robot in the US : AUTEC
- The Another Sushi MAchine Brand: Suzumo
What is Sushi Robot?
Sushi robots allowed sushi restaurants to automate and create high-quality sushi in a short amount of time, which made the process time and also cost-effective by not having to hire a trained sushi chef.
The components of creating sushi start with cooking the perfect sushi rice, molding the rice into a bite-size, and then placing the perfectly sliced sashimi fish over the rice. As we mentioned earlier, sushi chefs in an authentic sushi restaurant will train at least 10 years to perfect their sushi making skills. A sushi making machine does all of this right out of the box.
There are many types of sushi-making robots or sushibots. Some machines only cook the sushi rice, others have a rice mixer that creates the right texture by fanning it and mixing in the sushi vinegar, another type of robot molds the rice into bite-size portions, a machine that slices and tops the fish on the rice, and even a sushi roll machine that spreads the rice on the nori seaweed sheet, rolls it and cuts it into pieces. A sushi robots can make over 4000 pieces of sushi within 1 hour. Talk about efficiency, these machines became a must-have for many conveyor belt style sushi restaurants. Sushi robots allowed these casual sushi restaurants to provide delicious sushi at a reasonable price.
The Growing Sushi Robots Needs in the U.S.
Many restaurants and grocery stores that serve sushi in their deli are opting to use sushi robots rather than hiring a sushi chef. According to the 2015 report by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the number of Japanese restaurants in the U.S. increased from 17,000 to 25,100 within two years. With the popularity of sushi increasing, many of these Japanese restaurants started to serve sushi using sushi robots to automate the work and lower the cost. If you think about the price of a professional chef to make sushi, you do the math, owning a sushi robot is much more cost and time effective.
Are Sushi Made by Sushi Robots Good?
Most of the conveyor belt sushi restaurants and franchised sushi restaurants use sushi robots to provide quality sushi for a cheaper price. Of course, you cannot beat a professional sushi chef who trained for 10 years, but the robot made sushi still tastes pretty good. Unless you are a sushi connoisseur who can tell the slightest difference of the perfectly cooked sushi rice or the temperature of the sashimi fish, you will be very pleased with the price and the taste of sushi made by a sushi robot. You will be surprised how the sushi machines are fully automated and mimic the skills of a trained sushi chef.
Types of Sushi Robots
There are several types of sushi robots that are needed to create sushi; a machine that mixes the sushi rice, a machine to mold the rice into a bit size portion, a machine that slices the fish, a machine that makes onigiri rice balls, and finally a machine that cuts maki-sushi rolls.
1. Nigiri Sushi Maker / Nigiri Sushi Machine
The nigiri maker robot molds the sushi rice into a bite-size mound and all you have to do is place the sashimi fish slice on top of it and serve. Just put the cooked sushi rice in the machine and the machine will pop out over 3000 rice mounds per hour. The firmness of the rice mound is also adjustable and the rice is heated by an electric heating system.
2. Maki Maker / Sushi Roll Machine
The maki maker robots create beautiful looking sushi rolls in seconds, with a total of about 450 pieces per hour. When you put cooked rice in the machine, the rice will come out flattened and all you have to do is put the nori seaweed sheet on top of the rice and the ingredients over the rice. Then simply press the button and you have a perfectly made sushi roll!
3. Rice Mixer
As we mentioned earlier it takes three years for a sushi chef to master the skills of making a sushi rice. Traditionally, after the rice is cooked you pour vinegar in the rice, mix it with your right hand, and simultaneously air the rice with a fan in your left hand. This rice mixer machine fans and fluffs the rice so it is ready to be used for sushi in just a quarter of the time that it takes a trained sushi chef.
4. Sushi Conveyor
The sushi conveyor belt system is another sushi robot that we should include when we talk about sushi machines. The sushi conveyor belt rotates small sushi plates, finger foods, and desserts around the table and customers can select what they like. Some conveyor belt systems come in one lane or two lanes, and some even have a system to sort out plates that have been rotating too long.
5. Onigiri Maker
This machine is for making onigiri, which is a rice ball similar to a western sandwich except for it’s made of rice. You put your preferred filling in the rice and eat it for a quick meal. Onigiri is a number one seller at delis or convenience stores in Japan and is getting more popular throughout the world. This onigiri maker allows you to mass produce onigiri rice balls just like a skilled chef does, but much more quickly!
The Leading Company of Sushi Robot in the US : AUTEC
In the U.S. food industry, if you say “sushi robot” or “sushi machine”, people will immediately think AUTEC. AUTEC is the leading sushi machine company from Japan and is known for their sushi machines and revolving sushi conveyor belt system in Japan and North America including Mexico. Many may not know that AUTEC is a brainchild of Audio – Technica Corporation, a company which is known for their high-performance audio equipment such as microphones, headphones, and speakers. How did an audio equipment company start to make sushi making equipment? The story how AUTEC was created was Audio – Technica held a contest within the company to create a smash hit product idea, the winner was home use sushi-making machine for kids. In 1984, AUTEC launched their first home use sushi-making machine. Now AUTEC produces machines for nigiri sushi, sushi rolls (maki sushi), onigiri rice balls, sushi conveyor belts, and sushi rice mixers serving many sushi restaurants in Japan and North America, and their products have allowed many restaurants to be able to provide quality sushi for their customers without having a skilled sushi chef.
Award Winning World’s First Commercial Sushi Robot – AUTEC Nigirikko
In 1984, after the company contest where the employees came up with the idea of creating a sushi-making machine for kids, they launched the home use sushi machine where you rotate the handle and the bite-size sushi rice mounds pop out. This machine was used in one of the scenes of Oliver Stone’s 1987 movie “Wall Street” showing how you can make a fancy sushi dinner at home.
This home use sushi machine, Nigirikko, evolved into an automated sushi robot machine that can replace a skilled sushi chef to reduce a business’ operating costs. Audio – Technica created AUTEC, the sushi robot machine division, and they launched their first sushi making machine NIgiriko in 1984, which was a revolutionary sushi-making machine.
AUTEC’s mission is to spread Japanese food in the US and worldwide. They also provide consultations on installing the machines and for choosing the right machine for the eateries. They have a showroom in California where you can actually see and learn how the machines work.
AUTEC ASM865A Sushi Machine Maki Maker
AUTEC produces different types of sushi making machines that make sushi rolls, a maki-sushi roll cutter, nigiri sushi maker, sushi-rice maker, nigiri rice ball makers, and sushi conveyor belts. The AUTEC ASM865A Sushi Machine Maki Maker is one of the top selling machines that makes sushi rolls. It is compact and suited for smaller kitchen spaces in a restaurant, deli, or kitchen countertop. This maki sushi roll maker specifically creates rice sheets so you can roll your sushi roll by hand. This makes it easier for including different types of ingredients and is better by rolling them with your hands rather than with a machine. The robot makes sushi in two ways, either a regular sushi roll by placing the nori seaweed sheet on the tray and then the rice is spread on top, or for an uramaki sushi roll that has rice on the outside. For an uramaki roll you have the rice sheet on the tray and then you place the nori seaweed over it. This machine can make 1,300 rice sheets per hour and calculates the right amount of rice to be spread on a sheet for the perfect size sushi rolls. The compact sushi machine is great for a smaller kitchen space and also is more cost effective than hiring a full-time chef.
Another Leading Sushi Machine Brand: Suzumo
Suzumo founded in 1955, is another leading sushi robot company from Japan. They claim to have built the first automated sushi robot in 1981, before AUTEC. Suzumo has 90% of the global market, selling their sushi machine in about 80 countries with over 70,000 customers. This shows how the sushi industry is blooming around the world and the needs for these sushi machines are increasing. The award-winning Suzmo’s sushi machine can create 3,600 rice mounds per hour for making nigiri sushi. It’s not only fast but the quality of the sushi rice mound is comparable to an experienced sushi chef. Suzumo makes sushi robots for nigiri sushi, sushi rolls, cutting sushi rolls, and inari sushi. They also produce other machines for packaging sushi rolls or onigiri rice balls, both of which are perfect for high-volume restaurants, supermarket delis, hospitals, schools or company cafeterias that are looking to effectively operate their business and minimize cost. These machines are also great for franchises where these sushi machines can standardize the quality of their food items without hiring a trained sushi chef, which costs you a lot more than owning a sushi robot.