Listen, don’t get me wrong. I like rice and beans just fine. But in my entire life I’ve eaten rice and beans as a meal maybe a dozen times. It´s just not among my favorite foods.
In Brasil, I eat rice and beans every day. And they´re far superior to any rice OR beans I’ve had in the U.S. In fact, a lot of the food here is better than anything I was eating in America. The produce and meat has so much more flavor. But still, a girl needs variety. In New York I ate a lot of Asian food and sushi at least twice a week.
So when one of my students gave me the inside scoop on Ya-Ya, an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet, I took notice.
Now, I know what you´re thinking: Uberaba is 900 miles from the ocean. How good can the sushi be? And what do Brasilians know about sushi? But Brasil has the second largest Japanese population outside of Japan with roughly 1.5 million Japanese descendants — mostly clustered around São Paulo. Given that criteria, I hoped the sushi at Ya-Ya would at least be passable.
Ya-Ya has a cute set-up: Buddhas, a Koi pond and various other knickknacks you commonly find in an Asian eatery. There are two choices to attack the buffet: All-you-can-eat for R$16,90 (about US$8) or R$31,90 per kilo. I opted for the all-you-can-eat, ´natch
Further inspection revealed that most of the spread was beginner sushi. You know: fruit, cream cheese, veggies. The actually fish choices were few (salmon, crab, shrimp) but fresh. The rest of the buffet was surprisingly tasty with several Asian salads such as pickled cucumbers and seaweed and a respectable variety of Chinese dishes with chicken and fish. However the spring rolls were sorry and sadly there were no dumplings.
I’m not going to lie. I´ve had better sushi. But I´m excited to have an acceptable venue to get my sushi on – and I intend to investigate the sushi in São Paulo when I visit!
IF YOU GO:
Ya-Ya is located at Rua Santo Antônio 22 – Centro – Uberaba, Mg
All-you-can-eat: R$16,90 (not including drinks)
OR per kilo: $31,90