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Here’s the Catch of Cheng Yang Li’s “All You Can Eat Sushi”

In second grade my teacher sent us home with this assignment: figure out what TANSTAAFL stands for (ah, the pre-internet/google search days). It means there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and to this day it still rings in my ear when a deal sounds too good to be true. When I saw $19.99 “all you can eat sushi” at Cheng Yan Li I wondered, hmmm what’s the catch here?

Where: Cheng Yang Li, 379 Amherst Street, Nashua, NH 03063


IMG_5165 IMG_5166 The quality of fish is great, and Cheng Yang Li has a lovely classic decor without a stuffy atmosphere, but here are some tips on navigating the rules of this deal. Yes, there are rules! IMG_5164

  1.  You can select up to 5 items at a time. (This is good, because sushi should be made to order. You wouldn’t want to select it from a buffet table.) And this includes soup and salad choices.
  2.  You must eat everything you order, or you’ll be charged extra. Our server explained this was done to prevent waste, and I’m all for that.
  3.  Here’s the kicker – the sushi pieces come with a LOT of rice. It’s not a ratio of fish to rice that is traditionally served. And the sushi rolls are packed with lots of veggies. They want to fill you up quickly!
  4. So if you’re full on rice, just order sashimi, right? Nope. sashimi and specialty rolls are a $1 extra.
  5.  No sharing. So when you start to feel full, don’t look to your guest for help.
  6. 2 hour maximum time allowed.

That’s a heaping scoop of rice!

Our server was very clear about the rules, they’re not trying to catch you in a trap or anything. In fact, when he noticed my dinner companion wasn’t eating all the rice in her sushi roll, he let her know there would be a charge if she didn’t finish the rice. She ended up ordering all 3 small salads from the buffet menu to balance the rice, and when no one was looking I took some of her rice and smashed it into my rice bowl. (I had ordered a chicken dish.) IMG_5161


Ginger salad and seaweed salad.


Delicious avocado salad with slices of crab meat.

If you’re starving and looking to fill up, this is a fair deal. If you’re a sushi purist, you’re better off ordering a sushi boat somewhere else. It’s not fun to eat under rules, worrying about not being able to stuff yourself, and in doing so possibly filling up on food you don’t like! Part of the allure of “all you can eat” is that you can relax, sit back, and just stuff your face. This “all you can eat” has the potential to leave you like a four-year-old at the dinner table, sitting there until you finish your plate.

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