Aji WOW is my series of unusual Japanese food/drink reviews. 'Aji' (味) means 'flavour', and the name's also a pun on 'ajiwau' (味わう) - 'to enjoy the taste of'.
This time: Subway Japan's 'Luxury Shrimp' sandwich.
(Maybe I should've put "sandwich" in quote marks...)
Subway's spring menu campaign revolves around shrimp. So they're calling it 'Shpring', which just sounds disastrous if you say it out loud. Next to the standard prawn-avocado sub, a new shrimpy sub debuted at the end of April.
This is the Luxury★Shrimp sub, or the 'Special Shrimp Sandwich' if you don't know Japanese.
The 'luxury' kanji - 贅沢, zeitaku - mean something closer to 'extravagance'. And that wouldn't be wrong. I mean, just look at the thing. It's more seafood than sub.
Let me tell you a little story. I first tried to go eat this sub last week. And that didn't happen. Why? Because I wanted it made without the egg salad you can see in the top there. No allergies, as far as I know, just not super keen on the stuff.
My sandwich artist was hesitant. "But the price..." I didn't mind. "Just charge me the full price for the sub and leave the egg out when you make it." Turns out that wasn't what they meant.
If I wanted to 'personalise' my sub by requesting no egg, they'd treat it as a complete custom order. And charge me for every single ingredient separately. And apparently that would be bad.
You might be thinking, "This sub's made with 3x the normal amount of shrimp. That level of extravagance is not cheap." You would be wrong.
Adding up the 'extras' prices for 3x shrimp, bacon, sliced cheese and the egg salad, and taking the bread and veggies as free, this sub as a total custom build should cost 460 yen.
As a limited-time special, the 'Luxury Shrimp' sub with those same ingredients - minus a slice of bacon! - costs over a third more. I should've said yes to the bespoke version, but there was a queue. If there's anything that Brits and Japanese people 100% agree on, it's that queuing is sacred.
So I declined, reluctantly, and took the avocado sub instead. Today, yes indeed I'm writing this review on the day it's due, today I went back.
I ordered the sub as is. I did not ask them to take the egg salad out. I did ask them not to put olives in, and they asked me to confirm that 4 times. (I won't eat olives even for review purposes.)
The sandwich artist who dashed my hopes last time stared at me like I was Jesus risen at Easter. But I finally got my damn luxury shrimp sub.
Here's how it looks in reality.
Holy seafood, yes, that is a lot of shrimp.
I regretted selecting so many veggies, because the width of the sub was a problem. It didn't squish together very well. It dripped with sauce and 'freshly-washed lettuce' water. This isn't an easy sub to eat.
With the Caesar dressing and the egg in there, It was like I'd put a pre-made seafood salad into a baguette. Was that a luxurious, extravagant feeling? No, it was not. I felt... duped.
Obviously I ate it. But this might have been my last Subway visit for a while. That kind of cheeky markup on a special edition sandwich makes me lose my appetite.
Verdict: 5/10. The pursuit of luxury has left me with egg on my face.