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Miya's Sushi
Bun Lai in Miyas.jpg
Chef Bun Lai in 2010
Restaurant information
Established 1982 (current location: 1990)
Current owner(s) Yoshiko Lai
Head chef Bun Lai
Food type Sustainable sushi
Dress code casual
Street address 68 Howe Street
City New Haven
State Connecticut
Postal code/ZIP 06511-4622
Country United States
Website http://miyassushi.com

Coordinates: 41°18′35″N 72°56′07″W / 41.3098°N 72.9354°W / 41.3098; -72.9354

Miya's Sushi is a sushi restaurant located in the Chapel West neighborhood of downtown New Haven, Connecticut in the United States.

The restaurant was opened in 1982 by Yoshiko Lai, a Japanese nutritionist and surgeon's wife.[1] She currently operates the restaurant with her son, Bun Lai, who is the creator of the current cuisine. The restaurant's original location was at 1217 Chapel Street, and in 1990 was relocated to its current location around the corner on Howe Street.


 The Best Sushi South of the Mason Dixon Line, created by Chef Bun Lai.
Miya's "The Best Sushi South of the Mason Dixon Line," an Americana sushi roll inspired by Southern cuisine and its Native American, African and European roots.

Miya's serves recipes from a twenty eight page menu. The restaurant is a sustainable sushi restaurant. Bun Lai began removing seafood from the menu at Miya's that was farmed or caught in a way that was not good for the environment in 2004. "I started with the least popular items that I knew would create the least protest from our guest such as Maine sea urchin and octopus. When I removed freshwater eel the following year, guests often walked out, fuming."[2] Miya's also has a long vegetarian sushi menu.[2]

Central to the seafood portion of the Miya's menu are culturally and commercially unpopular types of seafood that are abundantly locally available such as silver sides (which are considered bait fish), sea robins (which are considered "junk fish"), wild seaweeds (invasive dead man's fingers/codium fragile) and fouling organisms such as tunicates. Miya's also offers an invasive species menu, featuring dishes made of foraged ingredients that are threatening to the region's indigenous species.[3] Miya's serves a number of unusual sake infusions, which feature ingredients such as hand-picked pine cones, wild sumac, dandelion blooms and chili peppers.[4][5] The recipes at Miya's draw from a wide range of influences, including history, literature and genetics.[6]

Bun Lai[edit]

Bun Lai (born 1971) is an Asian American chef, environmentalist and social activist who is passionate about climate change and rethinking the way "life should be lived and business should be done." He is the owner and chef of Miya's, as well as an avid diver and fisherman who supplies the restaurant with local sustainable seafood from his own hundred acres of shell-fishing grounds off the Thimble Islands. He owns two fishing boats which serve as laboratories for sustainable seafood production.

He was born in Hong Kong, the son of Yoshiko Lai, a Japanese nutritionist and restaurateur, and Dr. Yin Lok Lai, a Chinese surgeon and Cambridge University educated professor.[7]

In New Haven, he attended the Foote School and Hamden Hall Country Day School.

He majored in International Relations at Ursinus College, where he wrestled. In 2008, he cornered Sally Roberts to the finals of the National tournament and the Olympic trials.[8]

In 2001, he was featured in a commercial for Carlsberg Beer.[8]

Lai is the 2010 recipient of the Elm Ivy Award, the key to the city of New Haven, bestowed by the city and Yale University to individuals and organizations that have enhanced the many partnerships and collaborative endeavors between the university and its host city.[9][10][11]

In 2010, Ecosalon named Bun Lai as one of their "11 Eco-Chefs Who Are Changing The Way We Think About Food."[12]

He received the 2011 Seafood Ambassador Award from Monterey Bay Aquarium for his leadership in the sustainable seafood movement.[13]

In 2011, with Brendan Smith of Thimble Island Oyster Company, he launched Connecticut's first community-supported fishery. NPR’s Nancy Cohen reported on the state’s first community supported fishing venture.[14]

Bun Lai is a sought after speaker. He has spoken at Google, the Department of Agriculture, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Yale University, Wesleyan University, New York University, the Peabody Museum, and The Museum of the City of New York.

In 2011, Lai was featured by the Food Network, ABC, Food and Wine Magazine, Saveur Magazine, Prevention Magazine, and The New York Times.

In January 2012, Gourmet Magazine ranked Miya's as a Top Ten Healthy Restaurant in the U.S.[15]


Casson Trenor, one of Time magazine's "Heroes of the Environment (2009)," has repeatedly praised Miya's for being a pioneer in the sustainable sushi movement.[1][16]

Miya's was ranked by Fish2Fork, the sustainability rating site founded by Charles Clover, author of The End of the Line: How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat, as one of the 3 most sustainable restaurants in the U.S.[17]

Anthropologist and founder of the Occupy Wall Street movement David Graeber acknowledges Bun Lai in his newest book Direct Action: an Ethnography, the first detailed ethnographic study of the Global Justice Movement.

Bestselling author Paul Greenberg has acknowledged Bun Lai's work in the sustainable seafood movement in articles for Food & Wine, Prevention Magazine and The New York Times.


  • Best of New England - Editor's Selection - Yankee Magazine 2009
  • Best of New England - Tourist Guide - Boston Magazine 2009
  • Best Sushi Statewide - Connecticut Magazine - 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 [18]
  • Best Sake Statewide - Connecticut Magazine - 2010, 2011 [19]
  • Key to the City of New Haven 2010
  • Huffington Post's Greatest Person of the Day 2011
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Seafood Award 2011
  • Fish2Fork Top Three Most Sustainable Restaurant in the U.S. 2012[20]
  • Gourmet Magazine Top Ten Healthiest Restaurant in the U.S. 2012


  1. ^ a b Baruzzi, Cara. "On a roll: Miya’s changing the way we eat, think about sushi (video)- The New Haven Register - Serving New Haven, Connecticut". Nhregister.com. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b Granata, Elise (2010-01-18). ""Sustainable Sushi" Gets A Toehold". New Haven Independent. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  3. ^ Gregory B. Hladky (2010-02-17). "News - Just Eat It". New Haven Advocate. Retrieved 2010-02-24. [dead link]
  4. ^ Kathleen Cei (2008-02-13). "Dining - V-Day Viands". New Haven Advocate. Retrieved 2010-02-24. [dead link]
  5. ^ Contributor(s): Lori Mack Cameron Henning. "FMS: The Food Schmooze! | Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network". Cpbn.org. Retrieved 2010-02-27. 
  6. ^ "Sushi-Preneurship. What can tech learn from sushi?". Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 2010-03-02. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  7. ^ "Experimental Eye Research : The development of the sphincter muscle in the iris of the albino rat". ScienceDirect. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  8. ^ a b "E*NTREPRENEURSHIP at Rensselaer". Eship.rpi.edu. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  9. ^ "Awards honor Yalies, city residents". Yale Daily News. 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  10. ^ "Yale and New Haven Honor Outstanding Community Leaders". Yale University office of public Affairs. 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  11. ^ "City, Yale leaders honored with Elm and Ivy Awards". New Haven Register. 2010-04-14. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  12. ^ "11 Eco-Chefs Who Are Changing The Way We Think About Food". Ecosalon. 2010-11-04. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  13. ^ "Greatest Person of the Day: Bun Lai, Chef and Sustainable Sushi Guru". Huffington Post. 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2010-11-01. 
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ "Sustainable Sushi and End of the Line Screening". Jacquelinechurch.com. 2010-02-01. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 
  17. ^ "Miya's Sushi". Fish2fork.com. Retrieved 2010-06-07. [dead link]
  18. ^ Connecticut-Magazine/January-2010/Readers-039-Choice-Restaurant-Awards-2010/index.php?cparticle=5&siarticle=4#artanc. "Readers' Choice Restaurant Awards 2010". Connecticut Magazine. January 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  19. ^ "Best of Connecticut 2010". Connecticut Magazine. 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  20. ^ http://www.fish2fork.com/fish-restaurant.aspx

External links[edit]