Thursday, March 17, 2016
We're in Japan taking a much needed vacation there's so much to see and so much great food it's hard to know where to start. One of my "must visits" on this trip was the Tsukiji Fish Market. You have to wake up pretty early in the morning to get in and watch the fish auction. I am not such an eager early bird, so we woke up and walked around the Tsukiji area to visit the various vendors and of course get a lot of good food. Neither of us know much Japanese, but everyone we met here was super friendly and went out of their way to help give us directions or get us where we were trying to go. I highly recommend checking this place out if you're in the area.
Of course there's lots of fish. They do sell to normal people here. The auctions are usually for the restaurants that buy giant whole tuna. They are in the process of moving the Auction market away from the consumer markets, so if you're planning on coming here for the big morning auction make sure to check for the new location.
Although people do come for the fish, Tsukiji is a well known market offering a bunch of items. The stalls show a variety of specialized shops, here's a shot of a tsukemono (Japanese pickles) shop, they pickle just about everything including fish.
They had a section that specialized in Tamagoyaki. Various flavors that you can purchase for home.
Or you can just buy a fresh slice right from the vendor. Toasty hot and served with a bit of grated Daikon radish with soy sauce which was a nice complement to the sweet egg omelette.
We stopped at Sushi Zanmai for some of the best sushi I've ever had.
The Chu-toro (medium fatty tuna) and O-Toro (best part of the tuna belly) were so amazingly fresh and melted in your mouth. I've had my share of Otoro in the past and it's not been anything like this. The uni (sea urchin, my favorite) was unbelievably sweet and no trace of bitterness.
There are stalls featuring dried fish of every sort.
Here's a picture of Puffer Fish fins. I might still go back and try some.
And of course a ton of bento boxes and kitchen wares.
Mochi (Japanese rice cake sweet) of every flavor and type. Mochi is chewy, soft and traditionally stuffed with red bean paste. It goes really well with some hot green tea.
grilled skewers and unagi (grilled eel).
Largest Crab I've ever seen
Shellfish, lots of shellfish.
Real wasabi root. Most of the time the stuff you get at the sushi restaurants is actually green dyed powdered horseradish.
Traditional Japanese candies
Spiky Sea Cucumber (also known as sea slug), this is a highly sought after variety. (usually it's a smooth skin). It's got an unusual texture, something like a flavor-less jello with a bit more snap to it.
I don't know where to begin with this fish. I got some pictures of hands to give you an idea of size.
And other stuff I've never seen before. This bears a resemblance to something I've seen in the Sydney fish market.
It was a great first day in Tokyo! We easily rushed half a day here, and could have taken up a few more hours if not for the fact we had some plans in the afternoon. More soon!