What to eat at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo
ABOUT TSUKIJI FISH MARKET
Tsukiji Fish Market is world renowned & for good reason. Stepping into Tsukiji market is like entering a bustling food metropolis. There are food stalls & equipment for food preparation everywhere you look. Some parts of the market are open to tourists whilst other spaces are closed off; only for serious buyers, waiting to find the best ingredients for their menu that day (Many sushi restaurants change their menu daily depending on what is available). Buyers range from Michelin star restaurants to local grocery stores & auctions start as early as 4 AM.
The synergy between the buyer & seller is very important. Without quality ingredients, the master chef cannot prepare the best meal for his customers. Likewise, without the chef, the vendor's catch cannot be experienced to its fullest potential. There are no dodgy deals as the proof will be in the pudding later on. Some vendors even withhold their ingredients until their longterm clients show up or a rightly suited chef approaches. Of course, money is to be made but if you're selling low-quality ingredients to a Michelin star chef & high-quality ingredients to a grocery store you can expect a bad reputation.
Tsukiji Fish Market has been operating in its location since 1935, however, the location is set to change in early October 2018. It is a popular tourist attraction, with many street vendors, restaurants & kitchenware stores. I would recommend going on an empty stomach as you will want to try everything! Before heading out I would check their website for opening days as they have sporadic days off (marked in red).
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WHAT TO EAT AT TSUKIJI FISH MARKET
When entering the market you will more than likely be shoulder to shoulder with the crowd. If you are taking children with you maybe leave the pram at home as it will be hard to navigate the small alleys. If you can have your small child in a chest sling that would be ideal.
Now, this blog doesn't show all the things I ate, as I was completely surrounded by people with not much time or room to take a snap. So here are my top picks.
The first thing I tried in the market was the Tamago (egg omelet). At ¥100 (AUD$1.20) per stick, you can't go wrong. You can get savory or sweet flavoured. For this particular dish, I always opt for the sweet one. You can watch the cooks create this delicious snack right in front of you, and the whole process is quite fascinating. Its certainly something I'll be trying to recreate at home one day.
Next up is a juicy fat pork dumpling. There are a few vendors that sell this tasty treat but this particular stall was extra good. It was owned by a small Japanese man & he shared the space with his wife, selling fruit beside him. With the dumpling comes some hot mustard & there is soy sauce on the counter. I had two they were that good ( I didn't need two as this was my last vendor & I was completely stuffed).
Before chowing down on a couple of monster sized dumplings I saw THIS (pictured below). I have no idea what it's called but I saw a lady with one & I had to have it. From what I could tell it was deep fried corn in a batter. Was delicious. Could have eaten 10 but I knew damn well how bad for me they probably were.
Thankfully there was a fruit stand next door & I had some strawberries to offset the grease. This vendor was located near the street side of the market next to a shrine.
Last but certainly not least was matcha ice-cream. Now I know what you're saying "But you didn't eat any seafood." This is true, but the reason being is that:
A) the lines to eat seafood-based meals were so very very long
B) most of the vendors are catering towards the fishmongers who despite loving fish, probably don't want to eat fish for lunch
C) I'm particular on what seafood I like (Oysters are not my jam)
Despite this I enjoyed myself at the market, looking at what was on offer & eating what took my fancy. Did I mention I LOVE MATCHA? I couldn't leave without an ice-cream.