What’s bigger than this ridiculously disproportionate crab scaling a building?
…Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s biggest fish market!
Which is where you’ll find these more proportionate crabs (pictured below), along with a whole sea of other fish and seafood to chow down on – or, just to observe (from a safe distance), if the sight of slimy scales and bulging fish eyes makes your stomach turn.
The Tsukiji Fish Market is huge.
But the fish at this market are even bigger. My father is an avid fisherman and the fish he brings home look like goldfish compared to these guys. Sorry, dad!
Every day, two thousand tonnes of gigantic fish pass through its streets. Two thousand! That’s a whole lot of fish and a whole lot of people scrambling through the maze of fish mongers, hungry to purchase the fresh catches of the day! It consists of both an outdoor and an indoor area that welcome the public and wholesalers, alike.
Here, is where Tokyo’s famous tuna auctions take place. At 5:00 am, licensed bidders gather around the colossal catches and battle it out for their top picks. Visitors can observe all the madness between 5:25 and 6:15 am. However, the auction limits viewers to only 120 people per day. Get to the Osakana Fukyu Center bright and early to secure your spot to watch all the tuna auction mania!
This is where serious snacking takes place. An extraordinary maze of food. While walking up and down, sideways and across different alleyways and streets, I was overwhelmed by all of the options of food. Food vendors and restaurants were taunting me and my one stomach (ugh) with everything from fresh sushi and steaming ramen to all types of mouth-watering deep-fried foods and heavenly desserts. I had to make some agonizing decisions while navigating my way through the market.
Here are the eats I fit in my (one, sigh) stomach during my Tsukiji Fish Market food adventure:
I’ve had an insatiable appetite for sushi since I was eight years old.
This resulted from a mind-altering head injury I endured while playing an (apparently) aggressive game of costume dress-up. Once I had regained complete consciousness, I stated to my parents that I was craving sushi. What?! I had never eaten sushi before in my life! Did I even know what sushi was? And so, sushi I received (my parents felt really bad about the head stitches). Well, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So thank you, curious head injury, for introducing me to sushi.
Now, enough about my beautifully poetic childhood trauma. Let’s talk about the amazing tuna roll I scarfed down at the market!
Sorry, big guy. You were absolutely delicious though.
This was the freshest sushi my mouth has ever tasted. Ever. After that first bite, I think I died and went to sushi heaven. A huge crowd hovered around the stall, scanning the different boxes of tuna available. I pretended to do the same. With some seriously hefty price tags on some of them, I had already decided that the best (and only) option for me was the cheapest one. Sigh. In light of it being the only option my pockets could afford, it was the absolute, very best sushi I have had in my life. So, I know that one day when I win the lottery, a wacky Korean game show, or a food-eating competition, that this is where I will be spending all my winnings.
This is one of the most genius things I have ever eaten. I really don’t know how I will ever consume corn again without it being heavily fried.
At Ajino-Hamato Tsukiji Honten, everything comes fried. Why can’t every food establishment live by this same practice? All sorts of seafood and vegetables are fried until they are perfectly crisp, then served piping hot and fresh.
Despite the amount of food I consume (truly impressive), I always have room for some dim sum.
Suga Shoten Dimsum prepares a mean black pork dumpling. A generous heaping of pork shoulder is wrapped up in a fine piece of dough, then served steaming. If I hadn’t stuffed myself already and eaten everything on my fish market bucket list, I would have kept popping those darn dumplings into my mouth, until I became one myself.
I have been deprived of strawberries the entire time I’ve lived in Korea. Strawberries in Korea are expensive. I never realized how much I took them for granted back in Canada, until I saw a whopping $10 price tag on a box containing six, single strawberries. So, when I saw this dessert, topped with a rare and divine strawberry, I couldn’t hold back.
This stand serves mochi, a Japanese rice cake, with a soft and chewy texture. The mochi is stuffed with various flavours including: the classic Asian red bean (seriously, this stuff is in everything), chocolate, custard, and mango whipped cream. Each of the these heavenly creations comes garnished with a perfectly ripe, juicy strawberry. The combination of the mochi with the rich and sweet strawberry is absolutely glorious.
HOW TO GET THERE:
As always, happy eating, everyone!
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