Tsukiji Market: Sushisei, Marutake Tamago and other delicious eats!

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Waking up early for this fish market and its auctions are never easy. that's why we didn't do so.
entrance to the market
One early morning (by early, i meant late, by Tsukiji  standards), we headed over to the popular fish market from the Tsukiji station. the current fish market is right smack between Tsukiji station and the Tsukiji shijo station. Well, I enjoyed the quick 3 minutes walk from the station to the market.

cute uncle in the octopus head gear even posed for me as i attempted to photograph him!

As it was summer, the fish market can be smelled across the road, whenever the wind blew in our direction. Or maybe just me, since I pretty much have a dog's nose.

It wasn't a stinging fish smell, so i was cool with it. The market is lined with so many stores, selling dried produce - like seaweed, nuts and more. seafood were available along the restaurants, and we've faith that they were all fresh.

If you're into buying seaweed as souvenirs, I would like to recommend this store to you, which is located near the market entrance. Just keep a lookout for the signboard as it could be quite hectic in there, with the hoards of people streaming in.


This store, above picture, has good service and sell a huge pack of seaweed for just 1000 yen (SGD$12). The seaweed goes very well with hot soup, as we verified with some samples they were giving out.


Along the way, I told a couple of vendors that I would be back to taste their food, only to let them down after I had my fill at a sushi restaurant, which I will be sharing about in a bit.

fresh uni
Grilled uni with crab meat



Grilled fish
We were there for Sushisei (main store in Tsukiji ), only to find that it was gonna be open only at 8.30am, which by fish market standards, is late. so we decided to route to the other side of the market just to check out the crazy popular 2 stalls that everyone we know swears by: Sushi dai and Daiwa sushi.

We were there at about 7am and still, people in the queue for the popular restaurants told us that they queued for 3 hours, only to get to a spot where they still had to wait for more than 20 groups in front of them to clear out. My inner hangry wasn't going to wait that long to get fresh fish. So, no go.

After all, the only thing that differs for sushi is their sushi rice, so if you're gonna just wanna have sashimi, get yours anywhere, where there is no queue.

I also wanted to get some grilled unagi (japanese eel) - and was unlucky to have gotten mine from a chinese-speaking store owner, who thought i didn't understand Mandarin.
bad, bad service. bad bad unagi.
He griped on how tourists (including me) only take photos of food but not buy them, not knowing that I already paid his colleague for some unagi. very rude. here's a photo of their stall. i was going to let it go and not mention how rude they were in this post, if their unagi was heavenly. but nope.
The unagi was served cold, despite having been 'heated' up in front of us, on the grill. I wonder how that happened but I'm never going back to his stall again.

On the other hand, we saw some awesome grilled uni (edible part of the sea urchin) along the way (the one we promised the stall vendor we would come back for it, but didn't).

It smelled so good, looked piping hot/warm and the Japanese stall vendor was very gracious about us taking photos of her delicious food. that's maximum confidence of their food, so i suggest you give their uni a try sometime. her store is just in front of ichiba-dori.

Next up, we had some tamago from the popular Marutake tamagoyaki and another stall, Yamachou matue.
Marutake Tamagoyaki
Popular marutake's tamago is sweet and comforting. sold warm and sweet. Really nice for a 100yen meal starter. We enjoyed this but decided against ordering a second one lest we can't try other foods in the market. This was really good. They also have another counter, just selling the frozen omelettes (with various flavours and ingredients) which locals or tourists can purchase back to heat up. But to be honest, eating there was still the best. This shop has 80 years of history, so eating from here, you can't go wrong.
Another tamago stall we did try was Yamachou matue. Yamachou's female owner owned a rbf (resting bitch face) but hey, we don't judge. I'm not a total witch so I'm not going to post her rbf here.
Rbf lady asked us if we wanted the sweet tamago or mild sweet tamago, and since we already had the sweet tamago from marutake, we decided to go with the mild sweet tamago. Also, she asked if we wanted to add some cold daikon (radish thingy) on top of the egg and we did. I think it'll taste even better without it, though.
Mild sweet tamago is no go, guys. When in japan, eat it sweet. Either way, the texture of the tamago was pretty nice so we were well satisfied.

Be sure to note that there are specified bins for the styrofoam and the wooden stick. Throw them in the right ones.
Above photo (bin for sticks only), below photo (for styrofoam only)
Finally, after all that dilly-dallying, it was finally time for sushisei. sushisei's story started more than a 100 years ago, so i was quite excited to try their sushi.

I was there 10 mins before 8.30am, and there were already people queueing up. Luckily, we were one of the first groups to arrive and we were assured a seat. We went up some crazy steep stairs to reach the second level, and we sat at the counter.
that concentration. sugoi-desu ne!
I don't pretend to be any fish expert, but the fish they served were indeed fresh. I poured some soy sauce and dipped a little onto my sushi before enjoying. Each sushi already came with wasabi in its midst, so be sure to inform them if you don't want any wasabi. However, I'm not sure if that might earn you some frowns, because i guess that's the way they enjoy their sushi.

We ordered the omakase (chef's sushi choices of the day. 3,600 yen), it came with 12 chef chosen sushi, and the chef would inform you when all have been served.


I also took the chance to order the chirashi special (1,542 yen) and we were served with thick and juicy slices of fish and salty roe on top of japanese rice. Mix them around lightly and enjoy. I should also mention that there's already a dollop of wasabi in the middle of the rice, so take note before you stir it up.

The chef was also busy preparing the fresh fish, slicing it up for later customers that would visit them that day. a thought flashed past my mind as he placed the huge slices of fish right in front of me, at the counter.

'What if i sneeze accidentally, or cough?'

GG lor.

Well. Since they have that level of trust in us, so I will ensure that I do not sneeze or cough into those slabs of fish for the sake of their business.

Be sure to visit the current market before they shift to the new site in (supposedly) November 2016.


Important note: please make sure you check the calendar for their open and close market dates, as we attempted to go on a day which is closed, and had to turn back. not knowing what to do, we visited shibuya for the shibuya crossing, stay tuned to the blog for what happened!

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Tsukiji fish market (before november 2016)
Location: 5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo 104-0045, Japan
Google map coordinates: 35.66548,139.77066 (just copy and paste this into the Google search bar for the exact location!)
Website: http://www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/ (in japanese only, not that even i can read japanese, so the link is here just to annoy you.)

I kid. there's totally an english website, here it is: http://www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/tukiji_e.htm