Tsukiji Market is a real revelation. Always. I have been to the market, perhaps 3 or 4 times, and each time, it is a wonderful experience. The arrangements for tourists to view the auction has always been changing...and currently, they take about 120 pax who must all be present at 5am, and will be allocated into 2 groups...one batch at 5:15am and another at 5:45am.
I missed the auction this time...as I got to Tsujiki with Unicorn at about 5:10am, and we missed the registration. Feeling a bit down, we looked around elsewhere in the market, looking at shop upon shop of bonito sellers...we then found the fish wholesale place. Where the fish comes out after the auction. And actually met a fish monger who is practicing his craft of carving entire tunas into restaurant sized chunks.
And surprises! He welcomed us to look and photograph, and he spoke English!
Two red tunas were delivered...one about 40kg, and the other 80kg
It is a two man job wrestling the tuna onto the cutting table.
Then after some cleaning of the fish, and knives. I forget to ask him what he was using to clean the fish, but I think its an alcohol...like the alcohol swab you get before the doctor plunges his needle for your injection.
The process seemed almost ritualistic...zen like. He seemed totally focussed...almost like in a trance.
After a few deftly executed cuts...the head's off
And he began with a large knife, making incisions along the back, filleting the large fish. Alternating from a large, sword like knife and a smaller one which looks like a cook's knife.
Ah, a smile lit up his face as he opened the fillet..."very good!", he exclaimed in English...looking at us,"this is a very good day. I am very happy".
We talked for a bit, and went across the small lane, avoiding the little motorized vehicles which were towing trolleys laden with tuna, and came across one of the few sushiyas which did not feature a long queue. And had sushi for breakfast.
Look at the slice of otoro...
Unicorn with the Maguro Sushi set Y3500
A closer look at the set
The otoro sushi...yum...
The taste was unbelievable. Unicorn pronounced it the best sushi he has eaten. The fats just dissolve in your mouth almost on contact and the slightest tongue pressure. Almost like caviar.
We just had to then share another order of maguro sashimi
Look at the shimofuri (snow flake, a term also used to describe the similar look on a piece of wagyu)...and the beautiful, marbling...amazing!
And I totally concur with Unicorn...best sushi I ever had.
Not sure of the address...the row of shops just outside Tsukiji Fish Market wholesale area.
Tsukiji, Tokyo, Japan
Apologies for inconsistent colour temperature...instead of using the AWB in my GH-2, I mistakenly set it for tungsten.