By Charlotte Griffiths
Sushi is probably Japan's most well-known cuisine and in the country you are spoilt for choice, with such a huge variety of price, quality and venue.
For the freshest fish it makes sense to eat sushi straight off the boat, and Japan's incredible wholesale markets are ideal for this.
For many, Tokyo's Tsukiji market is top of the list and Endo Sushi at Osaka's market features on many a sushi pilgrimage. Having been to both and being incredibly fond of raw fish I am confident in saying that I have found a better option: Fusazushi (ふさ鮨) at Kobe City Central Wholesale Market.
I went to this hidden gem on the recommendation of a local friend. It was a very wet day on which I dragged four friends and fellow sushi fiends to Fusazushi. A ten minute walk from Fukae station on the Hanshin line, our feet were soaked from puddles when we arrived at the deserted market at 10:30am, long after any auctions or produce sales had wrapped up. A boarded-up market is quite an eerie place when each raindrop echoes along the cardboard box-strewn alleys. It feels desolate, the exact opposite to a bustling market and like the beginning of a good apocalypse film. Nevertheless we soldiered on - investigative journalism is not for the faint of heart.
After a few wrong turns we finally arrived at our destination, tucked away from the main market; Fusazushi was literally the light at the end of the tunnel. Its sign glowed in welcome and the menu outside caused our tummies to grumble in anticipation.
Inside is cosy and welcoming with about ten seats at the counter and one table for two - romantic date anyone? We had no wait (perhaps thanks to the World Cup matches at the time) but I have been warned that, though they open 9am till 2pm, they close when they run out of stock.
Sushi breakfast/brunch is something everyone in Japan should experience. Being in the market means Fusazushi has the freshest stock and they deliver fantastic platters to hungry diners. Particularly impressive was the size of each piece. I have never seen such a huge scallop! The pieces are so generous that they helpfully slice each in two to make it easier to eat. This is ideal for trying a little of everything and then choosing your favourite to finish on - salmon, scallop and squid were our top contenders. The staff are very accommodating and if you don't like something on the platter they will switch it for an alternative.
Recommended mixed platters range from ¥1050 to ¥2800, and are all served with green tea and a salty but delicious clam miso soup. You can also order individual plates of your favourites and, by the looks of the people sat next to us, these are equally as generous - I would liken the ikura (salmon roe) nigiri to an exploding volcano, never have I seen so many fish eggs piled onto a mouthful of rice!
By the time my tasting party had finished sighing in ecstasy and lamenting the lack of such sushi in our respective countries, our feet had dried and the sun come out: a sushi miracle. Fusazushi is my number one sushi experience thus far, and completely worth the wet and eerie journey there.
"The world is a book, and those who don't travel only read one page." Augustine of Hippo Originally from the perennially rainy north of England, I like eating out, travelling and clichéd quotes - Japan is a very big chapter in my world book.