It seems unthinkable, almost sacrilegious to visit Tsukiji Fish Market in the Ginza District of Tokyo and not eat sushi. Having had the good fortune of visiting the market several times over the past few years, I decided to do just that on my latest visit.
The stalls that line the vegetable market dotting the perimeter of the largest seafood market on the planet offer a veritable smorgasbord of Japanese street food. Most visitors head for the purveyors offering delicious fatty tuna, screamingly fresh prawns and melt-in-your-mouth uni. This morning I skipped the sashimi and perused the food stands along the main road before making my selection.
Common sense tells you that when almost 100 percent of the customers are Japanese and in an area that serves a huge contingent of workers from the fishing industry, you’re bound to find some incredible meals. I walked past the hoard of people lined up for ramen, moved along from the tempura stand after one of the cooks yelled at me for taking a photo (of the food, not him) and finally settled on what I would order.
A bubbling, spicy cauldron of all the “nasty bits” served over steamed rice beckoned my attention. As I approached the stand with my ¥800 in-hand, prepared to purchase my late breakfast, I was met with worried looks and shaking heads. Unbeknownst to the ladies at the counter was the fact that I had traveled and eaten my way through India, Southeast Asia and Scotland; my lower intestine was ready for anything. They reluctantly served me the spicy stew made mostly from the stomach and organs of a pig over rice and topped it with green onions and handed me a glass of cold tea. I walked over to one of the stand-up counters and happily tucked into the bowl. It was delicious of course and when I dropped off my empty bowl at the counter and exclaimed “Oishii,” I think I won them over.
If you have the opportunity to spend a few hours in Tsukiji, by all means have your sushi. But, if you start feeling a little peckish later in the day, a visit to the food stalls is a must and will be sure to please.