It has been challenging to put together a post with all the delicious goodies I ate in the space of 15 days. Doing 1 post will not do any justice to my foodie experience in Japan. I need to re-live my sushi experience in Tokyo, hence the post. Drooling is allowed as I will probably be drooling on my side of the computer while trying to relive the special moments. 😉
Our sushi-gasm day begun at 9am when we arrived at Tsukiji Market. We know that there is the option of going to the market at the ungodly hour of 4 am to watch the auction. Yes, there are a little bit of regret that I didn’t partake in that experience, but logically it would be really cold and uncomfortable as winter is quickly approaching. So, we reached Tsukiji at 9.30am and went through the wholesaler market (which opens for public after 9am).
It was a totally surreal experience. We saw tuna (of course), cuttlefish, squid and whole lot of other seafood we have never seen before. But watch out for the dock workers zipping around on their electric pallet jack (for the lack of better word). They will honk you out of the aisles and those dangerous thing will zip by you within few inches. Keep your eyes and ears open if you are in the area. You will know what I am talking about once you see them.
The hand in the pictures is for comparison purpose only… Yes everything is larger than life in this market!
Despite all that, I managed to snag a small box of Uni for 1000 Yen (which is ridiculously cheap!). I was standing on the side of the building with my stolen chopstick to devour the box of uni. Sadly we live in a hotel with no stove, or I would gladly turn this box of uni to become uni pasta… The uni taste really fresh with no fishy smell at all. I managed to get my 2 friends to taste uni for the very first time, and boy were they surprised. The uni has flowery/fruity fragrance and the richness that is typical to roe. My friends were willing to have a couple more bites of it. Now they are doomed- they will expect all their uni to taste as fresh as this….
After our tour we decided to get a sample taste of sushi… We went to building 6 where the famous Sushi Dai line is already around the block. There were another store where the line is 4 deep and it snakes around the 2 small restaurants. We decided to go to the second restaurant as the line seems to move quicker than the line at Sushi Dai. All the restaurant names are in Japanese. Hence the only name I got out of the restaurant was “Yama…” We were ogling through the window at the customers devouring their toro, uni, tamago with our grumbling stomach to wait for our turn. After around 30-40 mins wait, we were finally ushered into the tiny sushi bar. We were offered the omakase course which we declined, as we have an omakase reservation for lunch at Kyubey in Ginza.
Hence my friends and I ordered a selection of sushi. All of it was divine! We managed to have 3-4 pieces of sushi each and peel ourself off the counter to go to our next sushi appointment. The sushi at Tsukiji Market is already really good and we were skeptical that the next experience has to top off this. But we have faith and moved on to our next sushi appointment. In case you are curious about the price, we spend around 6000 Yen for 3 of us with 3-4 pieces of sushi per person.
If a picture says a thousand words, I believe this does. From left to right: scallops, raw sweet shrimp, beautiful fatty toro
We started our stroll towards Ginza (it is 10 minutes walk by Japanese standard) with our half satisfied belly. and found our next destination, Kyubey. Kyubey has been a Tokyo sushi institution for a long long time with their reputation for quality sushi and dishes. I opted for the highest sushi set menu while my friends opted for the middle sushi set. If budget is tight, I would recommend for the middle sushi set as the only difference between the course is appetizer, a few (2 pieces of sushi) and dessert. (this is based on their lunch at the Ginza shop, dinner service might be slightly different as they have different pricing). If you are a cawan mushi lover, then the appetizer will be worth while.
I had a head start with the cawan mushi course which is so soft, light and airy that it melts in the mouth. It was the best cawan mushi I had ever have in my entire life. Then the parade of sushi begin. We had toro, spanish mackarel, hamachi, ika, uni, ebi, clam, chutoro , anago, tamago and toro, cucumber and pickles roll. Each bite is as heavenly as the next. My friends and I were having sushi-gasm that we barely spoke to each other during the meal. We were busy taking pictures , devouring and savoring the delicate burst of flavors in our mouth. The few bites that stands out the most are the toro (melt in the mouth,one of the best tuna experience I have), uni (the right temperature brings out the natural flavor of the uni. It has a rich flowery/fruity fragrance), the shrimp (you can order them medium or raw, it taste really sweet and refreshing), anago (it really melts in the mouth, more of sponge cake texture than of an eel) and tamago (the semi-dessert sushi that taste more like sponge cake than dessert. Tamago will never taste the same- ever). I’m doomed 😦
I got my melt in the mouth mochi for dessert. It was such a delicate taste. I would not be surprised if their appetizers and desserts and selection of seafood changes with the season. Their decoration reflects the current season. We left Kyubey with our full stomach ready to shop in Ginza. Dover’s Market and 12 levels of Uniqlo are among the few stores we visited in Ginza.
Farewell Kyubey! Until we meet again… You have not seen the last of me.. You will be the first reservation I’ll make if I am going to Tokyo again… I will be curious to try the dinner service.