Friday, May 1, 2009

Sushi from The Fish Market

The Tsukiji Fish Market, also known as Tokyo Central Wholesale Market, doubles as a bustling tourist attraction whereby sightseers witness the famous tuna auction that takes place at the crack of dawn. Well, I wasn’t planning to get up early for that. It would have been nice to see, but what I really wanted was some super-fresh sushi, which was available in numerous mini-restaurants in the outside market area, where you weren’t so likely to be bulldozed by one of the hundreds of motorized carts being ridden around by somber-looking employees. Amid stalls that sold everything from knives and souvenir shirts to spices and ceramic dinnerware, little eateries offered platters of assorted sushi for as low as 2,100 Yen (about $22.50).

I immediately spotted the names of fish on the menu that are rare in the States: shako (squilla, a gray-colored mantis shrimp), torigai (cockle), aoyagi (round clam). The sushi platter I ordered happened to have the shako, which looked like the body of a giant segmented bug that had shucked its exoskeleton. The chef painted its center with some sweet brown sauce, which tasted like a teriyaki-soy-glaze of some sort. Other sea-creatures that decorated my tray in nigiri form: toro (fatty tuna), kanpachi (premium yellowtail), bright red bonito (a type of tuna), ama ebi (sweet shrimp), gai (clam), and aji (Spanish mackerel).

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