Monday, December 24, 2012

Sushi to Dai for at Tsukiji Market

When I was a little girl, my father would occasionally wake me up around 4am and take me to Tsukiji Fish Market, usually when we had out of town guests.  Today Tsukiji still serves as one of the main tourist attractions in Tokyo, although it is expected to move from it's current location near Ginza to a less central location by 2014.  I was fascinated by the early morning bustle of the market with unusual sea creatures that I have yet to encounter anywhere else in the world.  I never tire of the seemingly secret language of the auctioneers at the Tuna auction.  These days, the market limits the number of observers for the auctions to 120 a day, and you need to register at 5am to get in.  My favorite part of the fish market is the sushi restaurants with the freshest fish you will ever find.  These restaurants originally catered to the Tsukiji market workers and generally open from 5am-2pm. Two of the most famous are Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi.  Both have been featured on international travel shows and countless blogs. Sushi Dai is generally known for a friendlier atmosphere and has the longer lines of the two, and happens to be my favorite.  For around 4,000 yen, you can get an Omakase set - it comes with tea, a really rich fish based miso soup, tamago, and 11 pieces of sushi and one roll.  On a recent chilly morning, I arrived at 4:30am and made the first seating.  It is well worth the early wake up, the wait is known to be longer than 3 hours!

The amazing sushi chefs at Sushi Dai
The Tamago is warm and more savory than most
The best O-toro (fatty tuna) I have ever had
Hirame (flounder)
Tai (red snapper)
Aji (mackerel)
Uni (sea urchin)
Buri (yellowtail) 
Akagai (red clam) it was still moving!
Magurozuke (marinated tuna)
Roll, and Shiraebi (baby shrimp)
Anago (sea eel)
The final piece is customer choice.  For me it was O-toro
Don't be fooled, the line continues around the corner (50 deep when we left)

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