Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tsukiji Market - Part I

Tsukiji market is the central whole sale market in Tokyo.  It is famous for its fish market, but as a matter of fact, the fish market is just one of the many whole sale markets located in Tsukiji.  Look at this map of Tsukiji, you can see they actually have a fruits market too, but just a lot less well-known to the tourists.

Ok, to get to Tsukiji market, you just need to take the subway to Tsukiji station, simple enough, right?  After you come out of the station, turn left, and voila, here it is the Tsukiji market.  Don't follow the crowd.  I made that mistake and follow the 'tourist' crowd after I exited the subway station.  Instead of turning left, I followed the crowd to turn right, and then ended up in the shops outside Tsukiji market, and it took me quite a while to find my way back.  How did I do that, I followed a pair of Japanese boys who obviously were going to the market too :D

The most famous fish in Tsukiji is of course the blue fin tuna.  It is the top material they use for Japanese sushi.  You often heard that freshness of the fish is of utmost importance in the quality of sushi, so you might think that those blue fin tuna are live when they are made into your sashimi.  It is not.  The tuna is deep frozen, and then sent to the market.  You can see many tunas lying around.

And the guys in the market will cut them up into smaller pieces.


The smaller pieces are placed in a chilling facility, waiting for the customers to come and buy them.

That is what you will see in your sushi shop.  

It is eye-opening to see how they handle those giant blue fin tunas.  However, if you not a fish guy, or you dislike any place that is wet and dirty and chaotic, probably Tsukiji is not the place for you :)

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