Tsukiji Market Cheap Eats – Toritoh Chicken

toritada 1While many come to Tsukiji Market for sushi, I prefer to have warm dishes first thing in the morning. There is a wide variety of restaurants offering up more than just raw fish. Toritoh is both a restaurant and a retail shop. The retail shop in the outer market that sells both raw and cooked chicken. The restaurant is just around the corner from the retail shop. It’s a tiny restaurant that seats six at the counter and about ten at tables in the back.

** Note on a recent visit in October 2014 this fried chicken dish was no longer on the menu.
toritada 2

Kara-agé is Japanese fried chicken. This version fries the chicken and then quickly dips it in a sweet soy broth before putting over a bowl of rice topped with sauteed bean sprouts. It is served with a simple chicken broth, tofu, and pickles.

Toritoh 3

The signature dish of this shop is oyakodon, literally “mother and child rice bowl”, or chicken and eggs over rice. 親子丼

toritoh 5

The counter overlooks the open kitchen. On the stove there are several pots used specifically for cooking the chicken and eggs for oyakodon.
Toritoh 4Other dishes on the menu include yakitori over rice, chicken katsu (cutlets) and curry, and an interesting dish of bonjiri which is the fatty tissue near the tail end of the chicken.

Click here for photos of the dishes and a map to both the restaurant and the retail shop.


Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-8-6


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Tsukiji Market Cheap Eats

Where to have sushi at Tsukiji

7:30 – 14:30


Tsukiji Cheap Eats – Orimine Bakers


Tokyo is filled with many wonderful bakeries. I have favorites throughout the city including Viron, Gontran Cherrier, and Maison Kayser. As the city is so big it’s a good to have a knowledge of where the great bakeries are as you never know when you’ll find yourself in an area with great bread. Orimine Bakers is a shop to keep in mind if you find yourself near Tsukiji Market of Higashi-Ginza.


orimine 2

On a side street leading up to Tsukiji Market is this quaint bakery. I felt like I was back in New York City when I walked up to the bakery. It reminded me of the Magnolia Bakery in the West Village with its awning. The green bicycle parked in front of the green storefront for some reason also felt like New York City to me.

Orimine 3

I was first fascinated by this shop when I saw the seafood “oyatsu pan” breads they produce including this iidako (octopus) focaccia with tomato sauce, a taste of the Mediterranean. Other interesting breads include a grilled mackerel sandwich, grilled salmon sandwich, smoked salmon sandwich, as well as a variety of pastries.

Orimine 4

There is a wide variety of oyatsu pan (sweet and savory snack breads), sandwiches, croissants, and pan de mie. The friendly staff can help you to pick from their wide selection.

Orimine 5

I loved this shirasu foccacia with shiso and sesame seeds.

Orimine Bakers is a short walk from Tsukiji Market. Most visitors to the market will take their breakfast or lunch at Tsukiji. However, it’s convenient to pick up some bread from Orimine Bakers for later in the day. Orimine Bakers also has a second shop near Morishita station.

Orimine Bakers
Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 7-10-11 中央区築地7-10-11営
hours: 7:00 – 19:00

closed Wednesdays

Phone: 03-6228-4555



Food Sake Tokyo Update – Kiya Nihonbashi has moved

Kiya Knife Shop 木屋 *Note – this is the NEW address for Kiya Nihonbashi

Nihonbashi-Muromachi 2-2-1 中央区日本橋室町 2-2-1

Chuo-Ku Tokyo Coredo-Muromachi. 1F

Tel 03-3241-0110

10am – 8pm seven days a week
Closed only on New Year’s Day.

www.kiya-hamono.co.jp/english/index.html (English)

The corner shop, opened in 1792, has a sign in English, “World’s Finest Cutlery” over the door. The compact shop displays a shining collection of knives, pots, pans, and many things for the kitchen. Here you will find graters, pepper grinders, tweezers for pulling bones out of fish, as well as scissors and gardening tools. The friendly staff is patient and will help you to find exactly what you are looking for.

Tsukiji Market Tuna Auction Closed Until January 21

The end of the year brings on the biggest sales for many food and beverage companies in Japan. In particular, Tsukiji Market is extremely busy in December and the beginning of January. The market has announced that the tuna auction is closed for this time of year and will reopen to the public on January 21. Until that time the outer market is still open to the public. Click here for the market calendar through the end of the year to see which days to avoid. Here is the Tsukiji Market 2013 calendar.



Tokyo Station’s Popular Ekiben 東京駅人気駅弁

Ekiben are literally bento from different eki or stations in Japan. Part of the pleasure of traveling by train in Japan is sampling a variety of local foods sold in bento boxes at major stations throughout the country. A bento from a coastal village most likely will showcase locally harvested seafood while a mountain village may feature vegetables harvested from the region.

At Tokyo Station there is a shop specializing in bento called “Bentoya Matsuri”, or festival of bentos (photo of shop here). The shop just opened this August and is already very popular. It is located on the first floor in the Central Passage (中央通路). It sells 170 different type of ekiben from all over Japan. It sells about 10,000 ekiben each day. Some ekiben are purchased by travelers transiting through Tokyo station while others are bought by Tokyoites bringing them home to enjoy.

Bentoya Matsuri recently announced the top selling ekiben based on the first two months of sales. It is interesting to note that five of the top six hail from the Tohoku region that was affected by the 3/11 triple disaster. Tohoku is renowned for its cuisine but this may also be a sign of consumers showing their support for Tohoku. The top six are here. Click on the bento name to see a photo if it’s not included.

gyuniku domannaka

1. Gyuniku Domannaka from Yonezawa in Yamagata 1,100 yen (Yonezawa beef)

2. Gokusen Sumibiyaki Gyutan Bento from Sendai in Miyagi 1,300 yen (grilled beef tongue)

Yonezawa Gyu

3. Yonezawa Gyu Sumibiyaki Tokucho Karubi Bento from Yonezawa in Yamagata (Yonezawa beef)


4. Miyagi Ougonkaidou from Sendai in Miyagi 1,000 yen (anago, uni, scallop, salmon, and ikura)

5. Miyagi Umi no Kagayaki Benijake Harakomeshi from Sendai in Miyagi 1,000 yen (salmon and ikura)

6. Koshu Katsu Sando from Obuchizawa in Yamanashi 600 yen (tonkatsu sandwich – good even at room temperature)

December Seasonal Japanese Seafood 12月旬の魚



asari pasta

asari pasta

buri kamayaki

buri kamayaki

Winter has arrived in Tokyo. The waters surrounding the island nation are cold in most parts of the country and the fish are rich with fat. At the moment Shinji, my husband who is a fishmonger, is crazy about wild buri (yellowtail) from Hokkaido. We look for the kama (collar) of the buri and other larger fish to salt and grill. He’s also excited as up until now the monkfish in the market has been imported but now that it’s cold the monkfish is domestic and he loves to make ankimo (monkfish liver). It’s often called “foie gras of the sea”. And while the texture and appearance is similar to foie gras it’s not as rich in fat. We also love kinmedai as nitsuke, simply simmered in a soy and saké broth with a bit of ginger. As for clams, we love asari in pasta and shijimi for miso soup.

Akagarei – 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Amadai – 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicus)

Ankou – 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Asari – 浅利 littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Bora – 鯔 flathead gray mullet (Mugil cephalus cephalus)

Buri – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Fugu – 河豚 blowfish or puffer fish (Takifugu porphyreus)

Hata Hata – 鰰 sailfin sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus)

Hirame – 鮃  olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Honmaguro – 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Houbou – 魴 gurnard (Chelidonichthys spinosus)

Hoya – 海鞘 sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Inada –  イナダ young Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Kaki – 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi – 寒鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Kawahagi – 皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kinki – 喜知次 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinme – 金目 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kurumaebi – 車海老 Japanese tiger prawn (Penaeus (Melicertus) japonicus)

Madara – 真鱈 Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus)

Makarei – 真鰈 littlemouth flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Managatsuo – 真名鰹 silver pomfret (Pampus punctatissimus)

Madara shirako – 白子 milt from Pacific cod

Mebaru – 目張 rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Meji maguro – young maguro

Mizudako – 水蛸 North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Mutsu – むつ gnomefish (Scombrops boops)

Namako – 生子 sea cucumber (Stichopus japonica)

Nametagarei – 婆鰈 slime flounder (MIicrostomus achne)

Saba – 鯖  Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sakuraebi – 桜蝦  sakura shrimp (Sergia lucens)

Sawara – 鰆  Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae – 栄螺 horned turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shirako – milt (from cod or fugu are most popular)

Sukesoutara – 介党鱈   Alaska pollack (Theragra chalcogramma)

Suzuki – 鱸  Japanese sea perch (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Uni –  sea urchin

Wakasagi – 若細魚  Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Warasa – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Zuwaigani – 頭矮蟹 snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

Michelin Tokyo 2013 Three Star Restaurants

Today Michelin announced the newest stars in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Shonan. There are 6 new two stars, 16 new one starsion the 6th edition of the Michelin Guide for the Metropolis area. 2 restaurants were promoted from one to two stars.

Here is the list of three star restaurants:

Azabu Yukimura   –   Japanese

Esaki   –   Japanese contemporary

Ginza Koju   –   Japanese

Ishikawa   –   Japanese

Joël Robuchon   –   French Contemporary

Kanda   –   Japanese

Quintessence   –   French Contemporary

Ryugin   –  Japanese contemporary

7 chome Kyoboshi   –  Tempura

Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten   –   Sushi

Sushi Mizutani   –   Sushi

Sushi Saito   –  Sushi

Sushi Yoshitake   –  Sushi

Usukifugu Yamadaya   –  Fugu

and, Koan in Shonan for Japanese cuisine

There is a total of 15 3 star restaurants in the Tokyo area. There are only 100 restaurants in the world that are currently holding Michelin 3 stars.

As for the number of 3 star restaurants dropping from 17 last year to 15 this year. Hamadaya, lost one star but retains two stars. The other, Araki, a sushi restaurant is not included in the red guide at all this year as the restaurant is closing. Reports say that Araki may open in London in the future but this has not been confirrmed.

For the full list, click here.

Tsukiji Market Move to Toyosu in 2014

NHK reports on the evening news that it has been decided that the world’s largest seafood market, Tsukiji Market, will move to Toyosu in 2014. While the information in this brochure is in Japanese, if you scroll down you can see sketches of what the future market will look like. Space has been reserved to allow for tourists to overlook the market (I believe on a higher level so as not to get in the way of the workers). There will also be a shopping area and restaurants for the tourists. The link to the brochure above also has a map showing the current location and where the new market will be. As you can see, it is not very far from the current location.


Cheap Eats – Taniya Udon in Ningyocho 人形町の谷や

Udon is a dish we often eat at home for lunch. Udon noodles are sold in the supermarket as dried noodles that need to be boiled and rehydrated or fresh (and also frozen) that just needs to be blanched in hot water. While both of these versions are fine for a simple meal at home, there is nothing that compares to freshly made udon noodles at a restaurant that also makes an excellent broth that is served with the noodles.

Taniya in the historic district of Ningyocho is one of these places. Walking by on the street that leads up to the famous Suitengumae shrine it is hard to miss the handsome chef in the window rolling out the udon dough and then cutting it with a large knife. The style of udon noodles here are from the Sanuki region of Kagawa prefecture.

Tempura udon is one of my favorites. Seasonal vegetables such as kabocha, mushrooms, and lotus root are deep-fried in a thin tempura batter with a bowl of hot noodles. This portion size, the medium, was actually too much for lunch. Next time I go back I’ll order the smaller size.

The staff had recommended this bukkake udon topped with grated yamaimo, shrimp tempura, and a tempura-fried egg with a soft yolk inside. When the egg is broken in the middle the yolk spills out onto the rest of the dish. My friends loved this dish.

Taniya blog (with photos of their seasonal udon dishes). At the moment, the two seasonal dishes are a hot bowl of noodles topped with three types of mushrooms and a tsuke-udon where the noodles are dipped in a meaty “nikujiru” broth.

Tani-san cutting the udon dough into long, thick noodles.

Taniya 谷や

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-15-17


The menu at Taniya.

Taniya blog (with photos of their seasonal udon dishes).

Here are tips to demystifying an udon menu.

List of ten popular udon restaurants in Tokyo.