Tsukiji Market Tour with Shinji Sakamoto

Shinji Sakamoto by Sushi Geek

Shinji Sakamoto at Tsukiji Market (photo by Sushi Geek)

Shinji recently took the author of the Sushi Geek blog to Tsukiji Market for a tour. Here is the write-up Mr. Sushi Geek did of Shinji’s Tsukiji Market Tour.

His blog is filled with great sushi restaurants, not only in Tokyo, but also overseas.

Some notes from clients after their tour with Shinji:

Shinji Sakamoto photo by SM

Tsukiji Inner Market (photo by SM)

“But please pass on to Shinji how much we appreciated his time and company. It was like walking around with an industry professional and friend at the same time.

Right from what you aptly described as the best coffee in Tokyo, the whole tour was felt like a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the food industry in Tokyo.

The knife place was extraordinary and my only regret is we only bought one! A vegetable knife. I use it all the time and my son highlighted the impeccable balance of it.

It was fascinating to walk through the fish market and learning its history and how its move will impact on generations of family businesses.” SM, New Zealand

 

Book Review – Sushi by Kazuo Nagayama

Sushi Book

Sushi Book

Our tours of Tsukiji Market are very popular at the moment. Especially as it has been officially announced that the jōnai, wholesale seafood market, will move to Toyosu in November of 2016. Many of our customers are sushi aficionados and are intimately familiar with seasonal sushi. They not only know the names of Japanese seafood, but also can recognize it in the market as we walk through. There is a bookstore at Tsukiji Market that sells food magazines and a variety of cookbooks and books on sushi. A handful of them are in English, including my book, Food Sake Tokyo, published by The Little Bookroom.

A popular sushi book with our clients is the bilingual edition of Sushi, by chef Kazuo Nagayama of Daisan Harumi Sushi 第三春美鮨 in Shinbashi. The book is a reference tool for seasonal sushi.

Seasonal Sushi

Seasonal Sushi

The book is divided into the four seasons and seasonal seafood is shown as nigiri-zushi on the left page. The right page has a sketch of the seafood as well as a well-written description in English on everything from the flavor, how it is prepared, aging, and much more. As it is also written in Japanese, it is a great guide to bring to the sushi counter when dining out as the sushi chef or staff at the restaurant can also read from the same guide.

Even for readers who will not make it to Japan, this is a fun armchair reading as the descriptions are very detailed and informative. Particular bays of water are mentioned, something any sushi chef would be impressed by. The book also talks about the liver, ovaries, and other parts of the seafood that can be consumed at the sushi counter.

Here is an excerpt from hirame (olive flounder):

“A light sprinkling of salt and kombu curing allows sushi fans to savor the delectable taste and texture sensation of nigir made from hirame prepared using this technique long integral to the Edo-mae sushi chef’s job.”

Summer Sushi

Summer Sushi

The photography and design of the book is lovely. This photo shows the filets of summer seafood. On the upper right corner you have iwashi (sardine), noted for its row of dots. To the left of it is aji (Japanese jack mackerel per the book).

Summer Nigiri Zushi

Summer Nigiri Zushi

On this page you have the nigiri-zushi of the filets from above. The iwashi and aji are the two fish on the bottom right.

Seasonal Sushi

Seasonal Sushi

Each chapter begins with an essay on the season and what to look for when visiting the sushi counter that time of year.

From the winter fish section:

“Many winter species are prized for their fatty quality, in contrast to summer fish characterized by subtle flavor.”

The last section in the book is dedicated to maki-mono (rolls). Sushi will be a welcome addition to any bookshelf. At 2,000 JPY, the 207-page book is a good value.

Sushi

Published by PIE International

ISBN 978-4-7562-41344-4 C0072

2,000 JPY

207 pages

Gotta Get – Taberu Togarashi Furikake

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Furikake are toppings that are sprinkled over rice. Most of the times at home we are eating a bowl of white rice. But once in a while we’ll sprinkle on some furikake just to spice things up. This Taberu Tōgarashi is in the genre of the taberu rayū, which we also like to have from time to time. We try to keep this Taberu Tōgarashi in the back of the pantry and not on the table. Why? Because when we do use it we end up eating two to three bowls of rice at a time. It’s that delicious.

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We came across this at Tsukiji Market and picked one up to try about a year ago and now it is a staple in our pantry. Ingredients include dried red chili peppers, black sesame seeds, yukari (dried purple shiso), apricot, smoked and dried fish flakes from skipjack tuna and Pacific mackerel, salt, nori, and salt.

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On the palate you get the heat from the dried red chili peppers, some tartness from the red shiso and apricot, and nutty from the sesame seeds. The capsaicin in the peppers is what makes this so addictive. The package suggests serving it with noodles, fried rice, onigiri, or as ochazuké. I have yet to try it on pizza, but I imagine most dishes that use Tabasco would also do well with this Taberu Tōgarashi.

Taberu Tōgarashi is sold at some shops at Tsukiji Market. We buy ours at a great little shop called Karaimonya, which specializes in chili peppers and all things spicy.

Karaimonya

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #9

03-3541-0607

Marutake Tamagoyaki at Tsukiji Market

Marutake1

Tamagoyaki, Japanese omelets, can be found throughout Tsukiji’s Jōgai, Outer Market. Within about a 50 feet meter there are three tamagoyaki shops. Recently some good friends of ours gave us a tamagoyaki from Marutake. Marutake has been in business for over 80 years. It is a very popular shop. The bespectacled son of the owner, Terry Itō, is a famous television personality and his photo is proudly displayed at the shop.

Marutake2

The tamagoyaki is on the sweet side, hence the name tamagoyaki. In Kyoto where the savory version is more popular, it is called dashimaki-tamago. At home we make the dashimaki version about once a week, so the sweet style from Marutake was a nice treat. And, has it is sweet, it calls out for something to balance the flavor. We grated some daikon which had a tinge of bitterness to it and topped it with some soy sauce. The perfect side dish for any Japanese meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. All the better with a glass of saké.

Tsukiji Maturake

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 4-10-10

03-3542-1919

Monday – Friday 4:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (yes, starting at 4:00 a.m.!)

Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

closed Sunday and holidays.

September Seasonal Japanese Seafood

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Kamasu barracuda

Kamasu and sanma are two fish in season now that we love to simply season with salt and grill.

katsuo sashimi

Katsuo sashimi

Katsuo we love as sashimi, or if we find it in the market seared on the outside (tataki) we’ll cut it into thick slices and garnish with garlic and ginger and serve with the sweet kanrō soy sauce from Kyushu.

Following are other seafood in season in September in Japan.

Amadai 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicas)

Ayu 鮎 sweet fish (Plecoglossus altivelis)

Bora flathead mullet or Gray mullet (Mugil cephalus)    

Chidai 血鯛 crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Hon kamasu 本カマス barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)

Ibodai疣鯛 Japanese butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)

Isaki 伊佐木threeline grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Itoyori イトヨリGolden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Katsuo  鰹   skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kohada 小鰭   gizzard shad (Konosirus pumctatus)

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)

Maaji 真鯵 horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas)        

Masaba真鯖   pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sanma 秋刀魚 Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Shirosake 白鮭   chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Sujiko筋子 salmon roe still in the sac                         

Surume ika スルメイカJapanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Takabe タカベ yellow-striped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris)

Warasaワラサ yellowtail  (Seriola quinqueradiata)        

Watarigani 渡蟹 swimming crab (Portunus trituberculatus)

Other fish you may see in the market

Ainame 鮎魚女fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)                         

Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Asari 浅利 Japanese littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Hoya ホヤ sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Kinki 黄血魚 thornyhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai or kinme 金目鯛 splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Makarei 真鰈 Japanese common flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Madai 真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Mirugai 海松食 geoduck (Tresus keenae)

Mebaru 目張 rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Sawara 鰆 Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae 栄螺 turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Tairagai 平貝 penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 belt fish or largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tsubugai   螺貝   whelk (Buccinum undatum)

Tobiuo 飛魚 flying fish (Cypselurus agoo agoo)

Food Sake Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market Tour

Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest seafood market, is in the heart of Tokyo. It is a short walk from the glitzy Ginza shopping district and just minutes from the renovated Kabukiza theater. It’s one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations with visitors. And, it is our most popular tour that our company, Food Sake Tokyo, offers. Shinji, a Japanese fishmonger, used to be a buyer at Tsukiji Market so he offers an insider’s perspective to the market.

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 1

Here, Shinji is being interviewed by food journalist Steve Dolinsky at Tsukiji, for Public Radio International. It’s an insight to the sights and sounds of Tsukiji:

http://www.theworld.org/2013/04/biggest-fish-market/

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 2

Tsukiji Market is scheduled to move to Toyosu, a few kilometers down along Tokyo Bay. Another reason to come and see this historic market before it moves.

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 3

Shinji is able to talk about all of the seasonal seafood, how it’s prepared, and what it the texture is like. Shinji’s tour focuses on the inner market which is the wholesale area for seafood. It is here that he worked as a buyer. It’s a crazy place to navigate and to really understand what is here and what is what, you need a guide who understands Japanese seafood.

Shinji at Tsukiji Dolinsky 4

One thing you will notice is that there is no stinky fish smell that you find at most fish markets. The fishmongers are very careful to clean and wash down each stall when they close down shop.

Shinji at Tsukiji 5

At the sushi counter Shinji is able to make recommendations on unique seafood that you most likely won’t be able to try at home. He can also help to demystify the culture of dining at a sushi-ya. This time of year we are crazy for kinmédai, alfonsino, which is a pink fleshed fish. The best kinmédai, are harvested from the shallow waters near Chōshi port in Chiba. Steve Dolinsky writes about having kinmédai and includes a photo here.

Shinji at Tsukiji 6

I have to say, most fishmongers are very friendly and have big smiles – just like this one!

Yukari at Tsukiji 1

I also offer tours of Tsukiji Market. The focus of my tour is the outer market which is open to the general public. It is filled with stalls selling produce, pickles, prepared foods, tea, knives, and much more. We are enjoying tamagoyaki (Japanese omelet) on a stick. Reminds me of the Minnesota State Fair – the food on a stick part.

Yukari at Tsukiji 3

I also take clients into the inner market so that they can get a feel for the heart of the market. Here we are looking at fish killed by a special ikéjimé process.

Yukari at Tsukiji 5

The many stalls of the inner market – and the perfect spot for a photo.

Yukari at Tsukiji 7

There is lots to discover at Tsukiji, including learning about herring roe in a sac, and herring roe that has been laid on a piece of kombukomochi kombu.

Yukari Tsukiji OverviewThe view everyone loves – overlooking the inner market and Tokyo Bay.

We look forward to welcoming you to Tokyo and to Tsukiji Market. Here are more details on our tours.

* A special thanks to our clients for letting us share their photos with you.

March Seasonal Japanese Seafood

tairagaiTairagai, hokkigai, and kinmedai in a tairagai shell

March is a delicious month for seafood. The cold waters still bring fish rich with fat that shines in sashimi or is nice for grilling. Asari clams are great for making into a quick vongole style pasta. Grilling salted fish heads of buri or tai is quick and simple and the perfect accompaniment to sake or shochu. Bitesize tiny hotaru ika can be quickly blanched and then served with a sweet and vinegary sumiso dressing. Nishin can be salted and grilled. And perhaps my favorite this time of year is katsuo simply seared on the edges, sliced thickly, and served with some soy sauce and garlic.

 

If you click on the Japanese name of the seafood you should be directed to a link with a photo.

 

Akagai 赤貝 ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Akagarei 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Amadai 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicus)

Ankou 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Aoyagi  青柳  surf clam (Mactra chinensis)

Asari 浅利 Japanese littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Benizuwaigani 楚蟹  red snow crab   (Chionoecetes japonicus)

Buri 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Chidai  血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Fugu 真河豚 blowfish or pufferfish (Takifugu porphyreus)

Hamaguri 浜栗 common Orient clam (Meretrix lusoria)

Hira suzuki 平鱸   blackfin Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax latus)

Hirame 鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Honmaguro 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Hoshigarei 星鰈 spotted halibut (Verasper variegatus)

Hotaru Ika 蛍烏賊擬 firefly squid  (Enoploteuthis chunii)

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)

Iidako 飯蛸 ocellated octopus (Octopus ocellatus)

Itoyori 糸縒鯛 golden threadfin-bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Kaki 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi 寒鰤 winter Japanese amberjack (see buri) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Kasago 笠子 scorpionfish (Sebastiscus marmoratus)

Katsuo 鰹 skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi 皮剥 thread-sail filefish  (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kihada maguro 黄肌鮪 yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares)

Kinki 黄血魚 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai 金目 (sometimes called kinme) splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kohada 小鰭 gizzard shad (Konosirus pumctatus)

Madai (or Tai) 真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Makogarei 真子鰈 marbled sole (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Matsuba gani 松葉蟹 spiny crab (Hypothalassia armata)

Matsukawa 松皮鰈  barfin flounder (Verasper moseri)

Mebaru 目張 black rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Mirugai 海松食 geoduck (Tresus keenae)

Nishin 鰊 Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Oma honmaguro 大間鮪 bluefin tuna from Oma in Aomori (see honmaguro)

Saba 鯖 Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sakura ebi 桜蝦 sakura shrimp (Sergia lucens)

Sawara 鰆 Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sayori 針魚 halfbeak (Hyporhamphus sajori)

Sazae 栄螺 turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shijimi 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shirauo 白魚 whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

Soudagatsuo 騒多鰹 frigate mackerel  (Auxis thazard)

Surumeika  鯣烏賊  Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Tairagai 平貝 pen shell or fan shell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tara 真鱈 codfish (Gadus macrocephalus)

Tarabagani 鱈場蟹 Alaskan king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Umazurahagi 馬面剥 filefish scraper (Thamnaconus modestus)

Wakasagi 若細魚 Japanese smelt  (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Yanagi dako 柳蛸 chestnut octopus (Octopus conispadiceus)

Yari ika 槍烏賊 spear squid (Loligo (Heterololigo) bleekeri)

Zuwaigani 頭矮蟹 snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

 

 

 

Tsukiji Market Move to Toyosu Extended to March of 2015

FNN News in Japan has reported that Tsukiji Market’s move to Toyosu has been extended one more year to March, 2015. Part of the delay is due to the amount of time that is needed to clean the soil in the new location. While the move was scheduled for sometime in 2014 it’s been pushed back one year. Good news for all of us as the new location is very inconvenient to get to for visitors as it is located on the Yurikamome monorail. The current location is a short walk from the nearest station and a comfortable stroll to Ginza.

Here is the FNN News video (in Japanese).

Tsukiji Market Cheap Eats – Tenfusa Tempura

DSCN2737

One of my indulgent breakfasts at Tsukiji Market is tempura anago at Tenfusa. Tenfusa is on the same block of restaurants as the popular Sushi Dai and Daiwa Sushi. While crowds of people queue for a rushed sushi breakfast I like to slide right by them, push aside the noren and slide open the door to this tiny shop. Only two tables that seat four and a counter for five. The walls are filled with signatures of Japanese celebrities who have dined here. There are two staff, the tempura master who for the most part stands guard over the hot pot of oil. His assistant (perhaps his wife?) takes orders, brings out the dishes, and collects money at the end of the meal.

This morning the other diners are all fishmongers. How do I know? They are all wearing the official gear of fishmongers: knee-high rubber boots.

DSCN2741

My order is always the same, anago don teishoku, the set meal of tempura anago over rice, pickles, and tofu. The dish includes two long pieces of anago in a crispy tempura batter that is drizzled with a sweet soy dressing. The contrast of the juicy eel to the crispy batter is what makes this dish so appealing. It is delivered as soon as it comes out of the oil so it is always piping hot.
DSCN2735
Shrimp tempura here is also very popular. Hanging on the wall the menu is written on tall, narrow blackboards. While anago and shrimp are the most popular items, you can also add seafood like megochi, haze, or kisu. Vegetable tempura options here today included eggplant, sweet potato, asparagus, kabocha pumpkin, shishito pepper, and renkon lotus root.

While most visitors to Tsukiji Market want to have sushi for breakfast, for those of us who go frequently it’s nice to have a variety of other foods to choose from. Tenfusa anago tempura is hands down my favorite.

Tenfusa

Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #6

(03-3547-6766)

http://www.tsukijigourmet.or.jp/24_tenfusa/index.htm (Japanese – with good photos)

Tsukiji Cheap Eats – Orimine Bakers

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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

http://www.oriminebakers.com