Review: Sushizanmai @ Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo, Japan)

4-4-3 Tsukiji
Chuo Ward, Tokyo
Tokyo Prefecture 104-0045
Japan
+81 3 5565 3636

Screw cereal and Vegemite on toast. To me, the best breakfasts involve fish and rice (and the odd leftover steak and green vegies from the night before). And there was no way in hell I was going to visit Tokyo and not have breakfast at Tsukiji, the biggest wholesale fish market in the world.

If you’re a foodie like I am, rocking up before the crack of dawn to reserve your place in line for Tsukiji’s famous tuna auctions is a must. Unfortunately, Tokyo’s public transport system doesn’t run that early so eager visitors must either fork out a fortune for a cab to take them there or book a hotel within walking distance from the fish market – I chose the latter option.

But as luck (or stupidity, really) would have had it, I ended up having a big one the night before. And when I woke up three hours later – at 4AM – the next morning, I took one look in the mirror and thought to myself, ‘Yeah nah, no tuna action for me.’ And so I missed out on my one chance to watch the auction. Oh well, next time.

Regardless, I was still keen for some morning fish and when I finally woke up in a slightly better state a few hours later, off I went to the market.

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So the last two photos were my crappy attempts at playing around with layers and masks on Photoshop. And showing you the outskirts of the market.

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As Captain Obvious would like to point out, there is a motherload of fish at this market.

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Fish head soup, anyone?

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Crustaceans can also be found by the 10 dozen billion. In some stalls, they can be cooked right in front of you for a fresh and delicious breakfast.

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Also, plenty of fermented little fish and squid to sample.

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If Australian customs weren’t so strict, I would have probably taken half the store home with me.

Pretty soon, I worked up a bit of an appetite so I decided to find a place to perch my toosh down for some sushi. The internets recommended Sushi Dai for the best breakfast at Tsukiji but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find it (even with Google Maps and my normally decent sense of direction). Finally, I gave up because I was hangry and stallholders were looking at me curiously as I passed their stall for the fifth time in a row.

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Instead, I ended up at Sushizanmai. I later found out that this Sushizanmai is actually a popular franchise in Japan (think Sushi Sushi in Australia but obviously better and sans maggots). The popular Tsukiji branch is the first restaurant of the lot and given how packed it was, I knew that I couldn’t have a bad meal here My wait was only 10 minutes, which I thought was pretty good (it also helped that I was dining alone).

The extensive menu covers a range of sushi platters, chirashi bowls and nigiri topped with the usual suspects such as salmon, squid and prawn in addition to the less commonly found sardine and flounder. I decided to order one abalone nigiri to start.

Abalone nigiri ¥398/AUD$3.90
Abalone nigiri ¥398/AUD$3.90

I love a good abalone and it was great to enjoy it fresh. Unfortunately, abalone is by nature less flavoursome than a fresh piece of salmon or tuna so it wasn’t a very exciting nigiri for me to eat. I’ll stick to my Cantonese-style ginger and spring onion abalone, thanks.

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Complimentary miso soup was much appreciated, especially given how cold it was outside.

Deluxe chirashi-don ¥1480/AUD$14.50
Deluxe chirashi-don ¥1480/AUD$14.50

And here’s my sushi rice bowl, artfully topped with 13 kinds of raw seafood on top including two different kinds of tuna and squid respectively. There was also a piece of sweet tamago, slivers of ginger, wasabi and salmon roe to keep things happy. It was fresh and simple, yet so delicious and filling. I could not have asked for a better breakfast.

I eat too much.

1 Comment

  1. Foodvixen
    February 21, 2015

    That sushi rice bowl looks awesome! I agree stuff the Vegemite and toast for breakfast although I am an avid Vegemite fan. I’m all for rice and sushi for breakfast or curry and roti 😉 Also unless you’re trying to bring back ninja stars or a taser Australian Customs couldn’t give two hoots. It’s Quarantine that’s concerned with the fermented fish and other foodie delights you wanted to bring back. Looking forward to the next post 🙂

    Reply

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