Originally, we thought we wanted to go to the tuna auction at Tsukiji Fish Market during our time in Tokyo this September. But the more we read about it, the more we realized we just didn’t want to get up as early as was necessary and wait for as long as we had heard you need to wait.
So we decided to go slightly later in the day, at around 8 in the morning. We had gotten very scant information about a fruit and vegetable auction, and went to seek it out. We did find it, but there wasn’t much of anywhere to stand to watch and not be in the way. It was still cool to briefly see.
After that, it was time for breakfast, and we knew just what we wanted: raw fish.
It doesn’t sound like the tastiest of breakfasts, but we knew we had to get sushi at the fish market and this was the time we were there. By now it was raining pretty heavily. We saw that the two top sushi places both had fairly long lines. We debated: do we go into one of the other places (which all have excellent reviews online), or do we wait some amount of time for one of the most famous places?
This time, we decided to wait for a more well known place. We got in line at Daiwa Sushi, a line that was four rows deep.
Despite the amount of people in front of us, the line only took about 20 minutes to get through. Then we were ushered in to tiny stools crammed into the corner, sitting at a counter with a wooden plank and some tea in front of us.
The chef in front of us began making our sushi, and would place each piece on the wooden plank as he made it, letting us know what it was. There were three chefs in the small restaurant, each serving around four people. Our first bite was tuna.
The service continued, fast and unrelenting. This is not a meal to slowly savor. You are expected to eat quickly and then get out fast. The second piece was uni, which tested me. First of all, I’m not good at eating quickly especially early in the morning. Second, these pieces were not small, and you’re meant to put the whole thing in your mouth. Third, I find uni a little gross, both in texture and flavor. So I gagged a little on the uni.
Thankfully, there were rolls next: tuna and salmon roe. Much easier for me to eat, and a manageable size.
The photo above should give you an idea of the cramped quarters. And it also reminds me that there was miso soup.
The next piece we were served was chutoro. Toro is tuna belly, and it comes in three levels of fattiness. Chutoro is the medium one (otoro is the fattiest). And it was delicious. Truly exquisite. Probably the best single piece of sushi I’ve ever eaten.
Next was a piece of tamago (egg). I wasn’t wild about it as it was quite sweet. Let the continued presence of my rolls be an emblem of how I was struggling to keep up with the pace of service (okay, and taking pictures didn’t help any).
Another different cut of tuna came out next. I’m not sure how apparent it is from the picture, but that is a huge piece of fish. Cramming it in my mouth in one bite was hard.
It kept coming. I think the white piece you see there is scallop. There was also squid, which I neglected to photograph. The scallop was delightful. The squid was the most tender I’ve had.
Above is a photo of the chefs and the extent of the restaurant. It was a tiny place. The line was fast because there was another counter on the other side of the wall as well, but mostly because of the in and out nature of the place. We got the omakase (chef’s choice) course, though I believe you can order a la carte – however, I definitely recommend the set menu. When we went, it was around US$40 per person.
I got the above photo after we left, looking through the back of the restaurant. In this compact space, and it just a few minutes, you too can have the best sushi experience of your life. Sure, I felt rushed and it was hard to chew at a fast enough pace. But it was still so much fun. And seriously delicious.
Would you eat sushi for breakfast?