Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Morning sushi at Tsukiji (Photo-essay)

Before my most recent Japan vacation, I did a bunch of research as to which places I'd want to visit for the first time in The Land of the Rising Sun.  At the same time, I knew there were a few places I'd be making return visits to -- not least because in the case of one of them, I found myself literally dreaming of revisiting it -- for yes, my previous visits to Tsukiji Market  really had been that wondrous.  In particular, I had visions of returning to eat at Sushi Dai, a sushi-ya located within Tsukiji's Inner Market area which I had gone and eaten at on two previous visits to Tokyo.  

My first visit to Sushi Dai had been downright revelatory -- and so great that I had named my breakfast there as the best meal I had in 2006.  Put another way: it was that omakase meal as Sushi Dai that introduced me to how sublime very good uni really can be, and a really good bowl of miso soup too!  And while my meal at Sushi Dai last year wasn't as super mind-altering, I still very much considered it worth the 1 1/2 wait that was required to get into that very small eatery (that opens at 5am and closes at 2pm every Monday to Saturday!)!

But upon visiting Tsukiji on my most recent trip, I found queues for Sushi Dai that were far longer than I had previously seen...

 The queue for Sushi Dai is so long these days that it
extends beyond the allery where the sushi-ya is located

No lie: It requires an approximately 
2 1/2 hour wait before you even get 
this close to the restaurant door/window

 So, on the first morning of my most recent 
Tokyo vacation, I decided to go and try 
the Tsukiji branch of Sushi Zanmai instead

A kaiten sushi eatery that's open 24 hours a day, it offers up 
special combinations like this maguro kombini that includes 
slices of otoro and chuutoro... for less than 800 Yen! :O 

My breakfast at Sushi Zanmai left me so satiated that when
spying these boxes of uni at Tsukiji Market later 
in the morning, I was actually content to admire them 
rather than buy and promptly eat up their contents!

And ditto re this absolutely amazing ikura -- 
that still has membrane holding on to the eggs

Still, in truth, I couldn't resist the siren song of Sushi Dai -- 
so a few mornings later, I did end up queueing for 2 1/2 hours
from 8am to have an omakase sushi breakfast that included two 
melt-in-your-mouth delicious pieces of otoro (like the one above)

...and sushi so fresh that, like the piece of shellfish 
pictured above, it actually moved on its own accord
while waiting to be devoured by me! :O


sarah bailey knight said...

Hi ytsl,

In my many visits to Tokyo I have never had sushi at Tsukiji. I think this is because we are too lazy to get up that early. Next trip I will try to get you know who up and out the door in time for sushi at Tsukiji.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

I know how late you know who likes to sleep on her days off from work... Also, it *is* more crowded on Saturdays. So maybe you need to think about going to Tsukiji on a weekday morning by yourself! ;b