Tsukiji Fish Market is THE fish market in Tokyo. The one and only place where tourists will wait over 2 hours for sushi in the morning, where all chefs get their fresh fish, and oddly enough, where I eat guts at. I’ve shit on the Tsukiji Fish Market which wasn’t fair, because I have had great meals there, they just weren’t mind-blowing sushi, but they were mind-blowing bowls of meat or ears or stomach lining.
I want to eat what locals eat, and where they eat it. In Japan, in New York, everywhere. What’s the use of going to a city and testing the absolutely most expensive restaurant. This requires going after the food environments that locals frequent, the people who live there, they’re the best judges. In Taiwan, you have night markets, in Singapore and Hong Kong, you have hawker centres, and in Japan, there are lots of areas, and I start with the crowds.
Tsukiji is a touristy place, but there’s also a ton of local food spots. Restaurants where the Japanese come for lunch just steps away from the tourist trap. One place that I have no idea what the name is, is a food stand that specializes in I guess you would call them beef bowls? Littered with locals, salarymen, market workers and everyone else. One dish is Gyūdon which actually means beef bowl, but the other dish is guts of cows. I ordered both, the Gyūdon which is delicious thin slices of beef with sautéed onions, and the guts dish.
I know it’s made of guts, because I pointed to the giant stew the chef was over and asked for that. When I asked for it, the cashier said “No no no…guts” while grabbing at her stomach. It looked so goddamn good. Both dishes ran about $6-7 and came with cold tea. Now the Gyūdon was as I imagined it, salty, sweet, teriyaki flavors with sweet onions. The beef was tender and fell apart. Now the guts dish, that was new for me (I’m not huge on nose to tail cuisine), but let me start with the gravy or broth, it was so damn rich and hearty, there must have been some blood in there. There were various parts of the cow in there, a good amount of tripe and then a healthy handful of green onions. This is one of those dishes you dream about, and it tastes as good as it looks. I ended up going back to get this exact dish a few times in a week.
Source: Tsukiji Market