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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Japan 2013: Sushi Dai @ Tsukiji Fish Market

I left the best for last on my Tokyo posts. This was my favorite meal of the trip. It was also my favorite last year. 

Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is famous. If you get up early enough, you might be able to get in and see the tuna auctions. By early I mean like 4am! We decided not to try to get into the auctions but we definitely wanted to have the famous sushi breakfast. Last year we got there a little later and went to Daiwa Sushi because it had a shorter line. This time I was ready to go earlier to get into Sushi Dai. This is the most popular place for super fresh sushi in the market. It opens at 5AM so we planned to get there before then. I specifically booked our hotel within walking distance to the market since the subway doesn't run until 5AM. 

We left the hotel at 4:30AM. The walk took about 20 minutes. When we reached the front of the market people were already hard at work. An older gentlemen stopped us and asked us what we were looking for. I told him sushi. He said "to eat?". Me: "yes!" He then gestures to the back of his cart and told us to hop on! How cool!!! He gave us a VIP ride through the market and dropped us off right in front of the restaurant. Probably one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. And super sweet of him to do so. Not only did we get to ride on one of those carts through the market, we also cut about 15 minutes out of our walk time to the restaurant. And it allowed us to get in line sooner! By the time we got there (4:55AM), there was already a decent amount of people waiting. The place wasn't even open yet!! 

It took us almost an hour in line until we were seated. That's crazy! I was starving by then. haha. The sushi place seats about 15 people and there were 3 sushi chefs working away. When we finally got in there, we were sooo excited! We both got the 10 piece set with miso soup for 3,900 Yen~ 

The sushi chefs were in great spirits and had lots of energy. They were able to tell us the English names of each piece we got. 

Here we go! 
Miso soup
Bluefin Tuna (belly)

Egg. This was on the house. The egg was fluffy and sweet. Super delicious.
Uni. Love me some Uni!!! Sooo fresh, creamy and decadent. 
Horse Mackerel. Never had this before. It was spectacular. And the colors are so beautiful. One of my favorites of the day. 
Surf Clam. Before they serve it, the chefs would hit the top of the clam. So when they set it down, the piece would move like it's alive! 
Bluefin Tuna (meat around the bones). I liked this cut of tuna better. It was more flavorful. :) 

Baby Shrimp. Never had this before either. Tiny pieces of shrimp. Kind of flavorless.... not the best out of the bunch. 
Tuna and Cod Roe Rolls 
Spanish Mackerel 
Sea Eel (Anago). The eel was so tender...melts in your mouth! It's not like any eel you get in the states slathered in that sauce. Good stuff! 

It's been an amazing day and it wasn't even 7AM yet! haha. First we get a special ride to the restaurant, then we get this amazing meal. THEN.. the sushi chef told us we each get to pick a piece from all the ones we just tried and we get another piece of that on the house!!! I dunno if everyone got this but I didn't notice anyone else getting an extra piece. So I'll assume we got special treatment! :D The sprinkles on an already awesome cake. hehe. I chose the Horse Mackerel and the bf chose the Eel. Both just as spectacular as the first piece. 

I DEFINITELY recommend waking up super early to experience this in Tokyo. The best and freshest sushi I've every had in my life. And a fraction of the cost of going to any other upscale sushi place in Japan. :) I miss it so much!! 


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